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Robert Neil "Bob" Wiseman is a film composer, songwriter, author and music teacher. Wiseman discovered or produced many artists including Ron Sexsmith, The Lowest of the Low, Bruce McCulloch of Kids in the Hall, Anhai, and former Canadian member of parliament Andrew Cash. He is a founding member of Blue Rodeo with whom he won 5 Juno Awards.
Bob Wiseman, photo by Joe Fuda
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
|Origin||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Genres||Rock, country, jazz, folk, improvisational|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, producer, filmmaker, actor|
|Instruments||Piano, keyboard, guitar, accordion, vocals|
|Associated acts||Ron Sexsmith, Hidden Cameras, Blue Rodeo, Dick Duck & The Dorks, Slutarded|
In the 1980s Wiseman played at open stages in Toronto where he started producing friends Bob Snider, Kyp Harness, Ron Sexsmith, Sahara Spracklin and Sam Larkin. He joined Blue Rodeo in 1984 and quit in 1992 to follow a solo career.
Guest contributors on his 13 albums include Daniel Lanois, Mary Margaret O'Hara, Eugene Chadbourne, Edie Brickell, Ron Sexsmith, Jane Siberry, Basia Bulat and Serena Ryder. Wiseman's songs often incorporate new musical elements and explicit political themes. In 2009 a 20th anniversary edition of In Her Dream was released by the Blocks Recording Club and the songs were performed live by various friends including Sexsmith, Geoff Berner, Owen Pallett, Kyp Harness, The Phonemes, Picastro, Michael Holt, Maggie MacDonald, UIC, Henri Faberge, and Don Christensen. In 2006 Wiseman and his partner, Magali Meagher, were accompaniment for Daniel Johnston. Wiseman was also a member of Slutarded, Black Eyes, The Hidden Cameras and Dick Duck & the Dorks. Some of his better known songs include "White Dress" – a song about sexual assault, recorded by Serena Ryder, "What the Astronaut Noticed and Then Suggested" which was the theme song for the CBC Television series Material World, and "Maureen".
Touring and theatreEdit
In 2009 Wiseman, created a play entitled Actionable, a PowerPoint presentation utilizing Super 8, video and live accompaniment on accordion and guitar which he presented in 2010 at the Uno Festival in Victoria as well as the Fringe Festival circuits. Wiseman collaborated theatrically with Scott Thompson of The Kids in the Hall, creating and touring Scottastrophe also with Anand Rajaram on award winning Cowboys and Indians and with Sean Dixon for Barbara Gowdy's story The White Bone adaptation, with The Madawaska String Quartet and with Maggie MacDonald and Stephanie Markowitz writing the music for their play The Rat King.
Wiseman toured with Feist, Final Fantasy, Ron Sexsmith, and Scott Thompson and was a guest performer with Wilco, The Wallflowers, Eugene Chadbourne, Jimmy Carl Black (of Frank Zappa), Edie Brickell, Michelle Wright, Ashley MacIsaac & Garland Jeffries. Videos on YouTube of Wiseman songs performed with Feist ("You Don't Love Me"), Serena Ryder ("White Dress") Sexsmith ("All The Trees)".
Artists who covered Bob songs include The Madawaska String Quartet, UIC, Leah Abramson, The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, Michael Holt, Change of Heart, Magali Meagher, Tom St. Louis, Ben Bootsma and The Blind Venetians.
Wiseman makes super 8 films and videos that he accompanies live on accordion, guitar or piano. He tours/ performs with these films in Europe, United States, New Zealand and Canada subtitling them when necessary. Wiseman is the only live musician on John Oswald's 1988 release Plunderphonics. He was on the board of directors for LIFT, TAIS, The Tranzac & the Blocks Recording Club label in Toronto. In 2019 he obtained his Masters in Environmental Studies from York University and currently is in the PhD program at the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation.
