Vocals: Gary (Gaz) Sidwell
Rhythm Guitar & Vocals: Mitch Sidwell
Lead Guitar & Vocals: Joe Frey
Drums: Wayne Johnson
Bass: Grant Bucosky
Ottawa's Bureaucrats were formed in the summer 1978.
During that time, there was very little happening on the Canadian music scene. Bands that wrote and performed their own material couldn't get gigs in local clubs. Club owners systematically selected “cover” bands to fulfill their club's musical needs.
Record companies didn't believe original Canadian bands had anything to offer. In fact, they'd rarely venture outside New York to check out new talent.
Eventually, Toronto was seen as a stepping stone to NYC, but even that didn't occur until well into the 80's. But Ottawa...? The city is still seen as a bit of a cultural joke to this day (at least to me, anyway).
But the Bureaucrats helped changed things in the Canadian capital's club scene. Their growing appeal ultimately led to almost all clubs opening their doors to the band, and eventually to the just then emerging “new music scene”.
Over the course of those early years, the Bureaucrats had been busy writing and recording original songs. In total, the band had written about 20-30 songs.
But unfortunately, only half of those numbers got recorded.
They released a number of singles, in 1978/79, along with a 12' EP in 1980. The singles veered from snotty, fuzz-driven punk rock to slightly more polished power pop to neo-reggae. Their 12" EP expands on the power pop sound.
In 1999, Drummer Wayne Johnson and Rhythm Guitarist Mitch Sidwell released a compilation CD titled “roi” (sic). It's pronounced “Roy”, not “Rwa”, like a French king). It stands for “Return On Investment”.
Interesting Sidenote: The Brothers Sidwell (Gaz & Mitch) hailed from Leicester, UK (hence the accent). Their family emigrated to Canada during the British “Nanny Boom” in Ottawa.
Interesting Sidenote 2: Everyone in the Sidwell family (including sister and parents) have entirely different accents.
What are they doing now? Well, Joe is a Chef, Mitch is a Draftsman (or “Draughtsman” for you Brits), Grant is a General Contractor, and Gaz is a Printer on disability.
And Wayne? Oh, he's now Chief of Operations for the International Trade Division of Statistics Canada. So yes, he is a bureaucrat.
Click on the album cover below to download The Bureaucrats' singles, as well as their 12" EP.