John Fenton, an Ottawa musician who’s been a fixture of the native scene for greater than 40 years, is gearing up for what could also be his closing gig — on a day the town of Ottawa plans to proclaim “John Fenton Day.”
Diagnosed with terminal liver most cancers this spring, the eldest of Ottawa’s musical Fenton Brothers has been resting on the household cottage in Quebec, managing his ache and conserving his power for one last jam, to be held Aug. 2 at Overflow Brewing Company.
His good pal of the last 45 years, Fab Gear 64 proprietor and veteran drummer Bob Cabana, is recruiting lots of Fenton’s bandmates from over time to be a part of him on the Overflow stage. The title of the occasion, I Ain’t Dead Yet!, was coined by Fenton himself, impressed by one of his favorite Monty Python films.
For the 66-year-old musician, the eye is overwhelming.
“It has a very large emotional impact on me to know that somebody loves me enough to do something like that,” Fenton stated in an interview. “I’m really touched. It makes me feel good and bad at the same time.”
Fenton and Cabana have been taking part in in numerous bands collectively because the mid-’70s, when Cabana responded to an audition discover looking for a drummer. That band morphed into The Action, one of Ottawa’s first punk bands and the primary of many musical teams to characteristic all three Fenton brothers — John, Paul and Mike.
Another early act was an AC/DC cowl band that additionally featured Cabana on drums.
“I’ve always called John the Malcolm Young of the Fenton Brothers,” says Cabana, referring to the late co-founder of the Australian arduous rockers. “He’s a very solid rhythm and lead player who never got overly excited about anything. Just a nice guy and rarely did he get into any hassles.”
Fenton was the primary of the brothers to decide up a guitar as an adolescent. The sons of a U.N. diplomat and a stay-at-home mother, the household was dwelling in Switzerland when 16-year-old Fenton went on a faculty journey and tried out a classmate’s guitar. He was hooked.
They quickly moved to Ottawa and, with his very personal guitar, Fenton found out the chords to Beatles songs. He performed in bands throughout his time at Gloucester High School, and likewise “subverted” his youthful brothers.
“It’s a way of communicating non-verbally with people,” Fenton stated, explaining the enchantment of taking part in rock n’ roll on guitar. “You get up on stage and they have to listen. Because I’m sort of a soft-spoken guy, it’s a way of getting my ya-ya’s out basically without yelling at people.”
Although he by no means felt the lure of transferring to Toronto, Fenton obtained pretty severe about music, dropping out of college to tour with a band. Eventually he began his personal landscaping enterprise. Married twice, he’s the daddy of a 28-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter, and has a gentle girlfriend.
As for the upcoming jam, the musical visitor checklist reads like a who’s-who of the Ottawa music scene, together with Les Emerson, the Cooper Brothers, Lucky Ron, members of Bone, The Action and lots of extra. Proceeds might be donated to Fenton.
“John is extremely well respected by the musical community and I had no problem getting any of those guys,” says Cabana. “They stepped up to the plate right away because they have respect for John. He’s one of those Ottawa musicians who’s a bit of an unsung hero because he never wanted to be in the spotlight.”
This time, nonetheless, he’ll take it. “Wild horses wouldn’t keep me away,” Fenton stated, quoting one other Rolling Stones tune.
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