Wiseman started producing records in the 1980s, his debut "Wet Water" charted No. 4 on CKLN-FM at Ryerson University. Soon he was arranging and recording many friends like Ron Sexsmith, Sam Larkin, Kyp Harness, Sahara Spracklin and UIC. The record he produced for Ron Sexsmith "Grand Opera Lane" was rejected by Canadian A&R representatives. Through persistence he managed to get it to Todd Sullivan at Geffen Records in Los Angeles, who eventually gave it to Ronnie Vance in the publishing department which led to a deal for Sexsmith with Interscope. Other notable clients were Kid in the Hall Bruce McCulloch, with whom Wiseman produced and co-wrote much of his Atlantic Records release Shame Based Man (listed as No. 24 on Spin Magazine's top comedy albums of all time). Other artists Wiseman has produced include Edie Brickell, Canadian Member of Parliament Andrew Cash, Knitting Factory Recording Artist Carmaig de Forest, Robert Priest, Anhai, Friendly Rich, Jess Reimer, Katie Crown, Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, Eugene Chadbourne, and Bob Snider.
Composing film, TV and theatreEdit
- Coleslaw Warehouse (1994) by Bruce McCulloch
- American Whiskey Bar (1996) by Bruce McDonald (director)
- Thirst (2000) by Jessica Joy Wise
- Toraanisqatsi (2001) by Leif Harmsen
- The Racist Brick (2003) by Dave Derewlany and Adam Brodie
- Scarlett's Room (2004) by Yvonne Ng
- Heart Mission (2005) by Katie Crown
- Abstract (2007) by Steve Whitehouse
- Drawing from Life (2008) by Katerina Cizek
- Sous L'oeil du Temps (2009) by Madi Pillar
- The Pickles Shane ( 2009) by Levi MacDougall
- That Thing That Happened (2010) by Josh Saltzman and Lindsay Ames
- The Old Ways (2011) by Mike Vass
- Sad Wet Happy Dry (2011) by Levi MacDougall
- Even If My Hands Were Full of Truths (2012) by Franci Duran
- The Thunder Bird & The Killer Whale (2012) by Caroline Trudell
- What's Art Got To Do With It? (2013) by Isabel Fryzsberg
- The Ghosts In Our Machine (2013) by Liz Marshall
- Candy (2013) by Cassandra Cronenberg
- David Noble: A Wrench In The Gears (2013) by Jon Bullick
- Safir (2013) by Mariam Zaidi
- Mugshot (2014) by Dennis Mohr
- Every Story Has a Twist (2014) by Bindu Shah
- Love Song for the Apocalypse (2014) by David Ridgen
- Micah Lexier, Visual Artist (2015) by Min Sook Lee
- Blood White (2015) by Rotter and Kess
- The Education of William Bowman (2015) by Ken Finkleman
- Political Refugee (2015) by Rob Stefaniuk
- Meat Pie (2015) by Eytan Millstone
- Idiots In Love (2016) by Kathleen Phillips-Locke
- The Drawer Boy (2017) by Arturo Torres
- Rasputin (2018) by Jamie Shannon
- Material World (1992) for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
- Wildside (1993–1994) for Nickelodeon
- Pet Project (1995–1998) for Animal Planet
- Spiritual Literacy (1998) for VisionTV
- Twitch City (1996–1999) directed by Bruce McDonald (director) and Don McKellar
- Loving Spoonful (1998–2006) for WTN network & Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
- The Distractions (2003) for The Comedy Network
- Carolina Dai (2011) for RAI
- Guidance (2013) for BiteTV
- Derby (2016) for Bravo
- Peter Cottontail (1969) directed by Mrs. Smith
- The 3 Penny Epic Cabaret (1994) directed by Adam Nashman
- Hys Unauthorized Lyfe and Tymes (2002) directed by Anand Rajaram
- The Rat King (2006) directed by Maggie MacDonald and Steph Markowitz
- The White Bone (2007) directed by Sean Dixon
- Cowboys and Indians (2008) for directed by Anand Rajaram
- Actionable (2011) directed by Sean Dixon
- Smother (2012) directed by Omar Joseph Hady
- Charming Monsters (2013) directed by Aaron Rothermund
- Someone Knows Something (2016) produced by CBC
- Bob Wiseman Sings Wrench Tuttle: In Her Dream (1998, Atlantic Records). The album created some notoriety when the first thousand copies were destroyed by Warner Music due to the song "Rock and Tree" which was feared libelous. It was about the murder of Salvador Allende and mentioned Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger and Donald M. Kendall, the president of Pepsi Cola. "Wrench Tuttle", the credited lyricist, was a Wiseman pseudonym. (Wiseman claimed that he set music to words by Tuttle, a poet who would send him lyrics in the mail.) The album was included in the Canadian music critics top 100 albums of all time  The album yielded the video "We Got Time", with cameos by Mendelson Joe and friends, Tracy Wright (for whom Wiseman wrote the 2013 song email@example.com, Don McKellar, Leslie Spit Treeo and Mary Margaret O'Hara. The album also featured "Airplane on the Highway" which had an accompanying video by Caroline Azar and animator Lisa Bujoin.
