Chuck Wall

From Ragnarokr
Jump to: navigation, search

Chuck Wall was from Springfield, Missouri. He attended university in Kansas City and shared a warehouse space with Don Holman, Greg Sperry, Janice Spellerberg and Lisa Steele. He and Lisa Steele left Kansas City together and become Landed Immigrants in Canada in June 1968. Together with Colleen and Bruce Anderson, the Kansas City people rented a house on St. Paul Street. The house proved to be unsuitable and after Colleen and Bruce moved out the Kansas City people moved to a cheaper apartment on King Street near Parliament Street. At the end of the month Chuck Wall, Lisa Steele and their cat, Rosie, moved to Vancouver, B.C. where they hoped to find work and build a home in the country. The employment situation in British Columbia was very difficult and neither of them was able to find suitable employment. They moved back to Toronto after only a few months in Vancouver. They moved into the Yellow Ford Truck commune on McCaul Street where the remaining Kansas City folks joined them. In December the Kansas City people left the overcrowded house on McCaul Street and moved to 418 Dundas Street.

With the help of Dave Woodward and others, Chuck Wall and Lisa Steele rented a warehouse in the alley behind Baldwin Street in March 1969 for use as an art studio and community center. They hoped to recreate the arrangement they had in Kansas City. Chuck and Lisa named the building “The Slum Goddess.” Chuck and Lisa lived at the Slum Goddess to pay the monthly rent and manage it. Despite their efforts the Slum Goddess was not able to find a stable funding base and it was closed when the City ordered Chuck and Lisa to stop living in the warehouse. During this time, Greg Sperry and Chuck made their living by washing windows in the suburbs of Toronto.

Chuck organized the first of several successful Pig Roasts at Scarborough Bluffs to celebrate the May Day holiday. Chuck was in charge of the preparations. Most the food was prepared in the kitchen at 224 McCaul Street and Chuck and his helpers camped out at the Bluffs to slow roast a whole pig using Don Holman’s Kansas City barbeque sauce. The pig roast became a Baldwin Street tradition that was maintained by Chuck and others until the mid-1970s. The Baldwin Street hippie community held another big barbecue at Scarborough Bluffs in August 1969 with lots of good food, nude swimming in the lake and a great feeling of sharing in a common event. In April 1969 The Downchild Blues Band formed at 418 Dundas Street with Chuck Wall playing piano and drums. When Jimmy Wilson organized a street party on Baldwin Street in June Chuck, Ed and Sheila Street and others provided the music. Chuck (whose stage name is Cash) played piano but in the Downchild Blues Band he was the drummer. Before the band found a paying gig, what became the Downchild Blues Band performed at a house on McCaul Street in December, 1969. The name of the band came from its first gig at Grossman’s Tavern on Spadina Avenue. Donnie Walsh chose as their first song “Downchild Blues” by Sonny Boy Williamson and the band became known as Downchild Blues Band. The original band consisted of Donnie Walsh on lead guitar, his brother Rick Walsh (the Hog) on vocals, Cash Wall (drums), Jim Milne (bass guitar) and Dave Woodward (tenor saxophone).

In 1973 Chuck Wall supervised another wild May Day Pig Roast, the “Pig Gig”, in a barn near Toronto. The party featured a pig cooked over hot coals using Chuck’s now famous Kansas City barbecue sauce and bedspring spit. The Downchild Blues Band performed at the event. Most of the Baldwin village crowd attended along with people from the Open Studio, a recording artist named Mary Ellen and Kevin and Judy. (The Open Studio was a Printmaking Studio founded by Barbara Hall, Richard and Don Holman.)

Downchild’s first big hit and their big break came in 1975 with the song “Flip, Flap and Fly”. Chuck and the band frequently played at Grossman’s Tavern on Spadina Avenue and Dave Woodward and Chuck were frequent visitors to Baldwin Street. After the band made a name for themselves, they began to tour and were on the road more frequently. Chuck attended the wedding party of George Mullins and Colleen Anderson in December 1977. Chuck continued to play drums with Downchild Blues Band until 1978 as Cash Wall. In 1978 the band fell apart. When Donnie Walsh put the band back together it did not include either Chuck or Dave Woodward. Chuck subsequently worked as a printer in Toronto.

Personal tools