It’s been a rewarding year of long overdue awards for Trooper that included famous Chemainus keyboardist Frank Ludwig during the rock band’s heyday.
Following the band’s induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in Calgary during May, another honour bestowed upon the group Sept. 28 was inclusion on Canada’s Walk of Fame with a Rock of Fame ceremony in Toronto. But that was not without controversy.
Ludwig, Doni Underhill, Tommy Stewart and Harry Kalensky (who was replaced by Underhill) were foremost among the group’s members during its chart-topping time in the mid-to-late 1970s. But only Ra McGuire and Brian Smith were invited to the Walk of Fame function, although McGuire did not attend.
“I would have liked to have networked with some people there,” conceded Ludwig.
Trooper has continued throughout the years with numerous different musicians, but never attained anywhere near the success of the early performers. The confusion for the younger generation has stemmed from more recent members of the group ultimately stealing the thunder of Ludwig and the guys who made the band famous.
“The hits came from us,” Ludwig pointed out.
“Current Trooper management told us that everything was in place and that Tommy, Doni, Harry and I would not be involved even though we had expressed interest. Tommy tells me that inductees each received a small memento of the occasion and is hoping someone will keep us in mind.”
Ludwig pointed out he received a note from Lee Aaron’s drummer and husband John Cody saying many present at the event felt it wasn’t right. Cody was the drummer in Ludwig’s post-Randy Bachman band.
“I may have been just as happy not to do the long plane trip, but it was nice to see that all original Prism members were honoured and they included members holding a nice photo of the singer Ron Tabak (RIP),” Ludwig added. “It shows that some people know how things should be done.”
He’ll be meeting up with Cody next week on Saturday, Oct. 21 at The Centre for the Performing Arts in downtown Vancouver during the F**K Cancer Concert 2. Stewart, Underhill and Ludwig will be performing some ’70s hits under the moniker Trooper Hot Shots.
“The band will also include Ray Roper and David Wills of Stonebolt,” Ludwig indicated. “It should be fun and is a significant cause.”
Ludwig, who turns 76 in December and lives in Delta, remains very active on the music scene today, making the rounds (Round Round We Go) at many locations and energizing musicians with his presence.
It took a month after the Canadian Music Hall of Fame induction before he received his individual statuette on June 16. After that, Ludwig and the statuette popped up at the Richmond Orchestra & Chorus concert, then at the Vancouver Concert Band’s outdoor concert on June 21 when Ludwig did a Trooper medley.
The exclusion from Trooper’s induction into Canada’s Walk of Fame at the Rock of Fame event at Massey Hall in Toronto was disappointing for Ludwig, but he’s focusing on his other projects. Check out his website here for all the details.
Ludwig has been staying especially busy in his studio, assembling tunes for his ‘Sparks’ album, with the opening track titled ‘Still Some Life Left in Me.’
“I’m hoping for Christmas,” he said of the planned release. “I think I’ve finally got that opening track where I want it. It’s not your regular tune.”
The process of aging but still producing quality music has become a clever recurring refrain for Ludwig that included another recent single, ‘Out To Pasture.’
Participants in the Sept. 30 Georgina Falt Memorial Music Trivia Tournament in Duncan had a chance at some rare Trooper and Ludwig collectibles. Ludwig donated a bobble head doll of himself (only 10 in existence) plus Trooper and Ludwig T-shirts, and a collection of cassettes and CDs that fetched a total of $250 for the cause – the Alzheimer Society of BC – during a live auction conducted by Cam Drew.
Chemainus residents are hoping one day Ludwig will get a chance to revisit the community – where he graduated from high school and spent many of his formative years – to come and show off his Hall of Fame statuette in person.