- Hits of the 60s and the 70s (1990, self released) recording of piano improvisations that contained no hits from the 60s or70s.
- Presented by Lake Michigan Soda (1991, Warner Music Canada). Guests included Edie Brickell, Jane Siberry and Eugene Chadbourne with whom he recorded Chopin's etude Opus 10 No. 6 retitling it opus 10 No. 666 with Chadbourne on distorted electric rake introducing himself as "Oighan Chadbornitsky of the Budapest Philharmonic". The song "What the Astronaught Noticed and Then Suggested" became the theme song for the CBC Television sitcom Material World produced by The Kids in the Hall's Susan Cavan. Three videos were filmed for PBLMS. "The Man From Glad" was directed by Yvonne Ng (artistic director of Princess Productions) shot by Nicholas de Pencier with costars including Keith Cole. "Frost in Florida", about global warming, was directed by Andrea Nann and shot by de Pencier. "Taylor Field",about adolescent suicide, was directed by Howard Wiseman.
- City of Wood (1993, Warner Music Canada and Glitterhouse Records in Europe)
- Beware of Bob (1994, Sabre Touque Records in Canada and FU Stephano in Italy) – instrumental album.
- Accidentally Acquired Beliefs (1995, Warner Music Canada). It was recorded at Metalworks Studios in Mississauga, Ontario.
- More Work Songs from the Planet of the Apes (1997, God Finds Cats). Jean Smith praised it for the song Libelous about activists David Morris and Helen Steel (see McLibel case).
- It's True (2004, Blocks Recording Club)
- Theme and Variations (2006, Blocks Recording Club). Top 10 of 2006 Toronto's Now Magazine.
- The Legend (2008, Blocks Recording Club), a live recording from Halifax.
- Giulietta Masina at the Oscars Crying (2013, Blocks Recording Club (vinyl), God Finds Cats (CD)). Songs about police murders, Robert Dziekanski taser incident, and political leaders. Guests include Mary Margaret O'Hara, Maylee Todd, Serena Ryder, Mark Hundevad, Michael Keith and Michael Holt.
