If you grew up listening to radio then you know the name Bro Jake. My dad was a huge classic rock junkie so the radio in the bathroom was always tuned into Classic Rock 101. When I would get ready for school in the morning I would listen to Zeppelin jams, classic Beatles tunes, and of course “The Champ.” I remember repeating my favourite Champ jokes to my friends and we’d lose it whenever I got to the “I says pardon?” part. I think my impression was pretty spot on.
Needless to say, Bro Jake was a huge part of mine and I’m sure many other Vancouverites’ lives. After seventeen years with Rock 101, he’s now moving onto a new era: as the new morning man for TEAM 1040 alongside Dave Pratt. Having met some of the biggest names in music and film, Bro Jake is full of fascinating stories which have kept me enamoured time and time again. Getting to know him over the past few years, he’s seriously super cool. Did you know he used to race motorcycles?! I had the pleasure of speaking with the radio legend and discussing his time in Vancouver, that time he jammed with Jeff Bridges, and his take on the upcoming season for the Canucks.
Throughout your career you’ve lived in almost every major city in Canada and Vancouver for the past 17 years. How does Vancouver compare to the rest of Canada?
There’s a lovely side to the Atlantic but when you arrive in Vancouver, the winters are beautiful here. I’m a skier and I like to golf and fish in the summer, drive around with the top down, and I even enjoy the rain.
What’s your favourite neighbourhood in Vancouver?
I’m a downtown boy right now. I’ve been downtown here with my wife, Lori for five years. We get to look at Stanley Park in front of our window everyday. Every place I’ve ever lived in at the time – when you live in the moment – becomes your favourite place and right now this is my favourite place.
What has been a highlight of your career in radio?
Winning the National Broadcaster of the Year here in Vancouver in 2000.
Word on the street is you and Jeff Bridges are buddies. Is it true you guys had a jam session?
Yup, right here where you’re doing this interview. I met him through Frenchie at Joe Fortes and he said, “Jeff is shooting a film here and I want you to meet him.” So we would meet at the restaurant and one day we took a boat ride together, and we went out to Indian Arm to Wigwam Inn and spent the whole day there and came back. It was amazing.
This was just before Crazy Heart and he kept telling us about the music him and T-Bone Burnett put together. We were listening to music all day on the boat and I finally asked “Who is this playing?” and he said “That’s me!” And I went “Holy Christ, that’s really good stuff!” So we ended up here in the condo with the guitars and playing the whole night. It was surreal.
Speaking of jam sessions, I heard you once had Burton Cummings at your place?
Well we were in the basement of our house in Winnipeg and we were with the comedy duo Maclean and Maclean, and they brought Burton Cummings over. We were watching movies and film of him and Ringo Starr and all the members that were a part of the All-Starr Band that were touring and he was a part of that.
So Burton kept showing us film he took of Joe Walsh and other guys. I remember seeing this film and we were sampling some very high octane beer at the time, and Burton started singing Zeppelin tunes at 3 or 4 in the morning. My son Zack, who was about 5 or 6 years old, came down and said “Would you tell that man to shut up and stop singing so loud! I can’t sleep!” It was so damn funny.
So I’m really interested in some of the behind the scenes experiences you must have had interviewing rock stars and celebrities. What kind of inside scoop can you give us on some notable names?
Hmmm…inside scoop. Well those inside scoop stories are kind of protected.
How about who has been your favourite person to interview?
Robert Plant. He’s really funny and not what you would expect. He is so funny. He just gets it. I think we’ll probably see Led Zeppelin together again. If that’s an inside scoop, I think that’s going to happen.
You’re moving onto sports talk radio on the new morning show on TEAM 1040 with Dave Pratt. What kind of a role does sports play in your life?
I’m a guy that grew up with sports. I played baseball, hockey, tennis, basketball. Now I get to be a part of something really big by being a morning guy on sports radio and entertainment. Not just stats. And of course there are going to be stats, there have to be, but just sitting behind a microphone and interviewing Tortorella is going to be a big thrill for me and to bring a different side of him that maybe another interviewer can’t. I think I’ll bring a softer side out and get him to reveal things perhaps he wouldn’t reveal otherwise.
Others will be asking him about offence and defence, what types of games is he going to play… are the Sedins actually going to block pucks, you know? I mean those questions have been asked hundreds of times so it’s about being able to ask the different questions.
I caught your interview with CTV Morning and you mentioned you have Michael Buble and Tragically HIp lined up to be on the show. What kind of a role will entertainment play in yours and Pratt’s sports show?
Well with actors, musicians, entertainers, there’s always a sports story. Look at The Tragically Hip. They love the Toronto Maple Leafs and they play hockey, they’re from Kingston, and 50 Mission Cap is a song about Bill Barilko who scored the overtime winner in ’51 winning the cup for the Leafs.
Michael Buble is part owner of the Giants, and he’s a big Giants and Canucks fan. The new control room we’ll be moving into in the CTV building is completely worked out that we can plug guitars right into the wall, so we’re going to have some live music and that’s something that’s never been done on that station.
Who is your favourite Vancouver sports team?
Well of course I’m a Canucks fan. I go to a lot of Giants games and Whitecaps games. There’s way too much to choose from. They’re ALL my favourite team.
Who is your favourite Vancouver athlete?
Trevor Linden. Number 16. He’s a good friend and he’s a skier. This guy is full force and he wasn’t really allowed to do that when playing hockey. Now he’ll go and camp out and go into the back country. He’s such an athlete and such a great guy and ambassador to the city. I mean his jersey is hanging in Rogers Arena, that’s how much this city loves him.
What do you think the Canucks need this year to have post-season success?
Goaltending is really big. They’ll have to figure out the Luongo issue and see where his head is at. I think and hope he’ll be playing his way into the Olympics for Sochi. He’s going to play exceptionally well.
Tortorella is a big advantage for us right now because I think we really needed a change in the coaching department. People tend to get a little bit lazy unless they’re tested and I think he will challenge the players. I was one of the first to interview the twins when they landed here at eighteen years old. I remember how innocent they were and how poor their English skills were. It’s been so interesting to watch them grow up.
You can catch the new Bro Jake Show with co-host Dave Pratt on TEAM 1040 from 6-10am starting Monday, September 9th.