Archive for March 18th, 2009


Almost Famous: Amanda Marshall

March 18, 2009

She’s a Canadian “pop star” of the late 90s and early 2000s with an incredible voice and real star power. Unfortunately, I had a professional relationship with her, and it didn’t go well.

It started in 1995 or so, when she was opening for Tom Cochrane on a tour of Canada. Her publicist called me to arrange an interview; I did so, and was kind of blown away by how this young, untried singer was acting like a megastar. “Wow, she’s confident,” I remember thinking. Later, I realized it wasn’t confidence; she really did think she was a superstar, and she was treating me like I was lucky to be able to speak to her. This attitude has never impressed me, especially among young musicians who haven’t paid their dues. To put things in contrast, I also interviewed Tom for that show — he’s an actual Canadian rock legend — and he was genuine, down-to-earth and the real deal.

A year or two later, she had a hit record, and she headlined her own tour. This time, the publicist didn’t call, so I did, and was told “Amanda does not feel it necessary to do interviews at this time.” Okay. That makes sense. You’re just starting out, you want butts in seats, so you … don’t do press. The only other person who had ever refused an interview with me, at that point, was Bob Dylan, and Dylan can damned well do that if he wants, in my book.

So super-photographer Sammy and I went to the show. We were told we could shoot with flash for the first three songs, then without for three more. This is pretty standard at concerts; flash is necessary for good photos in low light, but it can really distract the performers. Problem, though: Amanda, for whatever reason, thought there would be no flash photography. When the flashes went off, she got mad.

Sammy caught this sweet picture of Amanda Marshall berating him from the stage. It has held a place of honour in my home ever since.

If you’re not Canadian and have never heard of Amanda Marshall, I understand. If you are Canadian and haven’t heard of her, I also understand. Amanda Marshall has been silent and absent for years. She even has her photo on a milk carton, sort of.

The moral of this story is: Don’t mess with Sammy.