I can’t believe we’ve lost Ken Basman! God has no mercy. The world is emptier tonight! Three cheers for the life of Ken!
Of all the people I have ever known in my own life, Ken was the first true pillar of humanity, of common sense, of fair play, a believer in social justice, and a lighthouse in the fog of teenage war! The apple does not fall far from the tree! He turned me on to as many books as he did to albums. We longed for a just world. We believed in love.
The son of Muni was a great great man from the beginning. We connected with music, style, and culture! I loved spending all day at the Basman home on Denino Ave., in Hogs Hollow, learning what cool was all about! The house was full of history, art, and philosophy, which were all as important as the sex and drugs and rock and roll that Ken and I were enjoying! And, who can ever look at a Cadillac Eldorado convertible, and not think of Muni? What an awesome man! Ken made Muni proud. I know he did! I was there!
Ken never took on anything without completing it, showing all of us what hard work, and what we musicians call wood-shedding, can do! Ken practiced and listened, and practiced, and listened, and became an equal best musician to anyone I have ever met, by the time he and I were 17.
And we played chess! Hours and hours of it, including chess by mail with Ken’s grandfather in Winnipeg! I remember having three games going, at one time, against a Basman! By high school at A.I.S.P., in Toronto, we were forced to invent Losers Chess, in order to save time for making music!
Over the years, Ken and I put together a bunch of bands. I don’t remember all the names, but orignally we were known as; F**k, The Baffin Island Boogie Band, Beyond Saturns Window, Beyond, Behind, and a few more!
We played music and life together, from junior high, through high school, performing original songs, some written by me, and some by Ken, and we did covers by Stevie Wonder, Weather Report, Alice Cooper, Joni Mitchell, Spirit, Chick Corea, Edgar Winter, Wes Montgomery, the Beatles, Miles Davis, and many others! I know you’re not going to like this, but, we thought Led Zeppelin were a teeny-bopper band! Go figure! My point is, we loved all great music! The word genre was poison to us!
Our many bands included friends and musicians; Daniel van Kranendonk, John Johnson, Dave Worth, Gary Boigon, Jim Honeywell, Bob Little, Cam Hawkins, Reggie Shoji, Gary Justice, and many more great musicians, who are still doing it!
Our last proper gig together was as the house-band at the original Massey family house, which became Julie Fine’s, Bombay Bicycle club, in Toronto. It’s now the Keg n Cleaver. I think Yousuf Karsh took some nice photos of us there. I have had one of them on my piano for many years! I’ll scan it soon! I hope Ken’s family have the originals, so we can all see these historical time slices properly?
Although it is true that there are more reasons for who I am than meets the eye, Ken was always my guardian angel, through some pretty brutal experiences. His ability to stay cool in outrageous situations was legendary! And having a friend who was so far ahead of me musically, and who respected my music, was the greatest gift a young music man can ever have!
I love you Ken Basman. From the bottom of my person! I will never forget you! Love is the answer!