Magnificent Sea Creatures of the Pacific Northwest
Call Bilz: 250-285-3468

Vince van Orden

I’m not a car guy, and I’m only halfway interested in marine biology, but I do like a good tune and so did my dad. He taught me about Woodstock and Kraftwerk and J-Pop. He taught me that songs that take a few listens are often the most rewarding. He taught me so much.

One of my first memories is dancing around in the living room. Me, Mom, Dad, Nick, Shan, all dancing around in the living room listening to Chuck Berry or Chubby Checker or Bill Haley and the Comets. Laughing and smiling. Dad playing 45s. He collected records. When I was old enough, he taught me how to play them. Queen and The Beatles were early favourites. I was amazed by how much he knew about music, about the artists, about the instruments. He had books that said how good the records were and other books that said how much they were worth. He taught me how to copy records onto tapes to play in the car.

During the late 80s, my dad wasn’t that into new music. He had little kids and lots of records already. But this changed in the early 90s. Coast 1040 was a new, independent Vancouver radio station that played alternative and experimental rock . It changed my dad’s life. I remember his excitement listening to new bands like Nirvana, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, and Rage Against the Machine. When Coast 1040 went off the air in ‘93, my dad was quite upset. Before the internet it was difficult to find new music on Quadra Island and Coast 1040 was dad’s window to the world of music. He recorded the entire last weekend of Coast 1040 from the radio onto cassette tapes. He would listen to them from time to time, including in the month before he died.

With Coast 1040 gone, my dad struggled to find new music. Instead, he bought more records. The mid 90s was a great time to be a record collector as everyone was upgrading to CDs. The second-hand stores were full of old records for next to nothing. Family trips to Vancouver would take a full day, as we would stop at every thrift store along the way so dad could thumb through dusty boxes of LPs and 45s. I got into listening to new music when we got MuchMusic in 1997. I listened to bands like Oasis, Pearl Jam, and The Offspring. Though, as I knew, my dad thought my musical tastes at the time a bit boring, he would still take the time to teach me about earlier musicians that had influenced what I liked. Dad preferred the music they played on the late night MuchMusic shows, mostly heavy metal and experimental rock. He resisted buying a CD player for a long time, but once he got one, he started buying CDs en masse.

Dad’s main source for CDs was Columbia House, the subscription service with 11 albums for a penny, so long as you bought a further 5 or so at full price over the next few years. He had Columbia House figured out. Dad would get bonus free CDs by recommending new subscribers, such as mom, the cat, and the dog. Then, he would buy the minimum required albums at full price and cancel his account. Part of the fun was seeing how many CDs he could buy for the lowest price. From Columbia House he bought all sorts of stuff–new rock, old rock, rap, electronic, oddball stuff from Coast 1040, albums with interesting cover art, bands with strange names.

The internet came and changed how most of us, my dad included, consumed music. Both he and I would spend hours downloading music from Napster on our dial-up internet. Watching the blue bar slowly inch across the screen. He bought a CD burner before they became commonplace and burned hundreds of CDs to listen to in his workshop. Up until he died, he would still download music and burn them for the shop. He read reviews online and in magazines and downloaded everything that interested him, usually music that stood out from the norm–loud, political, instrumentally experimental, silly, gimmicky, vulgar. More than once my dad recalled with a grin that such and such marine biologist had come to visit his shop to find dad blaring lewd hip-hop or angry heavy metal at top volume.

Over the past few years, Youtube has become the main source for discovering music for both me and my dad. The online reviewer Anthony Fantano (The Needle Drop) has provided countless suggestions to him. Dad referred to Fantano as “my little friend”. Me and dad would regularly email each other Youtube suggestions of what we’d been listening to. Dad’s suggestions were sometimes what he thought I’d like and other times what he thought I should like. Always trying to teach me more and expand my horizons.

Here is a playlist of some of the songs that he has sent over the past few years. Have a listen.

Contact Bilz

Email: bilzrockfish[at]gicable[dot]com
Phone: (250) 285-3468
Box 245, Heriot Bay, BC , V0P 1H0