Tag Archives: Canadian music legends


Legendary rock icon, Carole Pope, has been very busy over the past few years working on a passion project that will bring the story of her brother Howard, also a musician, as well her legendary Canadian band Rough Trade to the musical stage. She’s currently promoting a new round of funding that will move the production forward and closer to staging. Two years ago I spoke with Carole about another project, the single “World’s a Bitch” an impressive collaboration with Church of Trees, Rob Preuss & Jordon Zadorozny, that was released mid-Covid crisis and which received worldwide airplay and streaming. She hinted at the new musical and now I’ve managed to reach out to her online for an update and a quick chat about “Rough Trade: The Art of Rock” ….Carole, this project has been brewing for many years and is based largely on the life of your brother, Howard, a New York-based musician who died of AIDS in 1996. As an activist and longtime icon of the LGTBQ+ community, why is this story so important in 2023?   This story is still relevant because HIV AIDS is still an issue. People need to have their stories told to help them heal. We just went through the COVID pandemic which triggered a lot of people who went through the AIDs pandemic.

Rough Trade is such a ground-breaking band in Canadian music history and is still gathering new fans. Do you think this theatrical project will inspire and encourage a younger generation to not only embrace the original philosophies of your music but also remind them that AIDS has not disappeared, and we are all still vulnerable?   Rough Trade’s music is as relevant today as it was in the eighties. It will speak to a whole new audience. Many of the issues I wrote about in the eighties are still being dealt with:  censorship, sexuality, corrupt government, and freedom of expression. HIV/AIDS is a pandemic we’re still dealing with. Over the past few years, you’ve workshopped and refined the material, and performed live concerts featuring the music that will become the soundtrack – will you continue to hold workshops after this round of funding? And do you already have musicians/actors attached to the project?   We are looking for funding for two more workshops, one in New York this fall and another in Canada. We have several people attached. Chilina Kennedy is playing me, Robert McQueen is directing, and Debra Barsha is the music director.

If funding is generated to complete Rough Trade: The Art of Rock musical, when would you like to present the first show and where? Hopefully here in Toronto.   We’ll present the first show wherever a theatre and producer(s) commit to making it happen.

If you would like to contribute to the production, please log onto:  https://gofund.me/02d1d8f9

You can also follow Carole and the project at:  http://www.carolepope.com
IG: @carole_pope
Twtr: @carolepope
And Facebook.com/pages/Carole-Pope/138723746204488


What a glorious night that was! Last Sunday evening, Ali Hughes took her Hugh’s Room audience for an emotional ride with her reinterpreted songs from the late Canadian legend Leonard Cohen‘s repertoire.

Throughout her performance, her sexy sultry voice hung out on every note, laying it down then soaring again into the next stanza….and looking around the showroom, every face was turned towards the stage, eyes wide with mouths to match. I sat at the back of the room listening to the gasps of recognition as Ali introduced one classic Cohen after another, each with a new emotional and musical “translation”….it truly was a transformational moment.20190602_22345820190602_223852

Ali also brought with her the newly released 4-track EP (Tea & Oranges) from the show, recorded back home in Oz with her band, Ali & the Thieves. Her version of Suzanne will bring tears to any hardened fan’s eyes and I’m happy to tell you that the final track on the CD is, in fact, Suzanne. Check her website for purchase & download details (see end of article).20190527_132147After the show, Ali met with her Toronto fans and signed copies of the EP….20190602_203332 20190602_224839Hopefully she’ll return to Toronto soon for another Leonard Cohen Koans concert but she hinted she was working on her next project which is another unique interpretation of pop-culture classics…this time by Lou Reed. In the interim, she takes the Cohen show to the 2019 San Francisco Leonard Cohen Fest (presented by Noise Pop and hosted by Conspiracy of Beards) Nov 8, 9 & 10 at Cafe du Nord & Swedish American Hall, in S.F.   In October she will be presenting performances of Leonard Cohen Koans in London and New York with her long-time collaborator Daryl Wallis, plus performances with NYC collaboration, Sunday Swoon (with Adam Armstrong and Curtis J).

Visit her website for news of Ali’s upcoming shows, social media & music:   www.bigsbabs.comCentrefold