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Daniel MacMaster of Bonham : Holding on Forever

A Tribute to Daniel MacMaster

by John Kindred
Staff Writer

Daniel MacMasterDaniel MacMaster
(July 11, 1968 — March 3, 2008)

Daniel MacMaster, born in Barre, Ontarion, Cananda, in 1968, tasted success in the late ’80s as the vocalist for Jason Bonham’s band Bonham. Bonham released two albums: The Disregard of Timekeeping in 1989 (which peaked at No. 38 on the Billboard charts) and 1992’s Mad Hatter. The Disregard of Timekeeping, produced by the acclaimed Bob Ezrin, went gold and delivered the band two hit singles, “Wait For You” and “Guilty.” The success that followed kept the band on the road touring and promoting The Disregard of Timekeeping for three years before returning to the studio to record Mad Hatter.

Prior to joining Bonham, MacMaster was in the band Scorcher, a Blues-based hard rock outfit. The band only recorded one studio album, No Thanks, which was released two years after Mad Hatter in 1994.

MacMaster was off the musical map until ’03, when he returned and released a solo album called Rock Bonham … And The Long Road Back in ’05. His first solo album featured seven new songs that were written by MacMaster and included four unreleased songs that were recorded during his days in Bonham.

At the time of his death, MacMaster began working with Connecticut-based singer/songwriter Jimmy D (Emerald Monkey). Plans to release an album and play live shows were cut short when MacMaster died on March 3, 2008, from complication of a Group A streptococcal infection at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre in Ontario, Canada.

MacMaster left behind a wife and two children, Kaleb and Aryanna.

Discography:

The Disregard of Timekeeping (1989) w/ Bonham
Mad Hatter (1992) w/ Bonham
No Thanks (1994) w/ Scorcher
Rock Bonham…And The Long Road Back (2005) solo
Heroes of the night – A Tribute to KISS’ Creatures of the Night (2008) w/ Emerald Monkey

Revisited : Daniel MacMaster 2003 Interview with Hardrock Haven

Hardrock Haven: Who inspired you to become a musician?

Daniel: “Jackson Five, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Marvyn Gaye, Billie Holiday, Rod Stewart, Terrence Trent ‘Darby, Freddie Mercury, Seal, Robert Johnson, Sun House, Mississippi Fred McDowle, …there are so many artists, I have only named but a few here.”

Hardrock Haven: Were you raised within a musical family?

Daniel: “Apart from what I listened to as to what my parents, John Stewart MacMaster, Lorraine Carol MacMaster were playing as I grew. I also had a few uncles who played guitar and sang, one uncle in the family used to play the Horse Shoe Tavern in downtown Toronto for a span of thirty years, my dad knows the details on that more than I.”

Hardrock Haven: What bands were you into growing up?

Daniel: “AC/DC, Ozzy Ozbourne, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Elvis Presley, the Doors, The Who, again some here are solo artists, but you get the idea again, too many to mention.”

Hardrock Haven: Is there a defining moment that set you on your path to become a singer?

Daniel: “My mother reminds me of singing into the vacuum cleaner, between the ages of 3 to 5 as I was going to be one of the Jackson Five. I figured at the time, as well as James Brown, mother said this could not be as I was not black, my dad tells me of times when at five I would be jumping up and down in the backseat of the family wagon , shouting out “hey dad play black dog again”, “play black dog again”, as he was fond of Led Zeppelin, among others whom influenced me, he was as well fond of Marty Robbins, Roger Miller, Elvis Presley, Rod Stewart, so as to defining moments john you might find these amusing.”

Hardrock Haven: Tell us about Scorcher. How did your involvement with the band come about?

Daniel: “I had started out taking guitar lessons from Terry Baker, the band guitarist, then eventually I began singing for the band, we all had a good chemistry, oh and we showed up for rehearsals.”

BonhamHardrock Haven: How did you meet Jason Bonham?

