In February of 1976 I heard Eddy Brake being interviewed by Judy Lamarsh on C.B.C. radio. He was featured in a one hour show called "Brake 0n Blues". They talked about his obsession with blues music, rhythm and blues music, his collection of records, blues related nostalgia and spun some great old discs that Eddy had brought into the studio. Bill Castleman (the shows producer at the time) and Judy got into a confrontation just after the segment with Eddy had ended. The next day the front page of The Globe and Mail read something to the effect that "Judy Lamarsh Quits Over Controversy at C.B.C". The story went on to mention the altercation between Mr. Castleman and Judy had something to do with Eddy Brake. I will leave it there as Judy is dead now and we'll just let her R.I.P.
In April of 1976 Dave Pritchard (a Toronto Disc Jockey at Chum FM) invited Eddy to do four one hour segments called "Blue Monday". Eddy and Dave played and talked about some great old blues artists and recordings during those shows. It was Dave's intention to help Eddy get a show on Chum. Unfortunately Chum FM was in the middle of circumscribing their format which did not include BLUES of any kind.
Eddy's many pilgrimages to the black ghettos of Chicago, Detroit and Buffalo are well known among the REAL BLUESOLOGISTS of Canada. He would enter the roughest parts of town by himself to hunt down those great old blues and rhythm and blues recordings. I'll share one of these stories with you. It was the mid seventies and Eddy was in Chicago on his way to see Cadillac Baby at his store that was located in the projects on the South Side. Eddy was on a city transit bus and asked the driver to let him off somewhere close to the address he was given. The bus driver took one look and advised Eddy not to go to that part of town as he was white and most blacks didn't even venture into that part of town. Eddy just shook his head and asked again to be dropped somewhere near the address. When he got off the bus he checked the address and saw that he would need to walk south down the street a ways. He noticed a man walking north towards him about a block away. Eddy found the address of Cadillac Baby's store and walked in. Just then three shots rang out and a car screeched by and turned the corner. The man that had been walking north lay dead in the street. Cadillac Baby explained to Eddy that it was just a bunch of kids out to have a little fun and this was a common occurrence in the projects. Cadillac Baby gave Eddy a copy of the 45's he had released from what was left in his stock and then took Eddy everywhere he needed to go in Chicago, driving him around in that famous car of his. Eddy bought so many '78's, 45's and LP's that trip, that when he got on the bus to go home to Toronto he just about had to fold himself in half in order to sit with all the boxes stacked up in front of his seat on the Greyhound.
A Black Day In Canadian Blues History
On February 3rd, 1998 Eddy was given his walking papers and his show was cut from CIUT radio, oddly enough it was the day he was on his way to present CIUT's programme director (Mopa Dean) with the much coveted Real Blues Magazine's Award for "Best Canadian Blues Dee-Jay - for the year of 1997". The reason given for his dismissal was that he was to vocal about the voting process of the Mapleblues Awards which are hosted by the Toronto Blues Society. Even though there were many letters of protest and unbelievable support from Toronto's media and press, they whole issue was swept under the rug like a piece of dust.
June 1st, 1999
A Great Day In Canadian Blues History
After almost 15 months of requesting his personal file from CIUT radio, the Board of Directors voted unanimously in Eddy's favour. He was allowed to photocopy his complete file, including all the letters, notes and memos sent back and forth between some Toronto Blues Society board members, and TBS employees and CIUT's programme director Mopa Dean. Eddy now had the hard evidence needed in order to apply to be reinstated on the air and presented his case to the new Board of Directors at CIUT. On June 1st, 1999 the CIUT Board voted 5 in favour of, 2 abstentions from, and 1 against, to reinstate Eddy and his award winning programme "Eddy's Place" back on the air in it's regular time slot. The man has returned to the airwaves of Toronto and will officially be on the air June 24th at 8:00 pm hosting "Eddy's Place" once again.... The Board also voted in favour of CIUT's Programme Director (Mopa Dean) issuing a public apology because of his obvious role in the conspiracy to ostracise, discredit, and publicly humiliate Eddy B. Justice does prevail and the little guy does sometimes win a David and Goliath type of battle.. Hats off to Eddy for knowing how to use that sling shot, and to his friends, supporters and comrades at arms who never gave up hope..
Will This Madness Ever End?
Enough is Enough Already!!!
Eddy was bumped off the airwaves of CIUT for a second time and now he's pissed off and taking real legal action, in part, because he was denied his human rights stated within the policies of the station.
