My Story

This Was

 Gather around ye inquisitive minds as I impart a tale of yore.

I am of Irish descent and was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. After being raised in Catholic orphanages by nuns that I apparently was very fussy with and greatly disliked (though I was too young to remember that), I was adopted at almost 4 with clubbed feet into a stern upper-middle-class Irish Catholic family with four other adopted siblings. My new parents could easily afford to pay for the decade-long reconstruction of my feet. My Dad was a Civil Engineer who owned an oil & gas pipeline and oil rig surveying company (still in operation today) with 12 branches throughout several provinces in western Canada. Pressures of the business always put Dad in a bad mood and Mom on eggshells.

During months-long hospital surgery recoveries for years at the Calgary Children's Hospital, I rarely had any visitors and subsequently developed a petrifying fear of abandonment. Parents of other children in the hospital began noticing and bringing me little gifts when they visited their children. I felt embarrassed and uncomfortable receiving these offerings. It felt like tokenism to me. To this day, I have trouble accepting presents.

My parents were impatient, rigid and harsh disciplinarians, and I kept acting out. So, I didn't foster a close relationship with my brother and sisters. Siblings and relatives noted I was never around. My childhood and teen years revolved around orphanages, hospital residencies and boarding schools. Until I was 11, most childhood pictures showed me in a leg cast. Other students and kids always made fun of me, and I found social situations stressful and difficult. I had trouble fitting in, wore weird, clunky, heavy, and big orthopedic moon shoes, walked funny, and didn't have a lot of friends while growing up. Nobody would dare be seen near me — many humbling moments. I didn't feel confident enough to make friends easily. Indeed, I had my share of school brawls to defend myself. I was always viewed as an "acquired taste" by acquaintances and relatives. Everyone in my family agreed that things were much quieter and more peaceful when I wasn't around.

As a rebellious, loud, obnoxious, and unruly teen, my parents sent me off to two out-of-province private boys hockey boarding schools (not being particularly sports-inclined) run by Franciscan and Salesian monks to complete my high school education far away from them. I didn't get the feeling I was their favourite child. They would always take family trips out of the country when I was in the hospital or at the boarding schools. Vacations, they said, were much more enjoyable without me. I learned about these surreptitious family holidays when someone eventually slipped up.

Growing up, I was always oppositional towards authority figures (parents, priests, nuns, landlords, employers, supervisors, educators, creditors, well, you get the picture) and eliminated them from my life whenever possible.

After a very medically challenged, isolated and very misunderstood childhood and constantly hounding my parents daily for months, I got my first set of drums at 13, which my podiatrist approved. I formed a band with a few school friends and practiced in my family's detached cement garage. We also backed up a large singing group. Over the years, we played for many dances, weddings, special events, television programming music, radio station recordings, fashion shows, and whatever occasions popped up. At the time, my parents forced me to study piano, which I didn't like; now, a blessing in disguise. I studied piano and jazz drumming through the Toronto Conservatory of Music in Calgary for several years and self-taught on the flute. Bombarded and submersed in music theory, it became apparent that this would be a critical ingredient to composing and playing music.

Fortunately, studying music and performing in bands at the boarding schools became my refuge, gave me solace and a purpose, improved my self-image, made me feel more confident, and provided a sense of finally belonging somewhere with musical friends. At one of the boarding schools, the principal assigned me to my private music room, the only one with a piano, which instantly made my studio the place on the floor to come and jam. My music room was one of 12 on the school's top floor, where I hid away, studied, and practiced piano, drums and music theory for a couple of years. Ultimately, I could proficiently read and play piano and drum music. I jammed and performed in school events and music competitions with other like-minded, eager and aspiring musicians. In some ways, studying music at the boarding schools was another hidden blessing. I've always strived to create positive outcomes in the face of adversity. Ah yes, the principal still frequently called my parents to complain about my insurgent and disruptive behaviour, and Mom wrote me scolding letters. Still, I was never expelled, to my parents' relief. Music provided me with motivational challenges, restored my self-worth, and became a reliable lifeline, even to this day. Writing music is where I can express my feelings and bury my sadness. It's an escape, for sure. Music has become a big, warm security blanket I can hide under or wrap around when necessary. Music self-therapy; it's how I cope.

But most importantly, I view my music as a legacy I can leave behind on this earth. My biggest dream and aspiration was to leave behind something creative, engaging, entertaining, compelling, impactful, memorable, and immortal that would outlive me and live on forever.

I no longer harbour disparaging feelings, malice or resentment towards my parents and appreciate all their sacrifices for me. We were never very close, but they were my best advocates. I now see the reasons for the spiralling cycle and abyss we created and fell into.

I formed and played in several bands and musical troupes throughout my twenties and thirties. My live drumming performance experience also became a crucial learning component for creating realistic-sounding music today.

In my early twenties, I received Radio & Television Broadcasting and Journalism Arts diplomas at SAIT.

Through my twenties and thirties, I was a single parent. I worked in Calgary at a wholesale A&M Records distributor as a record promoter and then for several years as a live-broadcast engineer at CBC Radio, where I learned the art of sound production, editing, mixing, and collaborating with arrogant celebrities, ego-maniacs, narcissists, and difficult people. Working within a Union or for an employer wasn't for me, so I launched into self-employment as a freelance sound engineer, providing sound engineering services to local radio and television stations and production studios. At that time, I also started and managed two retail record stores, one still in business, for several years. Owning a collection of over 10,000 record albums and a few thousand CDs in most musical genres as an audiophile and being submerged for decades listening to all types of music (except rap, hip hop, reggae, goth, and heavy metal), including engineering sound productions at CBC Radio and performing live music, I knew how a good production and mix should sound.

In 1985, I started Wordscapes® Productions and worked part-time at a Web printing shop for a couple of years as a 4-colour stripper of print film to keep Wordscapes® afloat in its early years. I then spent the last 40 years as a self-employed copywriter. Wordscapes® has since branched out into music production, where we are today.

I always hated the Catholic doctrine (and still do) and attending church as a child. But, to some degree, I was always in awe of the choirs during high mass. Some of the choral aspects of my music have been marinated and permeated into the VaporLoQ sound. My arpeggiated piano and progressive jazz-inspired drumming styles emerge in the VaporLoQ productions.

Some of my musical influences include the early Rolling Stones (with Brian Jones and Mick Taylor), The Kinks, The Beatles, Eels, Kate Bush, Pink Floyd, The Cars, early Jethro Tull (with the group's earlier drummers Clive Bunker and Barriemore Barlow), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Tom Petty solo, The Bonzo Dog Band, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, The Pogues, Sparks, Talking Heads, The Byrds, Tangerine Dream, Led Zeppelin, Transiberian Orchestra, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Bebop Deluxe, City Boy, The Rutles, Bryan Ferry, Roxy Music, XTC, NRBQ, Green Day, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, The Doors, John Prine, Willie Nile, Leo Kottke, Dave Edmunds, They Might Be Giants, The Guess Who, Status Quo, to name a few. (Editor: Is this list growing?!) (Me: ...What?)

My drummer influences are Clive Bunker (Jethro Tull), Barriemore Barlow (Jethro Tull), John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), BJ Wilson (Procol Harum), Bill Bruford (Yes/King Crimson), Garry Peterson (The Guess Who), John Densmore (The Doors), and Neil Peart (Rush.)

My other interests include photography and flying my drones.

So there you have it - This Was. 

David Turner, VaporLoQ