Veteran Canadian musician Tom Cochrane will be making two stops in York Region next week – in Markham and Richmond Hill. After two years of By not playing, Mr. Cochrane is excited to be back out on the road. He speaks with experienceyorkregion.com about his upcoming shows and other things.
By Karen Bliss
Singer-guitarist Tom Cochrane is looking forward to playing Flato Markham Theatre Sept. 14 and Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts Sept. 16, as part of his current Canadian tour, after the veteran musician probably went the longest in his adult life without playing a live show.
The Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee, who is also an Officer of the Order of Canada and an eight-time Juno Award winner — best known for songs “Life Is A Highway,” “Big League” and Lunatic Fringe” — has been at it for some 40 years, when he joined Red Rider.
“Working hard making up for lost time. I am so incredibly grateful to be out here doing this — still doing this,” he tells experienceyorkregion.com. “So good to be playing after that terrible forced covid hiatus. The energy of the band has been intense. The crowds? What can i say about them? incredible! They have been so stoked all through the summer, now into the fall.”
The Manitoba-born, Ontario-based man who started his career in the pubs, bars and coffeehouses of Ontario, fronted Red Rider for a decade, eventually billed as Tom Cochrane & Red Rider going solo. In 1991, he released his breakthrough album, Mad Mad World, which achieving rare diamond-certified status in Canada (1 million albums sold), with such hit as “No Regrets,” “Sinking Like a Sunset,” and “Life Is A Highway,” which reached No. 1 in Canada and No. 6 in the U.S. on Billboard’s Hot 100. It would go on to sell some six million copies worldwide.
Cochrane, a household name who can tour every nook and cranny of Canada, says he loves playing these soft-seaters in communities outside the major cities. “So many stylish, great sounding intimate soft seaters. I love the Flato, Richmond Hill is amazing. Burlington, Brampton Rose, St. Catharines, on and on.
“My favorite gigs to play. That’s why we come back. So intimate for the stories and the acoustic stuff and so powerful and exalting for the uplifting full out rock. The sound is great, sightlines great. Most importantly, the people are wonderfully appreciative and come away so stoked to have been up close and personal as we are, to hear every nuance! We always leave it all on those stages.”
Cochrane has shows right to the new year, although his schedule does slow down after October.
Next year, he will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Red Rider’s classic Neruda album, telling experienceyorkregion.com that the special reissue with Universal Music and Primary Waves, might be called Neruda Plus and will include “a couple of supplementary tracks for the vinyl.” It come out next summer, then the band will tour.
“Tuck, my Dad, once told me when i was starting out, ‘If you can make a living doing what you love, at your hobby, then you are a lucky man, son, and God is smiling on you,” Cochrane says. “I try not to ever forget that. I count my blessings all the time, every time I step on that stage.”
Flato Markham Theatre – Sept. 14
Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts – Sept. 16
Karen Bliss is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Billboard, Rolling Stone, Pollstar and others. She has interviewed thousands of musicians, including Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, Eminem, Shania Twain, Metallica and Michael Bublé.