Renowned Canadian radio personality and huge supporter of the indie music scene, Dave “Bookie” Bookman passed away on Tuesday, 21 May 2019. The quick-witted Indie88 radio personality was known for his facetious interview style and immense industry knowledge and will be sorely missed by radio listeners as well as the greater indie music community that he so selflessly championed for years. Indie88 general manager Megan Bingley stated that Bookman, who died a few days shy of his 59th birthday, was found unconscious in his home in April after having a brain aneurysm and was hospitalized ever since.
Dave Bookman had a long history in radio
Dave Bookman dedicated a large portion of his life to the airwaves. He started out at CIUT-FM, the campus station of the University of Toronto, where he was the co-host of the weekday morning show ‘High and Outside’. In 1989 he took the reins of his own interview show ‘Don’t Look Back’. He went on to become a valuable member of the crew over at CFNY/The Edge 102.1 where he hosted ‘The Indie Hour’ for more than two decades before heading to upstart station Indie88 in search of a new adventure. He was also responsible for booking the longest-running live music series in Toronto (and possibly the whole of Canada), the free Nu Music Night, Tuesdays at the Horseshoe.
He made a huge impact in the indie music industry
Bookie knew how important being heard on the airwaves was for new artists and was known to curate playlists that not only reminded listeners of old bands but also introduced them to many new ones. Listeners recall him interviewing Coldplay long before they became the world-famous band they are today and also remember interviews with the likes of David Grohl, Bono, and Noel Gallagher. He also helped create the buzz around up-and-coming bands such as Billy Talent with the band’s lead singer Ben Kowalewicz calling him “the kindest soul I ever met and a power point in my universe.”
He was more than a voice on the radio, he was a mentor and a friend
Josie Dye, one of Bookman’s closest friends who also worked with him for nearly 20 years at The Edge said: “Everyone knows Bookie as a crusader of the independent, winning the Unsung Hero award for his spirit and drive to make Indie happen. He has started careers for major bands such as Billy Talent, but he was also known as one of Canada’s top interviewers, forming relationships with artists such as Dave Grohl and Bono.” Bookie was indeed honored with the Unsung Hero Award at the annual CIMA Celebration & Awards Gala in Toronto. He received the very deserving award for his steadfast commitment and outstanding support to the Canadian indie music industry.
During his acceptance speech Dave Bookman summed up his career choice perfectly by saying: “If you’re watching live music or however you do it, just take a second to look at their [the musician’s] face and the odds are there will be a big smile on it, and all of these things converge to allow me to get up every day and go to do something I love with people I adore and doing something worthwhile.”
Bookman’s passing has without a doubt left a huge void in the Canadian music-loving community. His immense knowledge and zest for life will be sorely missed by everyone who was fortunate enough to meet his acquaintance in person or merely just listen to him on the radio.