Entertainment

Randy Bachman’s ‘Vinyl Tap’ prepares to take another spin on syndicated radio

TORONTO – Randy Bachman says his rock ‘n’ roll radio show hasn’t tapped out after all.

Less than a year after “Vinyl Tap” was cancelled by CBC Radio, the 78-year-old Winnipeg musician tells The Canadian Press he will relaunch the series March 6 on commercial radio airwaves.

A new syndicated version has been picked up by Corus Entertainment to broadcast on nearly a dozen of its rock stations across the country. Episodes will air Sundays in most markets, which include Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Hamilton and others.

It’s a win for Bachman who last year described being shocked by CBC’s decision to axe his series, citing lower ratings.

“Vinyl Tap” began on CBC in 2005 as a platform for Bachman to spin classic rock favourites while sharing his knowledge of music history and memories of life on the road. The final episode aired on Canada Day 2021.

“I had a 16-year audition and I passed it,” Bachman joked in an interview from his home in Victoria.

“It’s a very familiar groove…. I’m really happy and comfortable doing this show.”

“Vinyl Tap” will follow its familiar format, though frequent listeners may notice a few changes. One of the biggest is the introduction of commercial breaks into the two-hour runtime.

Bachman said broadcasters also want him to spend the first several episodes introducing himself to the new audience by recalling his own rise — from young violin player to a founding member of the Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

After that, he promises to explore the roots of classic rock, jazz and the contemporary music they inspired.

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“I’m playing it all — three, four or five decades of music,” he said.

“My fans have thanked me for playing that music. I get letters from 11- or 14-year-old kids going, ‘Thank you for playing Robert Johnson. We’ve only heard of this guy. We can’t buy his record. We don’t know where to hear him.”

Bachman plans to record 12 additional episodes each year to meet the syndication requirements, boosting his annual output to 48 original shows compared to about 36 at the CBC.

Those additional hours will give him ample time to share new adventures, such as his decades’ long pursuit of a rare guitar stolen from his Toronto hotel room in 1976.

Last year, Bachman learned the missing orange 1957 Gretsch — which he used to write No. 1 hits “These Eyes,” “American Woman” and “Takin’ Care of Business” — had turned up in Japan.

He now plans to fly overseas and reclaim what he considers his good luck charm.

“The guitar was stolen and I never had a No. 1 song or album (after that). Dumbo’s magic feather was gone,” he said.

“Now, when I get the guitar back, who knows? Maybe the magic feather is back. Dumbo can fly again and we have a hit record.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 15, 2024.

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