The Juno Awards


“How do you feel about winning the best group Juno?” I was asked.

“It’s fucking wonderful” I responded.

” ‘It’s wonderful’ said Trooper singer Ra McGuire at last night’s Juno Award ceremonies …” reported the Toronto newspaper headline the next day.

It has always annoyed me that I wasn’t quoted correctly. There is, of course, a HUGE difference between “fucking wonderful” and just “wonderful”.

The 2009 Junos took place in Vancouver tonight. I didn’t attend this year. Trooper has received seven Juno nominations - and won the “Best Group” award - but we’ve only attended twice. Once, in 1978, when we were nominated for “Most Promising Group of the Year” and in 1980 when we were up for both “Best Group” and “Album of the Year”.

We flew to Toronto for our first Junos when we were nominated for “Most Promising Group of the Year”. We arrived proudly in the Royal York ballroom which was decorated with large blown-up album covers of all the nominated artists, and saw that ours was the only cover that was, humiliatingly, conspicuous in its absence. The evening deteriorated further when the “Most Promising” award was presented to “The THP Orchestra”.

In 1978, we were one of five bands nominated for “Group of the Year”, but chose not to attend. Rush won that year. In 1979 we were nominated again for “Group of the Year” and we chose, again, to not attend. Rush won it again. In 1980, now simply following a comfortable tradition, we once again turned down the Juno organizer’s invitation to fly to the Toronto ceremonies. At first they tried to shame us into coming, which didn’t work. Finally, they broke down and told us that we were going to win at least one award. So we embarked on what was to become a great Trooper adventure that ended with, among other things, members of the band rolling, drunk and in white suits, in a Toronto hotel driveway with Burton Cummings. My personal most embarrassing Juno moment came that year when a young Vancouver friend shouted across a room filled with Canadian music-biz royalty.

“Ra McGuire!!” he shouted when he spotted me. “You’re BIG!!”

It’s funny that I still remember that. We’ve never returned to the Junos and, because the whole idea of them still makes me uncomfortably squirmy, I’ve only managed to watch them on TV two or three times in the intervening years. There have been a couple of occasions, however, when I would have enjoyed shouting back at Bryan Adams, who’s gone on to do quite well for himself.

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