Turning the Tables

Some big news coming up about a Canadian broadcaster and an international distribution deal for the film but for now, please enjoy film star David Marsden turning the tables on film Director Roger King and interviewing him for www.nythespirit.com



CIUT Fundraiser in Toronto

There will be a special screening of I Am What I Play at The Carlton Cinema in Toronto on Friday, May 6th.  It’s a fundraiser for the University of Toronto radio station, CIUT.   Film star David Marsden and Director Roger King will attend and do a Q & A after the screening.  We’re happy to support free form college radio.  Tickets and info at the link below:



Canadian Premiere

Our Canadian premiere took place Friday May 8 in Toronto at the Royal Cinema.  We were the opening film of the Canadian Music Week (CMW) Film Festival and we had a great turnout at the theater.  This premiere was well-timed as CMW’s two-day radio conference had just wrapped up so a lot of radio industry titans were already in town.  Many of them attended the screening and the film was very well received.   Also in attendance was one of the film’s 4 subjects, David Marsden, who took part in an entertaining Q & A session after the film.   We look forward to more screenings in Toronto in the near future.


Royal Cinema line-up


The Edge 102.1 (CFNY) on-air discussion about I Am What I Play

In December, David Marsden returned to the station he essentially created, The Edge 102.1 (CFNY) for a lengthy chat with former and now current again CFNY radio personalities Alan Cross and Scot Turner.  At one point during the visit, they talked about I Am What I Play.   You can listen to it here:


Fast forward to the 1:19:40 mark.



David Marsden visits CFNY, December 21, 2014.

David Marsden tribute in Parliament

Happy 2015!  I realize I have not been very diligent about updating this blog.  Facebook is where the action is these days but I have to remember not everyone is on Facebook so will be more on top of updating here as well.

U.S. distribution news coming soon!  In the meantime, I want to post some odds ‘n ends, starting with this below.  David Marsden has left The Rock 94.9 and now does his shows live on his own site: www.nythespirit.com

Here was a tribute to David last month in Canadian Parliament, from MP Erin O’Toole:


The Spirit of Radio

Since we started shooting the film, I have obviously been posting here and there on this blog, at least trying to capture bits and pieces of the process.  Now that we are finished the rough cut – the editor, post-production supervisor and I finally watched it on a big screen last week and it looks good (whew!) – I plan to update this space more frequently and I realize to this point, I haven’t talked about why I made this film.

I graduated from University just over 20 years ago.  One day I skipped an early morning history class because the local rock radio station was going to play the new Robert Plant single for the first time.  Being a die-hard Led Zeppelin/Plant fan, I had to hear it now.  And my only option for doing so was to tune into this one radio station at the exact right time.  I simply had to cut class.

This likely seems absurd to people born in the year I graduated.  Not the skipping class part but having so few options for accessing new music.  This was part of the excitement and power of rock radio.  I think mine is the last generation that understands that, or has any real connection to radio.  Might be the last generation that even owns a radio!

I see lots of blogs and hear lots of podcasts about what’s wrong with radio now – why this connection to younger generations has been lost.  And I know the standard line is to blame corporations.  While it’s true that many corporations have tried to control the message and the music, I think where radio sits today is the result of a number of factors besides just the present-day radio execs not understanding the charm of the psychedelic era.

I prefer to focus on what was right with radio when it did have a hold on generations of listeners.  It’s the job of those of us who were moved by the medium to pass that torch – to sing the praises of the originals still doing their thing (and they’re still out there, if you’re paying attention), to take note of ways in which “the spirit of radio” is still alive and well – or could be – and to bend the ears of younger generations without sounding bitter or out of touch.

I try to capture “the spirit” when I talk about how much time I spent with rock radio.  Those DJ’s were the ambassadors.  They didn’t just play the records. They gave me an entry into the world of that band and they lived the music.  They drew links between bands, between songs, between what might be said in a song and what you might do in the real world:  politically, sexually, culturally…or just whatever on a Saturday night.

There was no quicker way to connect to the public than through radio.  DJ’s could move music, and occasionally public opinion.  I just loved hearing intelligent voices discussing the bands I love – and spinning stories about the music and what they did after the show.  A talented DJ would spin an evening for me – it was an event.  “It was never a shift, it was a show.”

Their identities were wrapped up in the music they played.  With few exceptions, there is no way a top radio jock would put a record on the air that he/she didn’t believe in. Which is why I’ve always liked the David Bowie line from his song DJ:  “I Am a DJ – I am what I play.”   And in the spirit of that lyric, I decided to make a film.

Cross Talk

Got back into the swing of shooting in 2012 as we had a great interview with Alan Cross last week at his home.  Alan spent 25 years on-air at CFNY and is perhaps best known for hosting over 700 episodes of the series, The Ongoing History of New Music.  Alan was possibly the last person hired by David Marsden before leaving CFNY and he had some great stories for the film about what it’s like to work with, and for, The Mars Bar!

Alan has posted a short piece about our interview here:


Producer/Director Roger King takes in the action as Alan Cross gets “Schmoozed” (the dog’s name is Schmooze).


The Mars Bar

We have been shooting our interviews with David Marsden at The King Edward Hotel in Toronto.  We had wanted to shoot in the hotel bar but there are clearance release issues with the hotel.  Plus, a waitress I know there tells me that a businessman reserves the table we had in mind every day between 12-7 pm.  Sometimes he is joined by others; sometimes he’s alone.  He drinks an average of 5-7 martinis a day while doing business.  His bills range from $200-$500 daily. We were tempted to stop work on I Am What I Play and immediately begin the documentary on the guy with the permanent table at The King Eddy!

We shot over 6 hours of interviews with Marsden and there are still stories I realize we didn’t get to yet.  We did cover a lot of ground though.  From his days as mouter-mouthed David Mickie at CKEY in Toronto – and the hosting of 2 TV shows to go with the radio work – to being a major part of the free form radio movement in Montreal at CKGM-FM (now CHOM-FM) and in Toronto at 70’s powerhouse CHUM-FM, the stories just flow, with playfulness and good humor.  The early days of FM radio, the FLQ crisis and John & Yoko’s bed-in in Montreal, the gay club scene in 1960’s Toronto, and of course the creation of CFNY and the alternative rock format for which Marsden is best known.  These are only some of the topics covered during our lengthy sit-downs together.

And the best part is – Marsden is STILL doing the free-form thing, on 94.9 The Rock, Saturday and Sunday nights – and at www.marsdenglobal.com

You will love David Marsden on camera!  He is truly full of life.

Director Roger King with David Marsden on location at The King Edward Hotel, Toronto.  In background, sound man extraordinaire, Kevin MacKenzie.

David Marsden in The Marsden Theatre at 94.9 The Rock.  DOP David Cain climbs new heights to get the shot.