Young Frankenstein

Posted: June 6, 2011 in Rock n Roll

Buzz Constantly and Young Frankenstein (Ric Whitman and Dave Vidal, when they were in the same band)

Here’s a vintage pic! Seen above in a section of a promo shot for their old band Kitsch, are Ric Whitman and Dave Vidal, probably from 1976. I remember on Sparkling Apple tours to Victoria, Buzz would look up old friends from when he used to live there, one of which was the Legendary Dave Vidal. Because he was a brilliant guitarist, Dave became a friend of Sparkling Apple, too, and we would look forward to hanging out with him whenever we were on the Island. In later years, Dave was well-known as a session musician and guitar tech (Art would see him to “set up my inclination”!), and I remember seeing him as a much-in-demand Hammond B3 organist at some of the Yale Hotel jams. When asked how a dazzling guitarist could be an equally impressive keyboard player, he would shrug it off with, “It’s just mathematics”. In 2016, I saw him at Joanne and Budd Marr’s wedding, and I reminded him of the following incident (which he remembered). Lately, he’s been a special guest at Steve Kozak’s Blues & Brews jam Wednesday nights at the Patricia Hotel in Vancouver.

So how did Dave get the nickname Young Frankenstein? It was in 1978, while travelling to the Victoria nightclub “The Surfside” on one of our many visits, that Art became sick on the ferry (probably because of the “beep dip” as the cafeteria cook called it). By the time he got to the club for afternoon soundcheck and to set up our gear, Art was so ill that he had to be taken to Royal Jubilee Hospital (I think the prognosis was stomach flu). Buzz, meanwhile, had gone on to Victoria ahead of us in a separate vehicle, completely oblivious to Art’s condition, and the plan was that he would meet us at the gig. We set up our equipment at the Surfside, fully expecting Art to be released from hospital later in the evening; as it turned out, though, an overnight stay was required! Expecting to cancel the Monday night show, I waited at the club with our roadies for Buzz to show up and to break the bad news to him. Just before showtime, Buzz did indeed arrive at the club with an old friend — you guessed it, Dave Vidal, who was wearing a t-shirt which displayed the logo from the then-recent “Young Frankenstein” movie. When we told Buzz of Art’s inability to play, he of course was shocked, but Dave, trouper that he is, volunteered to fill in. “I’ll play,” he laughed, and without any rehearsal, we performed the Monday night set with Dave Vidal on guitar! Dave was the kind of guitarist at whom you could throw any song, whereupon he would think for a second and then say, “OK, let’s do it”. What a guy! So it was because he was wearing a “Young Frankenstein” shirt that he earned that nickname, which was how we’d address him every time we encountered him.

  1. Bob Lesher says:

    RE: Dave Vidal; I was in Blues Union, circa 1970-74. We were playing the Brown Jug and Dave sat in, on guitar, the whole night, playing every tune we had as if he had worked them a thousand times previous. He blistered the songs with new dimension, colors, fireworks, etc.! As Tony Soprano would say, “He was freaking amazing!”

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