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Tom Wilson (photo by Mark Maryanovich)

A Conversation with Tom Wilson (continued)

PM: So it sounds like you're in a very good relationship with Canadian comedian Cathy Jones. Is that still happening?

TW: Oh, yeah. She's on her way here right now.

PM: Tell us about her, would you, before she gets there?

TW: Oh, she's flying in from Halifax.

PM: Oh, okay.

TW: She's a bit of a Canadian icon, a bit of a Canadian legend. I mean, I think that even more than music and songwriters, Canada is really known for its comedians.

PM: Really?

TW: Yeah. I mean, there are so many comedians in the mainstream of American culture, and so many comedians worldwide that just--

PM: Oh, yeah, that's right. SCTV, of course, yeah.

TW: Well, she was in The Kids in the Hall era. She came out of a thing called CODCO, which was out of Newfoundland. This was a theater troupe that kind of took chances. There's a big deal in Canada about Newfie jokes--you know, Newfoundland.

PM: Oh, really?

TW: Yeah. It was almost like--in the '70s, I remember, you went to the States and it was always "Polak" jokes, all these jokes about Polish people.

PM: Right.

TW: Well, the same thing was going on in Canada, only with Newfoundlanders. We didn't pick on a certain race. We just picked on an area of the country.


TW: And they had had enough of it, so they came to Toronto as like young sixteen, seventeen, to twenty year-olds, and made some noise. She kind of just started traveling on the road when she was a kid and became a Canadian TV star. And she's a standup comic.

PM: I saw a clip of her Laughing Matters. She's really funny. Her co-write with you, "Keep on Grinning," is one of my favorites.

TW: She's also written some stuff for the new Blackie and the Rodeo Kings record.

PM: Really?

TW: And she also was a co-writer on "Because of You." And the whole thing with her is she's a Newfoundlander. Now, these people come out of the womb with like a fiddle or a guitar in their hand. It's almost like probably what the tradition of Appalachian Mountain, or whatever area--

PM: Kentucky, right.

TW: Kentucky, yeah, where people are just naturally--music is part of their life. And it's still, to this day, even with TVs and internets and all the information that is flying around the world so quickly right now, you still go to Newfoundland, and every sonofabitch there can play guitar and sing.


TW: It's almost embarrassing. It's like they can sit down and--they should be on world stages, every one of them. So the fact that it's remote--and it's an island. I don't know if you know where Newfoundland is.

PM: I do, somewhat. But I wasn't sure that it was an island.

TW: Well, in relationship to North America, it's a third of the way to Europe. It's sitting out there. And when I say an island, it's big. It's like a land mass. But it's that much further off the east coast of Canada and the United States, that it's like almost a quarter or a third of the way into the Atlantic. And it's freezing cold. And it's poor. And everybody knows each other. And they're open-hearted--the most open-hearted, beautiful people that I've ever met since maybe Texans.

PM: There must be some amazing festivals out there.

TW: There are, although there's not enough population and not enough money, really, to support that kind of thing. Just a second. I got to talk to my daughter.

PM: Yeah.

TW: [to his daughter] Hey, I'm just doing an interview. What are you doing?

[They have a short conversation. And while they do, let's look at some maps. We'll start with Newfoundland...]Newfoundland and Labrador (maps and info)
map of Canada & the U.S.
map of hamilton

[And now we return to Tom, saying so long to his daughter...]

TW: Okay, go do your thing. [to Frank again] All right, she's going to work.

PM: How old is she?

TW: She's nineteen. And I have a son who's thirteen.

PM: Wow.

TW: And they're both fantastic.

PM: They both live with you?

TW: No.

PM: Close?

TW: That one is kind of living with her boyfriend. But my ex-wife and I live about a block away from each other. And her and her husband--the kids just go between the houses. It's a pretty great situation, I think.

PM: Amazing.    continue

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