Art Bergmann in a photo posted to artbergmann.com.

Art Bergmann in a photo posted to artbergmann.com.

Order of Canada for ex-White Rock musician Art Bergmann, 67

‘To award someone like me with the keys to the empire is a courageous move,’ he tweeted Wednesday

Former White Rock-area musician Art Bergmann is among 61 new Order of Canada appointees announced Wednesday (Dec. 30) by Governor General Julie Payette.

Bergmann, who now lives in Rocky View County, Alberta, has been made a Member of the Order of Canada “for his indelible contributions to the Canadian punk music scene, and for his thought-provoking discourse on social, gender and racial inequalities.”

A Member designation recognizes “outstanding contributions at the local or regional level or in a special field of activity.”

Bergmann, 67, was a punk-rock trailblazer in the Vancouver music scene of the late-1970s and 1980s, with bands including The K-Tels and Young Canadians, and in 1996 won a Juno Award for Best Alternative Album (“What Fresh Hell Is This?”).

“Thanks for the well wishes, friends,” Bergmann tweeted on Wednesday (Dec. 30). “Canada is changing; to award someone like me with the keys to the empire is a courageous move, hah!”

(Story continues below)

Back in the 1970s, Bergmann played music while living in the White Rock/Cloverdale area, and also called Abbotsford home for a couple of years.

In his 2001 book Guilty of Everything, fellow musician John Armstrong wrote about discovering punk-rock music through his association with Bergmann. They became roommates at a three-bedroom apartment on White Rock’s Marine Drive, where Armstrong learned guitar chords in a call-and-response game with a couch-surfing Bergmann.

“Why he tolerated me I have no idea,” Armstrong wrote, “expect perhaps that he liked me or that I amused him or that I would shoplift cans of beans or soup from the Chinese grocer halfway between school and his house, as a sort of tuition fee.”

Armstrong (aka Buck Cherry) expands on the story in an “Early Days” post on Bergmann’s website, from liner notes for “No Escape,” a Young Canadians compilation CD.

“Art and I became friends, then roommates, living in various soon-to-be-condemned dwellings. We liked most of the same things – an affection for the Kinks, early Who and Yardbirds, David Bowie and the Velvet Underground – and, more importantly, hated all the same ones: mid-70’s FleetwoodMac, the Eagles, the Doobie Brothers, Supertramp, Elton John, Dark Side of the Moon. By the summer of ‘77, half a dozen of us like-minded types were living in a huge hundred-year old house on the outskirts of White Rock and a friend of Art’s showed up after a trip around the world with a cassette he’d picked up in England. On it were the Sex Pistols and things were never the same.”

Nearly four decades later, in May 2016, Bergmann returned to White Rock to perform at Blue Frog Studios.

(Story continues below)

Armstrong’s musical path continued with a band of his own, with guys (re)named Bill Shirt, Mud Bay Slim and Bad Bob. The bandleader’s handle was a play on Chuck Berry, apparently inspired by a TV commercial that featured a cartoon cowboy (“Libby the Kid”) shilling canned pasta and beans. Band rehearsals were held in the living room at Beach Apartments, Armstrong recalls in his book.

The band’s public debut was during the White Rock Sea Festival, and the gig wasn’t exactly a family-friendly performance.

Wrote Armstrong: “Instead they got a drummer who used an old toilet for a drum stool and looked unnervingly like Charlie Manson but without benefit of the prison’s dental plan, a bass player with a paper-bag disguise over his head, two guitarists who played the same three chords in slightly varying progressions but always at furious speed and maximum volume, flagrant onstage drinking, casual profanity, invitations to perform unnatural acts on the band either later or right there, and a singer who called the audience a worthless bunch of fat-assed breeders and stuck his outthrust thumbs under his T-shirt in an imitation of perky teenage nipples.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Live musicMusicOrder of Canada

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pixabay image
Surrey recovers 29,000 jobs it lost to pandemic

That’s according to Surrey Board of Trade’s fifth Surrey Labour Market Intelligence Report on COVID-19

Desmond Tompkins helped curate and host a youth art show at the South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre art show highlights ‘diverse perspectives’

With COVID-19 protocols in place, youth art show underway

RCMP Isp. Benoit Maure (top right) has written a book, Leading at the Edge, which details Canadian peacekeeping missions, including his own 1999 mission in Guatemala (bottom right). (Contributed photos)
Longtime RCMP officer pens book on Canadian peacekeeping efforts

RCMP Insp. Benoit Maure’s new book, Leading at the Edge, features stories from 10 missions

The SACH Community Hub team, from left to right: Upkar Singh Tatlay, Gary Thandi, Allysha Ram, Jassy Pandher, Harman Pander. (Submitted photo)
There’s help for South Asian men wrestling with drug addiction in Surrey

South Asian deaths related to toxic drugs increased by 255 per cent between 2015 and 2018

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) is looking into the death of man discovered Jan. 11 in east Maple Ridge. (Black Press files)
B.C.’s police watchdog investigating man’s death in Maple Ridge

Man was found dead Jan. 11 after recent contact with police

Chilliwack Law Courts. (Black Press file)
Man sentenced to 20 months for sexual offences involving a minor in Mission

Will Laws Clark was 22 and victim was 13 at time offences began

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Most Read