Paul MacLeod was a super talented singer/songwriter from Kitchener, Ontario. He built his reputation locally and regionally as a captivating solo performer who mixed great original songs alongside a vast and diverse repertoire of covers.
He was first introduced to many of us nationally and internationally when he joined legendary, long-standing roots-rock band Skydiggers in the mid-90s. He had the difficult task of replacing founding and high-profile and much-loved member Peter Cash in the band, but he did so admirably, more than holding his own alongside the accomplished band. He brought a new edge, his acclaimed skill on the guitar, and powerful vocals. He would often open for the band, then join them for the headlining set.
In addition to two Skydiggers studio albums and one live release, Paul released a great rock album with a band called Hibakusha, and four albums of his own.
I took the name of his first CD for my campus and community radio show, Tell the Band to Go Home, which debuted in September, 2002. Paul was a guest on the show, and I got to know him a bit at shows and occasional correspondence. His music, wit, and energy inspired and amazed me. His albums are among my very favourites.
Five years ago today, June 18, 2016, Paul took his own life. I was devastated. His music has been a mainstay on my radio show for almost 19 years.
Along with John Bottomley, who I talked a lot about in episode 2 and episode 3 of this show, Paul’s struggles and death contributed to my desire to further conversations about mental illness, and motivated me to create this show.
I wanted to talk to some of his closest friends and get them to tell stories and remember Paul for the brilliant, creative, hilarious individual that he was. I wanted it to be honest and paint the full picture of what it was like to know Paul. It was a treat to speak to others who loved him and who miss him like I do.
Lynn Jackson – Kitchener singer/songwriter and close friend of Paul’s. Find out more about her and find her music at https://lynnjackson.net/
This song is a co-write with Paul:
She dedicated her 2017 album, Follow that Fire to Paul, and two songs are about him.
Mark Logan – owner of Encore Records in Kitchener and of Busted Flat Records, the label that released Paul’s last two albums, Bright Eyes Fade and Gauge. Mark was instrumental in Paul’s career, as well as the careers of Shannon Lyon, Brock Zeman, Matt Andersen, and many more. He’s an unsung hero of the Canadian music industry.
Jason Schneider – these days, an in-demand publicist through his busy public relations agency, Jason Schneider Media, but a longtime music journalist and an accomplished author and musician. He was one of three musicians responsible for one of my favourite books of all time, and one that I refer to often, Have Not Been The Same: The CanRock Renaissance 1985-1995.
Andy Maize – founding member and lead singer of Skydiggers, one of the most popular, accomplished, and longest-lasting bands in Canada. Their friends, colleagues, and contemporaries include Blue Rodeo, The Tragically Hip, and episode 16 guest Suzie Ungerleider.
You’ll hear more memories from my guests, and their favourite Paul MacLeod songs, and some of the songs that he covered, on the June 20 episode of Tell the Band to Go Home.
Paul’s music is not nearly well enough known, and most of it is pretty hard to find, so I wanted to include a wide variety of the music that he released.
In order of appearance:
“Cruelty” from Tell the Band to Go Home
“Money” from Bright Eyes Fade
“Annalisa” from Bright Eyes Fade
“Instrumental” from Gauge
“See You Again” from Bittersweet Harmony, by Skydiggers
“Ghosts” from Close and Play
“Suffocate” by Hibakusha (self-titled)
“The Moped Song” by Hibakusha (self-titled)
“Fish Tailin'” by Rheostatics (live recording featuring Paul MacLeod)
“Jesus Was Once a Teenager Too” by Rheostatics (live recording featuring Paul MacLeod and Tim Mech)
“Giants” from Tell the Band to Go Home
“Biloxi” from There and Back by Skydiggers
“Black Boys on Mopeds” from Tell the Band to Go Home
“Holland” from Bright Eyes Fade
“Biloxi” from There and Back by Skydiggers
Tell the Band to Go Home is currently unavailable to buy or stream, sadly.
Close and Play is available on Bandcamp
Bright Eyes Fade is currently unavailable to buy or stream, sadly.
Guage is available on Bandcamp
Hibakusha, by Hibakusha is available through Encore Records
Desmond’s Hip City is available on CD (but super limited!) HERE.
(still working on this, but I really want to get this out! Check back for the rest of the details)