Daniel: “At the time Chris Michaels, a D.J. and good friend, of local station rock 95 in Barrie Ontario, (back when they used to play our music), had to put that in cause they won’t give me the time of day now, even as a Canadian artist. That’s alright though because I was born in York, Toronto, a city who has always played the music, whether it be Scorcher or Bonham tunes, and 97.7 out of St. Catherines, Q107 Toronto, stations like that. Anyways Brian Howe from Bad Company came into the picture here as to the buzz Chris was creating for us as a rock band, he mentioned that Jason Bonham, Ian Hatton and John Smithson were in a studio in California working on a release. Phil Carson (the band manager) came to a show we were doing in Barrie, Ontario “The Clifton” it was, and after we left the show, I played a few songs the band was working on at the time, Phil asked if I could see myself working on these songs with the Bonham, I said yes, so a short time later I left for California to meet up with the band, we played a few songs that we all knew, then went immediately into writing for the release of “The Disregard of Timekeeping,” we had a certain magic, that we all knew right away, in fact if we were playing together again, I’m certain that magic is still there in stone.”

Hardrock Haven: Did you leave Scorcher to join Bonham or had Scorcher run its course?

Daniel: “Yes, we parted ways in Scorcher, well… I for one at the time, to join the band Bonham, it was not that Scorcher had run it’s course, we as a band were offered a record deal from capital records two weeks later, prior to my leaving to join up with Bonham, it’s just the decision I had made, it was a difficult one at that, and Scorcher carried on with Chris Fumo taking on lead vocals for the band, as well as guitarist.”

Hardrock Haven: Was Jason’s vision of Bonham a second coming of Led Zeppelin?

Daniel: “No not at all, in any event Jason was taught by his father John, he grew up in a rich surroundings of music with Led Zeppelin, so of course that Bonham sound is evident, all combined with all of our influences as to what we created in music, it was always a group effort, in the true sense of the word, there is no future in cloning a band, as writers we knew then we had to strive for our own sound to be recognized.”

Hardrock Haven: How did you handle the comparisons between Bonham and Led Zeppelin?

Daniel: “It was never an issue, only with questions like these, and as far as comparisons go that was up to the people to decide, not us we were the band.”

Hardrock Haven: During that time did you have contact with any members of Led Zeppelin?

Daniel: “Yes, we always did as to hearing each others music that was created, Robert was great in that he would always have advice for us as a band, Jimmy as well would check in from time to time to see how we where doing, as with John, I’m sure that whole heartedly they wanted us to succeed, and to reach our goals as artists to become good writers.”

Disregard for TimekeepingHardrock Haven: What was your reaction to touring with The Cult after the release of “The Disregard for Timekeeping?”

Daniel: “It was a great opportunity for us as a band to be out playing in front of so many people, my fondest of memories are here, the cult were very good to us and became good friends down the road, you could tell they wanted us to do well…my reaction was I never wanted it to end, need more of this live playing in my life, it’s when you are closest with your fans, the music, very gratifying for me.”

Hardrock Haven: What led to the demise of Bonham?

Daniel: “For me I can say that drug and alcohol addictions becoming a real pain in the ass to the band, the labels, the management, these things led to the demise of me as a person, in that in anything one does the result is the same, you make bad decisions and take the good things you have for granted, you become someone your not, end result Bonham finds a new singer, and of all these things I was just clouding my frustrations in life, the music industry. I had forgotten the true essential reason as to why I do this, it’s all about the people who support us, the people who get us there, it’s their faith in us, the event, it’s about the music, and all the good times created in playing live for people, this I truly love and have found that respect again.”

Hardrock Haven: After a ten year hiatus what was the motivation to jump back into the musical arena?

Daniel: “I feel it’s a gift from the gods to sing for people and I must use this gift to the best of my ability, when someone says to you… ”why are you not doing what you love most?” It hits home pretty hard, so here I am then, as well, the only time I ever feel comfortable and at home is on stage in front of people, playing music.”

