In Memory of Dave "Bookie" Bookman Donate To MusiCounts

By Karen Bliss 5/23/19 |

(L-R) Dave

The funeral and shiva for Toronto radio host/interviewer and club booker Dave “Bookie” Bookman, are private, but those wishing to pay tribute to the champion of indie music can donate to the music education charity MusiCounts in his memory.

(Note: this story was updated on May 30 with additional information about Indie88's on-air fundraiser).

As outlined on the dedicated donation page, $30 can purchase “rhythm sticks,” $75 a ukulele, $250 a violin and $500 a flute. There is also a blank space for an amount of your choosing.

“MusiCounts’ mission is to ensure that all youth in Canada have access to the transformational power of music education in their school or community, and that's why the charity focuses on improving access to music education for youth by offering instrument grants to schools and communities,” it reads on its web site.  The charity is an arm of the Canadian Academy of Recordings Arts & Sciences (CARAS) which puts on the Juno Awards.

Bookie was a staple of the airwaves in Toronto for decades at  102.1 The Edge, and recently Indie88. He also booked Tuesday’s free Nu Music Nights at the Horseshoe.  He died May 21, at age 58.   He had been hospitalized in April after suffering an apparent aneurism.

“We’re devastated to announce the passing of our friend and colleague, Dave ‘Bookie Bookman. He left us, peacefully, at 12:45 this morning,” it states on the Indie88 web site.

It was followed by a touching remembrance from Josie Dye, one of his best friends, who does the morning show on Indie 88, and worked with Bookie for 20 years starting at The Edge.

“Everyone knows Bookie as a crusader of the independent, winning the Unsung Hero award for his spirit and drive to make Indie happen. He has started careers for major bands such as Billy Talent, but he was also known as one of Canada’s top interviewers, forming relationships with artists such as Dave Grohl and Bono,” she wrote.

“Bookie was the last true personality on air. He wasn’t hired for his charm, his looks, or his voice. He didn’t work his brand, or promote himself. He exuded knowledge, truth, opinions that mattered that had foundations in research and love for music. Bookie was never defined by a genre or a stereotype and cool was never in his vocabulary. He never lost vision of the music that unites us and even the word ‘Indie’ was too pigeon-holed for what he brought to the music scene.”

On May 29, starting at 6 a.m., Indie88 held a 12-hour marathon on-air to honour Bookie and help raise money for MusiCounts in his memory. The original goal of $10,000 — which would be matched by the station — was quickly surpassed. By 6 p.m., they had raised more than $67,000, and still climbing.

Sidewalk art outside the Horseshoe — photo credit: Karen Bliss
At a private tribute at the Horseshoe the following night, at which friends and family spoke of Bookie's impact and bands including Sloan, Blue Rodeo, Billy Talent and Broken Social Scene, performed, CARAS president and CEO Allan Reid praised Indie88, calling it "one of the most successful fundraising events MusiCounts has ever been part of. So I just want to say a huge thanks to Indie88 and the entire staff there for helping put instruments in the hands of kids, first off, and also just helping us as we — everybody in this room — goes through Bookie's loss. So thank you for that.

"Just to put this in perspective, what that actually means, that will put instruments into 13 elementary school music programs, fully funded — ukeleles, recorders, glockenspiels, everything. We haven't quite figured out how we will honour Bookie yet, but we will," he added. "I will say one thing, when those kids get those instruments, they will know the name Dave Bookman and they will remember Dave Bookman."

Last year, Bookie, was honored at the CIMA Celebration & Awards Gala in Toronto with The Unsung Hero Award, “recogniz[ing] unwavering commitment and outstanding support to the Canadian independent music industry. This award is designed to recognize any individual, group, or organization that may not necessarily be on the industry’s ‘awards radar’ but yet has made an outstanding and exceptional contribution to the independent music community in Canada.”

He concluded the night with these words: “If you’re watching live music or however you do it, just take a second to look at their [the musician’s] face and the odds are there will be a big smile on it, and all of these things converge to allow me to get up every day and go to do something I love with people I adore and doing something worthwhile.

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