TAKING CARE OF LEFTOVER BUSINESS ... In Saturday's column (A friend in need, Nov. 23), I wrote about a Vancouver business associate and pal of Chad Allan who was trying to raise money for the 70-year-old Winnipeg rock icon and original Guess Who lead singer. The appeal, which reportedly was launched without Chad's knowledge, was made on a website called Youcaring, with the explanatory tag line "help Chad Allan get a comfortable retirement place to live."
The idea was supposed to be kept secret from Chad, who lives in a small Vancouver-area apartment and doesn't venture online. That hope, of course, was as delusional as the target amount: $350,000.
The campaign was put together by a friend at Regenerator Records and last week, in anticipation of the news breaking about the website's existence, the friend decided to break it to him.
Last Friday, when Chad learned of the campaign, I'm told he was appreciative. Initially, anyway.
His reported endorsement was surprising because it didn't seem to fit with a guy who turned down a relatively recent attempt by a few Winnipeg fans to have the University of Manitoba bestow an honorary music degree on him. What wasn't as surprising was what local rock history author John Einarson alerted me to Wednesday morning.
A "personal message" from Chad had been posted on the website that was soliciting contributions for him.
"Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generous outpouring of compassion and caring for my wife and I. It is humbling for me to know that I am still remembered, after all these years. My wife and I do have many needs, but there are millions of people throughout the world that have far greater needs than we do. So it's in this spirit that I respectfully decline your offers, and ask you to contribute, if you like, to charitable causes that may touch your heart. Again, thank you all so very much! God bless you and I hope that you all have a blessed Christmas and a very happy new year!"
At the time I looked Wednesday, the amount collected was posted at $1,045. It had been $695 on Friday.
I'm told the donations have been held in a PayPal account, and that it will be returned.
The end of the website campaign doesn't necessarily mean others might not help Chad and his wife in a different way. Randy Bachman and Chad Allan go back to bands that led to the creation of both the Guess Who and BTO. And in conversation with me, Bachman's Winnipeg agent, Gilles Paquin, suggested there could be a benefit concert organized under the Unison Benevolent Fund, which helps Canadian musicians in need, or maybe in some other way.
"There's probably something that should be done, and can be done," Paquin said Wednesday.
Meantime, if you want to help Chad, there's a way you can do it that I'm confident he won't object to.
He has released some early live recordings from Winnipeg's 1960s scene that are available at www.regeneratorrecords.com. Buying his music won't just help his bank account, though.
It will be good for his soul.
His wheat field soul.
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THE RAY RYBACHUK REACTION, WITH BULLETS ... In Tuesday's column (Kicking Ryabachuk when he's dead, Nov. 26), I said I couldn't find anything good to say about Ray Rybachuk, the ex-con and bully of a businessman who died Sunday while snowmobiling. What I didn't mention was how on Monday I tried to reach the only family member I could locate, an older brother in Vancouver, and left a message with his wife to call me.
I was hoping he would have something good to say about Ray, or at least something that might explain how he turned out. Jim Rybachuk didn't return my call. But others -- readers angry at what some referred to as my "insensitivity" to Rybachuk's family -- did react by email.
Most didn't clearly identify themselves. One who did, signed herself Collette Gagne, and here, in part, is what she wrote:
"Ray was by no means perfect. And probably not someone you wanted as an enemy. But as a friend. He would do anything for you. How dare you question if anyone loved him or adored him... Who are you? He has a family, children that will one day be able to read what you and your ignorant interviewees said. You should all be disgusted with yourselves. He will be missed by many.
"Rest in peace my friend, love you Ray xo..."
Oh, by the way, on Tuesday, Ray's estranged business partner, Daren Jorgenson, sent police a photo he said was taken during a search of Rybachuk's office at the Royal Albert Arms Hotel.
It was a photo of a fistful of bullets.