Sunday, 29 September 2013

The mess around...

Music has always been an inspiration to me, my taste is diverse, I just like good songs. In fact there have been nights when I am pretty sure music has saved my life. 

John also loved music, it was a big part of his life.

When John was growing up he booked the bands at Neil McNeil high school, he also played the clarinet (which was very useful later on in his sketches with Eugene Levy playing the Schmenge Brothers and for his role as Gus Polinski in Home Alone). 

Through booking the bands he met one of his best friend's Jonathan O'Mara (who is also a very talented musician). They were both big fans of Simon and Garfunkel and used to drive round late at night listening to them - I wonder if John ever imagined he would be introducing them on stage later on in life? Not only that but having Paul Simon co-star on sketches? In fact Paul featured in one of my favourite early Candy sketches, Roy's food repair (look out for who else you can spot!).

John had a great sense of rhythm, he was light on his feet and a great dancer. His agent, Catherine McCartney, told me if you didn't leave the night before the band started, you knew as soon as they took to the stage you were staying until the end.  

During SCTV they championed musicians who would come on and play as part of a sketch in the show - many times these suggestions would come from John who was always keen to give someone a break. 

Playing Gus Polanski in Home Alone John was only there for 24 hours and managed to upset Chris Columbus as he kept encouraging the polka musicians (used for his scenes) play songs and nobody could concentrate, of course John Hughes saw the funny side and told them to play one more. 

He was even the music video for super-group The Travelling Wilbury's, The Wilbury Twist

His love for music is evident in doing the classic 'mess around' scene in Planes, Trains and Automobiles' -  you should always bookmark this scene and when you are feeling low, watch it, it's like a tonic. 

I was curious as to what music John would listen to knowing that his tastes were probably as diverse as my own. I interviewed Dave Thomas (one of the first big interviews I did), Dave was so generous he gave me an hour and a half of his time. When asking Dave about the music John loved one track really stood out in his memory. John would play Eddie Money - Baby Hold On To Me very loudly in his car. When I am struggling to write I now listen to this song and somehow I always find inspiration.

There are many other stories I could tell you now but I am trying to hold some stuff back for the book. 

I am also highly curious as John's fans as to what you would like to see included? I have quite a few interviews coming up, if there is anything you would like to know please suggest it below.

Please also join my Facebook group for regular updates and snippets of John's work 

I'm off to do The Mess Around...


  1. Hi Tracey, I love music and have eclectic taste I guess you could say. I also 'just like good songs' though I don't doubt some would disagree with what constitutes 'good' in my book! :-)
    Anyway, good luck with the interviews you have coming up, I'd be interested to know if there was a film (or films) that John regretted making. I appreciate that he took some roles in order to look after his family which is perfectly natural and makes total sense but is there anything that he really wished he hadn't done. Happy writing! x

  2. Hi Eddie25, I always love getting messages off you! We are all allowed our guilty pleasures in our music collection ;)

    That's a great question too! I am not sure the people I am interviewing will know the answer but someone I interview will - so I will ask the question for you! Thanks again for reading x