Duncan Fremlin collected some vibrant tales touring with Stompin’ Tom Connors.

The co-founder and banjo participant of backing band Whiskey Jack for 25 years — on and off — has written a guide, My Good Occasions with Stompin’ Tom, about working with arguably probably the most patriotic of Canada’s country-folk musicians who handed away in 2013.

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“He’s a extremely fascinating Canadian character — he’s form of greater than life,” stated Fremlin, 69, a local of Sault Ste. Marie who’s lived in Toronto for the final 50 years.


Duncan Freeman (proper) is pictured enjoying with Stompin’ Tom Connors. (Handout)

Fremlin pulls no punches about what life was like on the street with the powerful taskmaster who favored his motel rooms low cost, his beer heat, his smokes steadily and all band members inside walkie-talkie distance and capable of keep up all evening.

Oh, and smoking pot was grounds for dismissal.

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We caught up with Fremlin down the road from his vacation in Barbados:

Q. What’s the cope with the all nighters?

A. I feel he simply favored having someone round. Sometimes, his spouse, Lena, would come on the street and she or he’d be with him, however for probably the most half it was just about the band who needed to keep up. As soon as he began, if there was a guitar within the room and a case of beer, we had been in for the lengthy haul. He cherished to social gathering. Some nights, it was simply enjoying chess. Different nights, enjoying checkers. Different nights, simply sitting round speaking.

Q. You write about virtually getting fired in 1993 when the band determined to go forward with out him to a tour cease in Quebec Metropolis. Why was {that a} massive deal?

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A. I knew we had been poking the bear. However we had been on the street for a few months at that time and we wanted a breather. And we stated, ‘To hell with it, we’re simply going to do it.’ And we did it and we suffered the implications.

Q. And that was preceded by Stompin’ Tom “borrowing” your unlocked banjo to “educate you a lesson.” Appropriate?

A. I acquired so pissed off with being handled like a baby at that time. Anyway, it was actually an excellent factor as a result of it actually redefined our friendship. I stood as much as him. He revered that. He actually favored that undeniable fact that I did that. We had been good buddies after that for the remainder of his life. He didn’t need ass-kissers round him.

Q. Why was Stompin’ Tom anti-pot?

A. He comes from a era, very conventional. Identical to within the army, you may drink beer, however you may’t smoke pot. It’s the identical sort of thoughts set. We had been wonderful with that. I assumed he didn’t need us to rub his nostril in it and I definitely didn’t need him to catch us however there was no method he was going to regulate us the entire time. We needed to have our pleasures, too.

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Q. When will Whiskey Jack — slated to host the sixth Annual Stompin’ Tom Birthday Celebration on Jan. 31 on the Zoomer Corridor stage in Toronto’s Liberty Village — return out on the street?

A. This coming 12 months we’re going to do an enormous tour of northern Ontario. It’s going to be tales and songs of Stompin’ Tom, however our particular visitors are going to be The Good Brothers, Cindy Church and Russell deCarle from Prairie Oyster.

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