Wilde said people shouldn't be judged on whether they are bad or good but whether they are charming or tedious. The CBC nickname for peter was Saint peter and peter was no saint.
I met Peter when he was doing his TV Show. I guess it put him under a lot of pressure. He would come to my bar a couple of times a week to unwind. We spent many a night just the 2 of us in my backroom playing pinball for 20 bucks a game. We talked about a lot of things. One morning for some reason we were both chasing the same lady and neither one of us would give in. We ended up back at his place, with the lady making breakfast or At eight o clock in the morning we were sitting at his kitchen table on Yorkville Ave. with a bottle of wine on the go. We were very very drunk.
Out of the blue he stops and says. "Want to know what is the most important thing I ever did in my life?" Of course I said "Sure." he proceeded to tell me about a hockey game he had played. Something about beating a really tough team from another town. I don't remember how old he was when he played this game or anything. I just thought of all the things he had accomplished and that is what he thought of. It was not long after this that Peter wrote "The Game Of Our Lives."
Peter sometimes brought some of guests to my place. through his show I met Jack Webster, Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Waites to name a few.
a lot of Peter's staff were regulars at the bar. And many the day I had to send a taxi to CBC with the master script of the next nights show that somebody left behind. I did many favours for Peter like lend him a room for card games with Michael MacClear, Bobby Miller etc.
Both Peter and I liked to play the horses and I met him at the track more than a few times. Once I met him after the first race and was surprised that he left. He left his pile of tickets behind and he had lost over 500 dollars on the first race.
Gary Maclean introduced me to Burton. He brought him to my Bar.So I buy him a drink and then I had to kick him out because he attacked Peter Czowski. So he comes back apologizes , I buy him a drink and he goes back and attacks Peter again (more verbal then physical but never the less threating and Peter is like my best customer.(not just drinking but i took hundreds off of him playing pinball)
Burton did this twice more until I wouldn't let him back in. Over the course of the next couple of years he apologized and we became friends.
After The TV show I didn't see him for some years.
Then I ran into him on the Esplanade one day.
"Peter " I said where the hell have you been."
"sorry, man he said but you just remind me of a very bad time in my life."
Hi I am Gary LeDrew
And I am writing a book
I was lucky enough to be in the middle of most things in sixties and seventies and got to hang out with some of the greats and near greats and characters of that time.
I was involved in the Art scene and was friends and hung out with Jack Bush, Harold Town, Gord Rayner Robert markle, Mickey Handy, Gerry Gladstone, Gershon Iskowitz etc. etc. and I have stories about all of them.
I was in the music biz and managed a few bands like Kid Bastien and hung out with most of them. I was a close friend of Murray McLachlan for years, and hung out with Mike McDonald, Danny Marks, Praire Oyster, Irish Rebels, Downchilds, Ian Tyson, Tom Cochrane, Burton Cummins etc. etc. of course I was the Lobsterman and sang with McLean and Mclean. I hung out with Cannonball and Nat Adderly whenever they came to town.
I was Toronto's leading bootlegger for 5 years everybody came to my afterhours club from the Rolling Stones to the premier of New Brunswick. And Joanie Mitchell sang there.
I won an Actress in a poker game, Helen shaver cooked me supper and I went out with a bunch of models and actresses.
Lesley McDonnell introduced me to Leonard Cohen , Rod Steward and Paul Shaffer for a few. I hung out with Leonard for a while. I survived a night hanging out with Hunter S. Thompson (sitting with tom Waites)I basically had backstage passes to Maple Leaf Gardens and Massey hall whenever i wanted and Bonnie Rait kicked me out of her dressing room.
In the Movie biz I was friends with Mike Ironside for years and Winston Reckert, Catherine O'Hara, Michael Sarrazin,I have lain on Elizabeth Ashely's belly while she shoved coke up my nose. I showed Johnny Hart and Jack Caprio a good time. I took Howard Duff to Lunch everyday for a six weeks and was on his xmas card list until he died. I drank with Richard Burton at least a couple of times a week for 3 months and he told me everything.
I lived on a lighthouse as a kid and took off sailing in the caribbean for 15 months. I took and sold all manners of drugs and in the seventies I was The guy to know in Toronto.
I was one of the few white guys go to the Elephant walk club. If there is one thing I hope to dispel is Toronto as a dull place.
To business I am getting old and not in great health, I am living on a basic pension and I have to Hustle with my art and web sites most of the month to get by. I am afraid I might die before I get all these stories down
My friend Richard Flohil is also raising money to write his book so far over ten thousand and well deserved Richard was instrumental to the folk and blues and jazz scenes in Toronto and tells a good story too. In my own way I was too, I helped a lot of people along the way and I never really cared about money , you wouldn't believe the people that never paid their bar tabs for starters. i just might be a little more fearless in my admissions. For I am not ashamed of anything I did there is lots I wish I had never done.