The Young Canadians were a three-piece made up of guitarist/singer Art Bergmann, bassist Jim Bescott, and powerhouse drummer Barry Taylor. Originally named the K-Tels, the Young Canadians were around barely two years — but they made a lasting impression on the Vancouver punk/indie music scene. They released two 12-inch EPs, one of the first cable-TV targeted music videos (“Automan”), recorded an all-time punk-rock anthem (“Hawaii”), and are credited with discovering the dormant Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret and helping transform it into a west coast punk-rock landmark.
The Young Canadians were one of the biggest names on the local scene, creating an enormous buzz over their brief career. They toured down the west coast a couple of times, toured western Canada with the Boomtown Rats, and were landing plenty of prestigious opening slots for visiting bands. Thus, it came as a big surprise when the band announced their split in December 1980. They marked their demise with a four night engagement at the Lotus Gardens Hotel. Art Bergmann left to concentrate full-time on his sideline project, Los Popularos (and followed that with a storied solo career).
Tragically, Jim Bescott died after being struck by a vehicle in a parking lot near his Kitsilano home in August 2005. Young Canadians studio recordings and live tracks were collected in 1995 on the CD No Escape (Zulu Records); since reissued by Sudden Death Records. Joyride On The Western Front, a live CD of a 1980 concert at the Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco, was released in 2001.
Les sez: Art Bergmann was Canada’s Lou Reed a volatile songwriter, groundbreaking guitarist, and kinetic live performer. He also epitomized the rock’n’roll lifestyle. A Juno-award winner for best new artist, the Berg traded the statuette for drugs. Though he had major label releases with assistance from stars including John Cale and Chris Spedding, he never got the commercial response the record companies wanted. Perhaps because they perceived him as mad, bad and dangerous to know. With the Young Canadians and as a solo artist, his legacy is the strongest and most vital music to come out of Vancouver punk.