Interview with Keith Sharp, author of Music Express

Interview with Keith Sharp, author of Music Express thumbnail

Interview with Keith Sharp, author of Music Express

Posted on April 14 by Keith Sharp
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Today Keith Sharp, author of the brand new release Music Express, answers some questions about this book, where he got the idea from and how he was able to do the research!

Caitlyn: Tell Us About Your Book:

Keith: The Rise Fall & Resurrection Of Music Express documents the story of a music magazine that was born out of my frustration to promote Canadian music in my own daily newspaper, The Calgary Herald, and how I launched my own music publication (based on a model of British music newspapers) which I had been a faithful reader of whilst living in my native Manchester.

The book tells the story of how myself and my partner Conny Kunz, developed Canada’s premiere music tabloid at a time when the domestic music industry was peaking (1976), how who set up shop in Toronto in 1980, how we expanded into the United States in 1986 via a working relationship with Minneapolis-based Musicland/Sam Good record retail chain and how that deal collapsed four years later.

Through the perspective of the magazine, the reader will gain unique insight to many star domestic and International artists, their careers, touring anecdotes and interviews  which occurred during a golden period in the history of Canadian music.

Caitlyn: How Did You Come Up With The Idea For This Work:

Keith: For the longest time, I didn’t think the general public was interested in a book about the Canadian music scene but I was convinced by many of my friends in the music industry that the general public would be interested to know what it’s like to travel to East Berlin with Bryan Adams, to tour Poland with Iron Maiden, to hang out with David Bowie in Australia and for me to reveal many great anecdotes about the behind-the-scenes happenings in the North American music industry.

Caitlyn: How Did You Come Up With The Title:

Keith: The book originally was going to focus on how I launched the magazine, it’s ups and downs and subsequent decline – but then we re-launched Music Express again in September 2012 as a digital magazine and the book in its new form continues to thrive (themusicexpress.ca).

Caitlyn: Did You Have A Special Readership In Mind When You Wrote This Book:

Keith: As I began to write this book, I realized it could reach a wide audience. Obviously there were the musicians and music industry people who would like to see that golden era (when people actually bought records and CD’s) documented and a targeted audience of fans who would love to read anecdotes and interviews with their favourite artists. But there is an entirely new generation of people who only knew about these artists through their parents who are re-discovering this music and are becoming latent fans – who would also be interested in the musical history of this country.

Caitlyn: How Did You Research This Book:

Keith: When I was fired by the person who took over Music Express and renamed the magazine Impact, all existing files, including my only copy of the very first issue, were discarded or destroyed by the new publisher so initially, other than a box full of back issues that I scrounged up from various friends, I had no resource material. Then a friend of mine, Marty Melhuish told me that a friend of his, Brock Silversides, was the curator of the University of Toronto Reference Library and that he believed they had virtually every back issue in their archives. A quick call to Brock and I was in the U of T’s library with all this resource material at my disposal. Talk about a kid in a candy shop!. I was able to go back through the annals of time, assemble a chronology of events and glean valuable story quotes. At this point, my book took a thematic shape. I was then able to call the majority of artists (many of whom are still performing), corroborate their stories and add some amazing anecdotes.

 

 

 

Keith Sharp

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
Keith Sharp photo

Keith Sharp

Keith Sharp is a former sportswriter for the Calgary Herald who launched Alberta Music Express as a hobby in July 1976, going full-time with Music Express in 1978. Sharp also launched Access Magazine in June 1995. The native of Manchester, England, runs themusicexpress.ca and lives in Toronto.