Tom Cochrane’s rock and roll highway is headed straight to Chatham this week. The Canadian rock icon will be performing at the Chatham Capitol Theatre on Wednesday night (March 14). The Chatham stop is part of a large Ontario tour that will bring the singer across the province as far as North Bay for almost a month.
While this isn’t Cochrane’s first ever visit to Chatham, the singer says it’s been a long time since he’s been to the city on the Thames.
“I always felt that it was important to me as an artist, and Red Rider as well, to get into a lot of the secondary markets and not necessarily to just play the big centers of the big cities,” he told YQG Rocks in a phone interview as he was preparing the tour. “We’re covering a lot of those secondary cities as best we can – getting to Chatham, St. Catharines and Sarnia, a lot of places like that. I just love it. It’s the life blood of me as a Canadian and it’s going to be such a pleasure to get down there.”
Cochrane is an Officer of the Order of Canada recipient, a Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee and has won eight JUNO awards and numerous other industry honours, including the 2013 Allan Waters Humanitarian Award and a GRAMMY nomination. Throughout the years he’s performed solo and with his band Red Rider. The current tour has him reunited with his bandmates from Red Rider.
He recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of his monster album Mad Mad World, which was released to world-wide acclaim in 1991. It was his biggest album and spawned six hit singles, including the massive hit Life Is A Highway, which reached top 10 in US and number one in Canada.
“Life Is A Highway became a pep-talk to millions of people, and I’m very proud of that,” Cochrane reveals. “I guess there’s a message in the song that you can’t change the world all on your own – all you can do is your small part and keep your eye on the road ahead of you. We learn about things from experiences and we need to keep moving forward. If you keep looking right or left instead of at what’s ahead, you’re going to drive off the road and you’re eventually going to crash.”
Big League, another iconic rock song Cochrane wrote, will be turning 30 this year. The 1988 hit was the first single from the album Victory Day. The hockey-themed song is almost a national anthem for Canadian hockey fans and tells a tragic tale of a high-spirited hockey prospect who passed away in a high-speed auto accident. The song speaks of our national passion for the game and of our sense of community.
“I know it’s a song about a boy and his dad, but the greater picture could be about a boy and his mom or a mom and her daughter, because a lot of girls are now playing hockey,” he says of the song. “I know it was my mom that use to drive me to most of my hockey games when I was growing up. The bigger picture is how it pulls all our communities together – and that’s one of the things that makes us Canadian.”
Cochrane himself is a big Toronto Maple Leafs fan (we can forgive him for that because everyone has a cross to bear) and even after 30 years of celebrating his own Victory Day, he’s is patiently waiting for his team’s victory day.
“I have a lot of friends in London and Windsor in particular and they’re die-hard Red Wings fans,” Cochrane jokes. “It seems like you get past that London point and they just don’t cheer for the Leafs anymore.”
With 40 years of experience headed towards Chatham, Wednesday’s show should be one for the books. Tickets are on sale online or at the box office – prices start at $59.