Wining, dining and rock star stories served up on the Music Mile

Vine and Dine evening will feature food and wine pairings with the bonus of evening host Linda Garson’s stories of working with Rickenbacker guitars and rubbing shoulders with some of rock’s biggest names.

A six-course meal, each course paired with wine, even personalized to your dietary needs — this alone would be heavenly. Vine and Dine creator Linda Garson has been running about 15 food and wine pairings monthly for nearly a dozen years in which she talks about the wines in between each course after the chefs from various restaurants talk about the food.

“It’s meant to be very funny, quite sociable, and a little educational,” Garson says.

But before her Calgary life, Garson lived in Manchester and worked with Rickenbacker guitars, thus spending time with people like George Harrison, Pete Townshend, Tom Petty, Motorhead’s Lemmy, Steppenwolf’s John Kay, and Roger McGuinn of The Byrds.

On Friday night at 1912 Inglewood, instead of talking about wine in between courses, Garson will tell stories of working with the greats in their heyday.

Q: How did you get involved with Rickenbacker?

A: During my life in England running a marketing company for 16 years, I ended up working with (them). My partner’s a photographer and because they saw his photos they asked us to do the marketing world-wide. We were artist liaison for Europe. It wasn’t lucrative, but it was probably the most fun.

Q: How did this event come about?

A: I was chatting to 1912 and they wanted me to do some events with them. I said, “You’re on the Music Mile, so why don’t we do a Vine and Dine, but tell a story from the music world and play music?” It’ll be a lovely evening and I won’t tell anything libelous although I could. There’re lots of funny stories. I mean, Lemmy was a good friend, he was only about 50 miles down the road, so there’s a lot with Lemmy.

People will laugh about those stories because people will know who everyone is; these musicians are world famous. It’s a meal, wine and some funny stories, and anyone who’s got their own funny stories is welcome to chip in.

Q: What made you leave Manchester and settle in Calgary in 2003?

A: Because Alberta’s the only privatized province for alcohol, the British government brought me out and asked me to do what I was doing in England for them for 13 months, which was helping people export from country to country. I was all over the world. Mostly it was food and beverage, but it was electric guitars, too, and a few other things. I came out and this city was so vibrant and amazing and I thought, “I just have to stay here.”

Q: What is a story that stands out for you?

A: We gave Lemmy a guitar. I’ll be telling this story Friday night in more detail. We drove down to London on the day of a tube strike, which is not great when you’re driving from Manchester and everybody in London has to have a car because of the tube strike, but we were going down to take him a guitar and he wasn’t quite ready for us.

He asked us to stand in the room while they rehearsed, a room the size of most people’s dining room with floor to ceiling Marshall amps, and they struck the first chord of Ace of Spades. You’re just blown against the wall and thinking you’re having a heart attack. After, we gave him a guitar and he cried. The hard man of rock cried.

“What are you crying for, Lemmy?” He said, “Nobody’s ever given me anything in my life.” He’d give things to other people. He said, “I’ve worked and bought every single thing I’ve ever owned in my life. I’m not the person people give things to.”

We got the 4001 made for him and the fret markers had little aces of spades instead of just round fret markers.

Q: Who was “the one that got away” — somebody you wish you’d worked with but didn’t?

A: We (team Rickenbacker) never met John Lennon. We came on the scene too late for John. We met and worked with George (Harrison) and other people, but not John. We did work with Yoko (Ono, Lennon’s second wife). We were made sort of freemen of the city of Liverpool because we gave The Beatles’ guitar to The Beatles museum, the original from ’64, a very old guitar.

We didn’t meet Yoko. We knew (Lennon’s first wife) Cynthia very well; we got to work with her. It would have been great to have worked with them (Lennon and Ono) and gotten to know them and understood (them).

Linda Garson’s Tales from the Music World Vine and Dine happens Friday at Inglewood 1912. For tickets, go to or call 403-870-9802.

Mary-Lynn Wardle is a Bragg Creek writer who covers her two passions, music and horses. She has written in the Calgary Herald, FFWD Weekly, Swerve, Western Horsemen, Western Horse Review, Horses All and other publications, for over 25 years.