Web posted on Thursday, March 30, 2000
SAC President to face Ontario court
Lawsuit against CIUT endorsed
By Andrew Loung, Varsity Staff
The restructuring of CIUT radio last October will be challenged in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. A lawsuit by dismissed CIUT volunteer Eddy Brake against the station and Student Administrative Council president Matt Lenner, who spearheaded changes at the station, will be upheld by the court.
Brake is suing Lenner and University of Toronto Community Radio Inc. (the corporate entity that holds CIUT's license) for wrongful dismissal and defamation of character. His lawsuit, filed with the courts in January, also impugns Lenner and several other members of a committee for implementing changes at the station in an allegedly undemocratic manner.
The changes cited by Brake in his legal claim include the selling of the midnight to 6 a.m. time slot to a private broadcasting corporation called Virtually Canadian and the reduction of spoken word programming content below the mandatory 35 percent level. Brake's claim also challenges how the changes were implemented, which he says were done without consultation of the members of CIUT, including volunteers, listeners, and students. "The changes were made against the fundamental principles of the station - these principles formed the basis for my becoming a member in the first place," said Brake. "And the current broadcasting schedule violates the station's promise of performance." Brake was the host of "Eddy's Place," a blues show on CIUT. He has been a volunteer at the station for over ten years. He says he was wrongfully dismissed by Lenner in October along with four other volunteers as part of a purge.
Lenner had been arguing that Brake's lawsuit should be restricted to the issues of libel and defamation of character. Lenner felt that challenges to the restructuring of the station were matters of policy that should be addressed by the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC). "Those issues concerning the station's programming schedule were matters not under the jurisdiction of the courts," said Lenner. "Should the courts be overruling the CRTC?" But last week the courts decided to endorse Brake's full claim, and throw out Lenner's objection. "It is therefore my view that the claims should not be struck, dismissed or stayed..."ruled the courts. "I make no comment on the plaintiff's likelihood of success in his suit; it is sufficient that the claims disclose a reasonable cause of action. I am satisfied that they do. I am not satisfied that the CRTC has the jurisdiction to deal with the essence of the plaintiff's claims."
Brake's attorney, Patrick Summers, believes this ruling is an important victory. "The court has ruled that Mr. Brake's claims are proper," said Summers. "Rules were not followed and so it became a contractual dispute. There was a breach of contract against a member of the station, Mr. Brake." CIUT station manager Brian Burchell does not agree with the court ruling on general principle. "This type of ruling affects the right of a broadcaster to make programming decisions," said Burchell. "It takes away certain rights. For example, if your favourite television show goes off the air, you couldn't then sue the TV station to have it put back on." Lenner said he stands by all the changes made at CIUT. "What was done needed to be done," he said.
But Brake would like to see the station returned to a state in which all members can once again have a stake in its operation. "The fundamental principles of campus-community radio need to be upheld," said Brake.
Update April 2000
The University tried to contest parts of Eddy's lawsuit in the courts recently and the Judge ruled that there was nothing in the lawsuit that needed to be changed or amended. The Judge ruled to allow all parts of the lawsuit to proceed to the courts, and made the university pay Eddy's lawyer for this little waste of the court's time. You gotta love it when justice is finally being served up to the bad guys....
Blues Gang if you were listening to CIUT tonight at 8:00 PM you probably heard the following statement being broadcasted. "CIUT and Eddy Brake are pleased to announce that the lawsuit commenced by Eddy Brake against CIUT, SAC and others has been settled on mutually satisfactory terms. (The) current CIUT radio management and the Students Administrative Council of the University of Toronto regret the events of 1998-1999 which gave rise to this claim and believe that the allegations made against Eddy Brake in 1999 were unfounded."... Eddy B
For close to five and half years Eddy B quietly fought within the legal system to have his name cleared of the charges of harassment and the slanderous comments directed at his character by the U of T's radio station CIUT. Within this time frame many Blues artists willingly came forth in a show of solidarity to help Eddy with his legal fees by performing at his "Legal Blues Benefits".
My Two Cents Worth
Well, well, well "UNFOUNDED ALLEGATIONS" sez the courts, gee what a surprise Eddy's INNOCENT, like NOT GUILTY, so I guess the obvious question is "WHY DID IT EVER HAPPEN IN THE FIRST PLACE?". Guess we'll never know the real answers to that question. The upside is the same statement was rebroadcast on the CIUT's airwaves for five consecutive weeks at 8:00 pm (Eddy's old time slot) and was published in The Varsity, The Newspaper and The University of Toronto Bulletin (the three leading newspapers at the U of T).