Hardrock Haven: Did Top Fuel Records sign you from your name alone or did you submit demos to them?

Daniel: “Stephen had gone on to the web site to get up to speed as to where I was at and earlier this year he played, in Toronto at Healey’s. We talked then, we are friends anyways so we talked of family, music, what each of us was up to. I guess he listened to the music up on the solo section of the listening board www.realitymanagement.ca. He was thinking of me for The Bastards of Metal Tour the following spring/summer, and from there it stemmed to the label Top Fuel Records, the video, the tour, it’s fantastic, amazing really John, if you get a chance, I hope you take a listen to the new demos on our site, as I would appreciate your reviews on the music.”

Hardrock Haven: What sets your future release apart from the work done with Bonham and Scorcher?

Daniel: “It’s all new, new ideas, myself as an artist breaking out into a solo career in that I feel it’s time I did this, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time now, the only difference being in that I now will be a solo artist, getting the music out to everyone to hear, and with any luck they in turn will come out to the live shows.”

Hardrock Haven: Have you been long time friends with Stephen Pearcy? Is your writing partnership a new venture with Stephen?

Daniel: “Yes, we have been friends a long time, and our writing together is a new venture for both of us, I’m confident that some great new material will come from our pairing up together.”

Hardrock Haven: How did your relationship with Steve Lukather come about?

Mad HatterDaniel: “We as a band Bonham, always went to see Steve play at the Baked Potato, a great venue to see artists play, as well I went to see him and Jeff Healy in Toronto at Jeff Healey’s two year anniversary, gave a song to Steve to listen to and had asked him if he would entertain playing on the solo release, he said yes, I was very happy about this of course.”

Hardrock Haven: Have you contacted Jason Bonham about contributing to your new CD?

Daniel: “Ah, he is usually pretty busy, but he knows the door is always open for him to play if he chooses to do so, if this came about I suppose it would be if Jason had time…I believe the management, Bruce Calwell, has tried to contact him…I myself never know where to find him.”

Hardrock Haven: Are you happy to be working with your brother, Jody?

Daniel: “Yes very much so, we work well together, as writers, he brings a lot of talent to the group, I can see it will pose to be a good thing here.”

Hardrock Haven: What is your opinion of the music industry right now?

Daniel: “Well it seems to be busy, and booming as usual, there are a lot of talented people out there to work with, have to find my place there, and I can only hope to be welcomed there again as a more serious mature writer, I have a lot to give, I hope that I am accepted there whole heartedly.”

Hardrock Haven: Will Top Fuel Records market your CD worldwide or to a particular area?

Daniel: “Yes, worldwide is the definite goal for me, Bruce and Stephen are working out distribution as we speak, I of course wish to market all areas here.”

Hardrock Haven: Do you plan on touring?

Daniel: “Yes touring will commence immediately after the release of my solo debut “Never Ever Done” and with the completion of the first video for the first song to hit radio. In that I only hope for the best to be picked up all across the board, small venue tour to start out with until we hook up with the bastards of metal tour in summer 2004, as well what ever happens during that time, the goal being to play as many places as possible.”

John: Any last comments that you would like to make?

Daniel: “Well john, first an foremost thank you so much for making this possible, and working with us as this I feel is how we will reach our goals, so thanks again for helping us… to everyone at Hard Rock Haven, my best wishes…lets see what becomes of my solo career. I am hoping to make this solo debut album a huge success, it will be filled with talented musicians and I am sure the final selection of songs will appeal to the masses. There will be a great variety of songs that I am hoping will rejuvenate the past and stimulate the future for everyone to fall in love with. I hope it takes off with a bang like a rocket to the stars…All the best John and crew at Hardrock Haven.”

Hardrock Haven: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I look forward to hearing your new CD release, Never Ever Done, in 2004. Please keep Hard Rock Haven up to date on the goings on with you and the band.

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