MY TORONTO : CHRIS TAIT

National Post (Latest Edition) - - Toronto - Karon Liu and Zosia Bielski, Na­tional Post

My first love The first venue I fell in love with was the Bev­erly Tav­ern [240 Queen St. W., now a Spring Rolls restau­rant]. We used to play it when we were still in high school. I didn’t grow up in Toronto. I grew up in New­cas­tle, which is about an hour east of the city. We’d play Thurs­day night and pack up our gear af­ter­wards, drive home and go to school the next day. Then we’d hop into the van, drive back to the city and play the Fri­day, Satur­day night shows as well. Re­vival tour We had such a great time play­ing [a re­union gig] at Lee’s Palace last June. To be hon­est, I had quite a bit of trep­i­da­tion about do­ing it. I didn’t want to start any­thing and I didn’t think the guys wanted to ei­ther be­cause we were all busy. But when Uni­ver­sal de­cided they were go­ing to cre­ate a great­est hits record, we all got to­gether and re­mas­tered some of the songs, and it was a great op­por­tu­nity to see ev­ery­one again. That’s when we talked about play­ing a show to­gether again, as long as we had fun. We con­tacted the crew we worked with on the road, peo­ple we knew from the record com­pany. Even Adrian Heaps, who used to be the vice-pres­i­dent of Duke Street Records and is now a city coun­cil­lor, came down to the show, which was on his birth­day, ac­tu­ally. The show was sold out, which was fan­tas­tic be­cause it’s been a long time.

As front­man for Chalk Cir­cle, Chris Tait was a sta­ple of MuchMu­sic’s video ro­ta­tion in the mid-’80s. He’s now 43, and a part­ner and mu­sic di­rec­tor at Pi­rate, an au­dio pro­duc­tion house that re­cently ex­panded its op­er­a­tions to New York City and also helped launch a hit with Roller­coaster, a song writ­ten for May­nard’s Swedish Ber­ries by Ma­jor Maker.

Ghost writ­ers on King I stum­bled into this [au­dio pro­duc­tion] busi­ness, I didn’t even know it ex­isted. I started ghost writ­ing for peo­ple ... and even­tu­ally be­came a part­ner at Pi­rate, five or six years now. This is my ninth year, but we’ve been on King a long time, 17 years now. We’re right across from the Sun build­ing at 260 King St. E. I’ve watched the area change dra­mat­i­cally. There used to be stu­dio fa­cil­i­ties down here. A lot of the larger record­ing stu­dios are dis­ap­pear­ing. One in par­tic­u­lar, Manta, I grew up at. There’s ac­tu­ally a Face­book group called I Miss Manta. It had an in­cred­i­ble record­ing floor and some in­cred­i­bly tal­ented peo­ple work­ing there. That’s a condo now. Hit mak­ers Roller­coaster was writ­ten for the [May­nard’s Swedish Ber­ries] com­mer­cial. It was writ­ten by Todor Kobakov and Lindy Vop­n­fjord of Ma­jor Maker. It was one of eight tracks writ­ten for the spot ... very early on, it was the front-run­ner. It sticks with you. Ba­si­cally we did an ad like we do ev­ery day. It went on air and the pub­lic re­sponse was over­whelm­ing. Very quickly the hits on Ma­jor Maker’s site went up as peo­ple tried to fig­ure out who wrote the song. We ended up work­ing out a deal with their man­age­ment ... and they ba­si­cally wrote a two-and-a-half-minute pop ver­sion of it, fin­ished the lyrics, re-recorded it and the rest is his­tory. House crawl I’m in the Riverdale area. I think peo­ple tend to be­come east-en­ders or west-en­ders. I’ve lived out in that area for­ever. We started out by rent­ing an apart­ment above a store at Car­law and Dan­forth for two or three years and lived as far east as Coxwell. It’s al­ways been a great mix of artists and mu­si­cians cul­tur­ally and so­cioe­co­nom­i­cally. When I first moved to Toronto, I was 18 and moved to lit­tle Por­tu­gal and lived in a flat on Man­ning Av­enue right out of high school and just signed a record deal. The best In­dian food in the city is Sher E Pun­jab [351 Dan­forth Ave.]: You call and in 10 min­utes you have din­ner. Rockin’ fa­ther­hood I have three kids — 12, 7, and 2, boy­girl-boy. I’ve taken Nolan, who’s 12 and loves mu­sic, to see Billy Tal­ent but ob­vi­ously it’s hard to get him into a club.

Chris Tait will re­lease his sec­ond solo album next year. For more in­for­ma­tion on Pi­rate, go to www.pi­rate.ca

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