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Our original, two-track, “sound-on-sound” recording engineers, Ron Keith and Rod Stears, were also high-school classmates. The initial recording set up was simple enough: overtake Bob’s parents’ living room with miles of endlessly entangled mic cables and two 1/4 track tape recorders. Yup, creme-de-la-creme, gear-wise!

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According to Salt

ORIGINS

 
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Salt and the Choppers earliest beginnings occurred rather innocently at St. James Anglican Church on a Saturday night in April of 1964. Michael Bruce Maxwell, topped off with a stunning black Beatle wig didn’t realize at the time that he had actual real Beatle equivalent hair growing out of his actual head, no need for the wig. But, peering through the fake hair like a Clint Reagan floozy, he spotted an extraordinarily handsome young drummer, sans wig, vying for the same prize (oh yeah, they’re at a parish talent show, sorry)…and man, was he ever good! Maxwell was only twelve when he first met David Arthur Round that night, but he can still remember to this day thinking,” man, this guy could use a good Beatle wig…” . They didn’t see each other again until late 1967 when they started to attend the same high school.

James Ballem Malcolm was already a successful drummer through the mid 60’s, playing with the highly successful rock and roll band TheWild Set. He played drums in numerous well-received groups that followed, all with darn good names, right up until he formed the Choppers with Maxwell and Round. Jim had very nice, curly hair, used a scarf very effectively and is highly respected for his solid musicianship and his impressive depth as a songwriter, lyricist, keyboardist, drummer and singer.

Robert George Morgan, guitarist and best darn guy in the phone book, was the final piece to join the puzzle. We had heard of this neighbourhood kid who was copping Hendrix licks note for note on his parents couch down the street from me. We needed something like that we thought, so we sprung the question to Bob one day in the high school bathroom. The Choppers needed a strongly unique and distinctively identifiable style (that we didn’t actually know at the time) and through time Robert has put his indelible sonic stamp on it all.

I cannot believe that after all this I forgot to mention that Bob Morgan has a superior Beatle haircut, I already mentioned Maxwell’s…

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1969-1970

The Early Years

Early on, or let’s face it, from the beginning the boys decided that any and all material would be original. Made up, composed, written or whatever, it would all be original and The Choppers Always Recorded Stuff.

 

Jim bought the first Chopper reel to reel from Chase Camera Supply on Union Street. The first Chopper “sessions” would have occurred at Robert’s parents’ house and everything blossomed from there. There were recordings of dances and coffee houses packed with young hippies actually listening to this original-playing band of fledgling quasi-composers and, get this…applauding.

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Our original, two-track, “sound-on-sound” recording engineers, Ron Keith and Rod Stears, were also high-school classmates. The initial recording set up was simple enough: overtake Bob’s parents’ living room with miles of endlessly entangled mic cables and two 1/4 track tape recorders. Yup, creme-de-la-creme, gear-wise!

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During their formative years, while most other bands were striving to attain truly psychedelic levels of light shows, the Choppers, instead, implemented floor lamps absconded from their family homes: an impressive array was amassed that first year!

1981-1986

The Middle Years
 

Eventually, due to varying choices in post secondary education options, the Choppers disbanded. Mike Maxwell later established himself securely in the Toronto music business as a composer/arranger and producer for television and film, while Jim Malcolm continued on as a highly-regarded musician and songwriter, growing his Beatle haircut back and taking up swimming. Bob went on to a design and art direction career but never gave up his night job playing in well known regional bands. David Round continued on a musical path, also playing in well known regional bands, but did not realize it until years later when he gave up alcohol. He was surprised to find out the Choppers had continued and that he was still a member although still on probation. He maintains that those are days he’ll never, ever …remember.

 

After almost a decade hiatus, the four members reconvened in Bob’s parents’ house to begin recording ...again! After about six older original songs were chosen to record, there was renewed excitement to continue composing new material and to try to make getting together an ongoing reality. From 1980 ~ 1986, Salt and The Choppers wrote, rehearsed and recorded at least six to eight full-blown sessions, culminating in three dozen finished original songs and a 45 RPM single being released on Gary Chase’s Epcom Records.

After almost a decade hiatus, the four members reconvened in Bob’s parents’ house to begin recording ...again!

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2019-Present

The Later Years
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Although we may we may not be teen heart throbs, we still have what it takes to write great songs produce great recordings. Some of the recent songs we have put together are amongst our strongest to date. The modern music industry, which has made it possible to publish and distribute our own material, has breathed new life into our joint passion. We are loving every minute of this adventure and hope to be churning out tunes for years to come.

 
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Jim

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Mike

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Bob

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Dave

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Rick Knight

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Gary Chase

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Todd Clark

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Gary Furniss

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Rod Phelan

Thank You

So, recording new material continued in the years and decades that followed our very early efforts, with different venues, producers, engineers and numerous guest participants all of whom continue as close friends and associates of our core membership and to whom we owe huge thanks for the precious input and advice we have been blessed to receive from all.

 

No-one helped us more than Todd Clark. He loaned us all his equipment, synthesizers, sound mixers, microphones, drove us to Toronto for sessions in a van packed with musical gear, advised on musical content, criticized and critiqued our moves…a perfect example of one musician selflessly providing exceptional physical and invaluable technical assistance, when his mother would allow. Nor can we forget the immense contribution of resources, time and spirit from Gary Chase of Epsom Records and Rick Knight of The Grange.

We wish to extend our gratitude to the following people who made contributions, big and small, and made our journey delightful and possible:  Gary Furniss, Rod Phelan, Terry Emery, Chris Chase, Ron Keith, Rod Stears, Joe Guss, Richard Davis, Dr. Leonard and Avis Morgan,...... ????????

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We would be remiss if we didn't mention our deep gratitude for the incredible photographic record of our journey that was captured by our very own Michael Maxwell's camera and that makes up most of what you see here. Also included are photos contributed by Joe Guss and Richard Davis. Mike's diligent archiving of all the tapes from 2 track to 24 track made it possible to bring our music into the digital age. Thanks Mike.