Anyone over the age of 30 should recognize the name Terry David Mulligan as a radio personality somewhere in the country. He’s been around the block in such places as Toronto, Regina, Red Deer and Vancouver; and most currently on CKUA in Alberta as the host of his long-running program Mulligan’s Stew. If that doesn’t ring a bell, then maybe you’ll remember his friendly face as the host (or VJ) of the national television programs Good Rockin’ Tonite and MuchWest. Either way, Terry has been the one guiding our musical interests since the 60s through his celebrity interviews and love of rock and roll, whether we realized it or not.
In his biography Mulligan’s Stew – My Life So Far, Terry takes us down memory lane during the dawn of a new and exciting musical form called rock and roll. His original calling as a Mountie in Red Deer was for naught as his ears and soul were drawn to the glamour and quick fame of radio and the new music that he wanted to share with his family, friends and listeners.
I think everyone who has seen him has had a Mulligan Moment – one of those unforgettable moments when an interview captured our attention and stayed with us through the years. My Mulligan Moment came when Terry was hosting Good Rockin' Tonite in the 80s and his guest for the show was KISS leader Paul Stanley, who offered his sunglasses to a viewer during the interview. I never did get the glasses, but it was a moment this young KISS fan remembers well.
Mulligan’s Stew is a well written and compelling read that sheds some insight not only on Terry’s life, but also early glimpses of Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Bryan Adams and The Guess Who. The chatty writing style gives the book a bit of a personal feel and at times can feel like you’re there having a coffee hearing all these great brushes with the famous.
One of the highlights of the book happens in Vancouver in the late 60s at the height of the Summer of Love, which includes endless music festivals highlighted by an interview with Jimi Hendrix and shopping on Davie Street with Jim Morrison, who was looking for early Hemingway books and Beatle boots. Vancouver would never been the same, especially once Hendrix, Morrison and Joplin passed away within months of each other.
It’s also a good account of some of Canada’s early FM radio moments as stations learned to develop their own style in a new and quickly evolving medium. And like any good DJ in Canada, he’s seen it all and hit the airwaves across the country on several stations during his career.
Mulligan’s Stew is a must have for Canadian music fans. The accounts of early Guess Who and Bryan Adams are worth the cover price alone – especially the Guess Who’s failed attempt at a 1967 tour beginning in London.
Not as personal and in depth as other biographies, Terry mostly skips discussing his early personal life, and instead jumps right into the Mountie years and the music. There are some personal and intimate moments scattered throughout, but this book is mostly about the public side of the DJ, VJ and actor that has been a part of our lives for about 50 years.