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Bruce Bishop still has the first drum kit he bought.
The 1964 Ludwig kit sits among a collection of drums the 73-year-old amassed in his 60 years playing percussion.
The collection takes up plenty of space in the basement of his Grand Falls-Windsor home. Along with the regular and electronic kits he has set up for use, there is a stack of drums in an extra bedroom and another dozen or so next to the bar.
There are also pianos, bongos and a vast array of music on various mediums all in their proper place and order.
Holding up the snare drum from his original Ludwig kit, he points to its polished silver. He remarks the drum still sounds like it did on the day it was purchased.
“I am a bit of a collector,” said Bishop with a laugh.
His love for music led him to write a book about the musical history of the central Newfoundland region.
Entitled ‘From Where I Sit; The Best Seat in the House,’ the book stretches from 1905 to 2018 and presents an audio time warp of musicians and music styles. It was released in November 2019.
“Over the years, I always thought the history of music in central (Newfoundland) should be record(ed) for heritage ... because it has a big heritage of musicians and music,” said Bishop. “I just thought we never had anything record(ed) for heritage with the bands and what the music was like.
“There are pieces scattered everywhere, some forgotten, and I just thought to piece it together.”
Across its 241 pages, Bishops explores the arrival of swing music, local bands like The Tradesmen, Blue Denim and Nite Life, as well as venues like Lewisporte’s Junction Club or The Atlantic Hotel in Botwood.
Readers will find stories on the likes of Barry Canning, Corey Tetford and the Wiseman brothers.
In between those stories about bands, genres and venues, Bishop weaves in pieces of his own musical history.
“It was interesting to see where it had involved ... and it is changing now,” said Bishop. “The big years were the 60s and 70s when everybody was picking up a guitar.”
"From Where I Sit" was never intended to be a book.
Instead, it was supposed to be nothing more than a document of places and names with historical significance to the region’s musical history.
As Bishop started collecting the information he needed, his original idea expanded into a written tome of historical record.
It was 18 months before the book came out late last year.
“It is not something I ever thought I would be doing,” he said of writing a book.
Bishop isn’t finished with exploring the musical history in the central part of the province.
Through his research, he came across recordings and other pieces of media he hopes to turn into another historical project in the future.
“It was (a) melting pot (of music) for a small population,” said Bishop.