Toronto music journalist and radio host Dave Bookman is being remembered with a Heritage Toronto plaque outside the city’s famed Horseshoe Tavern. He passed in 2019.
Dave was a tireless and enthusiastic promoter of independent music inside and outside Canada. In addition to his popular radio show, he hosted a long-running series of Tuesday night gigs at the Horseshoe called Dave Bookman’s Nu Music Nite.
Dave and I first met in 1985, while he was promoting his duo The Bookmen with Tim Mech. I believe his appearance on my Saturday-evening show at CKLN-FM was his broadcasting debut (please fact check me if I have that wrong).
The music that Dave made, first with Tim and then later with Dave Bidini of The Rheostatics, was just as unbridled as his promotion of other deserving artists. I’ve still yet to meet anyone with a greater passion for music.
He was so genuine, and so completely unguarded when he talked about indie rock. Dave loved all of it – from the era’s greats like Hüsker Dü and The Replacements, to the international scene’s youngest newcomers.
Most of all though, he adored Elvis Costello. Every one of the half-dozen LPs in my collection were bought based on Dave’s recommendations. Elvis walked on water as far as he was concerned, and talking with Dave about his favourite artist made you a believer.
Dave Bookman was the guy that made it cool to gush about rock and roll again. He was celebrated for it, but not nearly enough.