Bob Klanac has never been short on drive and ambition. While still a high school student, he became a music critic for Lakehead University's student newspaper – The Argus. And although he later studied English and sociology at Lakehead from 1977 to 1980, music remained his true love.
It's a passion that he shares with his friend Nick Panaseiko – a legendary Canadian music promoter. Nick is the subject of Bob's new book Promo Man: Backstage Tales from the Vinyl Jungle released in November 2021.
Promo Man offers an inside look at Nick's adventures with the biggest names in the rock industry – from Blondie and The Cars to the Rolling Stones and The Who.
He got his start early by bringing bands from Canada and the United States to play in his hometown of London, Ontario. In fact, in 1965 at the age of 17, Nick arranged to have Diana Ross & The Supremes drive from Detroit, braving a fierce winter storm, to play at the London Arena.
This was an unexpected turn for Nick's life to take. His parents escaped Ukraine during the Second World War and Nick was born in a German refugee camp in 1946. It was only after several years of moving around Europe that the family was able to settle in Canada.
Nick thrived in his new homeland. By 1974 he'd been hired as a promoter by Quality Records, a company that represented all the US labels in Canada except for WEA (Warner/Elektra/Atlantic) and Sony. He moved to WEA Music in 1978.
"Before there were just sales teams, Nick created the promoter job," Bob explains. "The goal was to get attention for performers on the radio, in newspapers, and in music industry magazines like Billboard."
Nick was just the guy to do it. He was creative, friendly, and he didn't have a big ego. "I don't know anyone in the music business who doesn't like Nick," Bob says. Now retired, Nick's legacy hasn't been forgotten. In 2018 the promo man was given a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jack Richardson Music Hall of Fame.
You can purchase a copy of Promo Man at the Entershine Bookshop in Thunder Bay or on Amazon Canada by clicking here.