The Stompin’ Tom Story
The sad news is that he is no longer with us, but everybody dies, even those we trick ourselves into thinking never will. The good news is, Stompin’ Tom Connors’ stock in trade was the stories he told in his songs, and those songs and stories remain.
Lady k.d. lang, Margo’s Cargo, The Ketchup Song, The Hockey Song. Most everyone has their favourite Stompin‘ Tom song, just like they have their favourite Stompin‘ Tom story. One friend of mine tells of sitting in front of the record player in his grandparents’ apartment, completely engrossed in the album covers as he absorbed the music. I came to know him by way of a girlfriend who had a particular way with Big Joe Mufferaw. I met her – where else? – at CJSR.
And there is, of course, a CJSR Stompin’ Tom Connors story. More than a few years ago now, when Connors was passing through Edmonton on tour, a late night DJ received an interesting phone call. The voice on the other end of the line was familiar; it was the man himself, up late as usual, in his hotel room, freely admitting to having had a few drinks. And now, he was calling around to all the radio stations in Edmonton, asking if they would, if they DID, play Stompin’ Tom. No one he had spoken with up to that point, “the bastards” he called them, could or would play him.
But our intrepid DJ had something different to say, something along the lines of, ‘Of course we do, whenever we want, which is all the time.’
The DJ asked if there was a particular song that Connors wanted to hear and the answer was ‘no’. He wasn’t requesting his own music, he was just checking, on principle, and it pleased him to know there was someone who would play him. And that was the end of the conversation. The DJ had to get back to his thing and Stompin’ Tom had to get back to his own business, such as it was. So they said their goodbyes. The DJ thanked Tom for calling, said it was a pleasure speaking with him, and Stompin’ Tom Connors answered back, “No, it was a pleasure speaking with YOU.” And that was that.
And that is that.