Up Close and Personal With Eddy B
Blues Gang there wasn't a day that I didn't ask myself what my life would be like if this hadn't of happened. I was denied my fundamental rights under the governing laws of the station regarding their allegations. I never saw, or heard about any formal complaint, or documentation that would justify these allegations against me. I guess they thought I would just accept it, say nothing and go away. They could have just as easily informed me as a volunteer, that they were changing their programming schedule and that my services were no longer required. That would have ended my broadcasting days at CIUT and I would have had no other recourse but to accept this situation. Yes, maybe the listening audience and I would have been disappointed, but, the hurt and embarrassment they put me through for the last five plus years violated my personal life and it was worth every minute I spent fighting to have my good name, reputation and character cleared within the Blues community I love and respect.
Throughout the negotiations concerning this case, the one thing that always met with refusal from CIUT was our insistence that they reinstate me and my Blues show, "Eddy's Place". Even though I've proven the allegations to be unfounded my good name and reputation have been tarnished and feel I've been forced into a "no win situation" and in some ways, neither CIUT nor myself have won anything.. As far as me being on public, or live radio is concerned, I don't think it will ever happen again in this city because after I was 'let go' by CIUT, I applied to and submitted proposals for a Blues program with four other public radio stations FLOW 93, CBC Radio (99.1), CJRT now Jazz -FM (91.1), and CKLN-FM (88.1) and the only one that had the professional courtesy to respond was CBC. It got me thinking that no station manager in their right mind would ever hire a radio personality, or programmer who was actually concerned about being falsely accused and unceremoniously dumped like a piece of garbage. Given that this nightmare is finally over I will always be haunted by the questions "who allowed this happen and why?" Moving on I've rejoined the membership at CIUT once again and can submit a programme proposal for a Blues show, but think it's highly unlikely I'll ever be on the air again at CIUT. Well at least I can put all the years I've volunteered at CIUT on future resumes without hesitation.
I have to thank the good people who gave their personal and moral support, musical contributions, and financial donations without hesitation throughout the years, without their help I wouldn't have been able to carry on. Thank you all so very much.
VAC (Volunteer Action Committee to save CIUT), an independent group from and within CIUT, who stood up and wanted those involved in the take-over of the station in October of 1999 to be held accountable for all their actions. I know I didn't take this issue to the full limit, but after fighting for many years my personal well being was a risk and was forced to make a decision.
The incredible Blues musicians that generously donated their time and talent for my Legal Blues Benefits over the years: Rick Zolkower and Mr. Rick and the Biscuits, Doctor Nick and The Rollercoasters, Higgins-Maher Blues Connection, David Owen, Big Daddy G Band with special guest Tony Flaim, Brian Gladstone, Bo Basiuk, Dark Holler, Doug Norquay, The Nationals, Elaine Kilpatrick, Danny Marks, John Teskey, Johnny V and the Latvian Blues Band, The Elites, Dean Nixon, The Grayceful Daddies, Mose Scarlett, The Crockodiles, The Legal Blues All-Star Band (Larry Goodhand, Gary Kendall, Adam David), Eddie Baltimore and Slowpoke, Matt Allen and The Swingin' Blackjacks, Tiki Mercury-Clarke, Jesse Barksdale, Greg Staats, David Wildsmith, Johnny Max Band, Jason Fowler, Hokum Blues Express, Kenny Brown and the Pervaders, Helen Stewart, Mark "Bird" Stafford, David Rotundo, Raoul Bhaneja and Darren Gallen, Catfish, and Barry Mack.
And finally to a special friend and fellow Newfoundlander Patrick Summers, my legal counsel, and his Firm of Basman Smith for their sincere dedication to my lawsuit.
If what has happened to me makes a difference in the way CIUT treats their radio volunteers in the future then I feel something positive has come out of all this and truly hope there's a station manager, or program director out there in radio-land who will give me a shot at Blues programming again because they fully understand this unfortunate fiasco I've been put through. It's over and I can finally get back to my one true love, the Blues.. I'm on the up-swing once again and it's time to move forward onto bigger and better things. Gettin' back at the Blueheart Archive website and of course always keeping a watchful eye on the past!.... Eddy B
HOSTED LIVE ON CKLN 88.1 FM
BY THE ONE AND ONLY EDDY B
SUNDAYS FROM 6-7 PM
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