- Wiseman Sessions (1988) UIC
- Outside The Law (1989) Basic English
- Sam Larkin (1989) Sam Larkin
- Grand Opera Lane (1990) Ron Sexsmith
- Put Your Head on Your Shoulders (1990) The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir
- Nowhere Fast (1991) Kyp Harness
- You (1991) Bob Snider
- Love Song to the Alien (1992) The Liz Band
- Shaylee (1992) Edie Brickell
- Hi (1992) Andrew Cash
- Just Buy It (1992) Furnaceface
- Gamble/ Motel 6 (1993) Lowest of the Low
- Ruins of Our Own (1993) Eugene Chadbourne
- Shame-Based Man (1995) Bruce McCulloch
- California (1996) Jeanette Froncz
- Spacewoman (1998) Selina Martin
- We Need A New F Word (2005) Friendly Rich
- Gamma Knife (2011) Maria Kasstan
- Apology (2011) Eihpos Grapes
- Countdown (2011) Stacey McLeod
- Arachnia (2011) Sean Dixon
- New Boots (2011) Laska Sawade
- Catholic School (2011) Christine Cleary
- Love You More (2011) Kwesi Immanuel
- Three of Swords (2013) Mimi Osvath
- The Nightjar and The Garden (2014) Jess Reimer
- The Secret Songs of Sam Larkin (2015) Sam Larkin
- Tomorrow Is Today (2017) Anhai
- I'm Not The Enemy (2020) Robert Priest
- Wet Water (1984)
- In Her Dream: Bob Wiseman Sings Wrench Tuttle (1989)
- Hits of the Sixties and Seventies (1990)
- Presented by Lake Michigan Soda (1991)
- City of Wood (1993)
- Beware of Bob (1994)
- Accidentally Acquired Beliefs (1995)
- More Work Songs from the Planet of the Apes (1997)
- It's True (2004)
- Theme and Variations (2006)
- The Legend (2008)
- In Her Dream (2009) – 20th anniversary edition on vinyl with previously unreleased tracks
- Giulietta Masina At The Oscars Crying (2013)
Film and videographyEdit
- Alexander and the Hydro Pole (1999)
- All Dressed Up (2001)
- Bhopal (driftnet plan) (2003)
- My Cousin Dave (2003)
- Uranium (2004)
- Drum Sounds (2005)
- Bob And Choice (2006)with Scott Thompson, Levi MacDougall and Nathan Fielder
- Found Poetry (2006)
- 100 Instruments (2007)
- Dead Inside (2007)
- Who Am I (2008)
- Ten Cent Job (2009)
- Response of a Lakota Woman to FBI Intimidation (2009)
- Disappearing Trick (2009)
- Hand Language (2010)
- You Don't Love Me (2010)
- Three Men (2011)
- Two (2011)
- Neil Young at the Junos (2013)
- Misery (2016)
- Mothface@Yahoo.ca (2017)
Wiseman attended Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate, École River Heights, Grant Park, Argyle Alternative High School in Winnipeg, Manitoba and holds a Masters of Environmental Studies from York University.
- 5 Juno Awards won with Blue Rodeo
- Juno nomination Most Promising Male Vocalist
- Gemini Award Nomination 2000 for Twitch City music
- Lifetime achievement award winner from CBC Radio 3
- Presented with the Key to Bruno, Saskatchewan by the Mayor in 2008
- Best Songwriter 2013 Now Readers Poll (runner up)
- 2015 Dan Galea 4th Wiseman Music of Sound Award
- 2017 Favourite cover of Exclaim! 25th anniversary issue.
- Armstrong, Denis Sun Media (30 September 2009). "Artist: Wiseman, Bob > The many faces of Bob Wiseman". jam.canoe.ca. Jam!. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
- Keast, James (March 2005). "Music School > MEET & GREET > Mar 2005". Exclaim!. Toronto: 1059434 Ontario Inc. www
.exclaim .ca. ISSN 1207-6600. Archived from the original on 6 April 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
- Schwartzman, Lisa. "Bob Wiseman Biography". allmusic.com. Allmusic. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
- Larry LeBlanc (4 July 1992). "Wiseman rides in to solo career" - Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 47. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "Actionable:music is at its beautiful core". Plank Magazine. 24 May 2010.
- *""Bob_Wiseman's_One-Man Actionable Show Makes Its Way Across Canada". exclaim.ca. 2010-05-19. Retrieved 2011-03-03.
- "SPIN's 40 Greatest Comedy Albums Of All Time". SPIN. 1 November 2011.
- "12 Canadian books coming out in July we can't wait to read". CBC Books. 7 July 2020. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
- "*In her dream (sound recording) : Bob Wiseman sings Wrench Tuttle / [all songs written by Wiseman-Tuttle]", collectionscanada.gc.ca, Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada, OCLC 25529378, AMICUS No. 19537810, retrieved 4 March 2011.
Liss, Sarah (29 July 2009). "What about Bob? Toronto music MVP re-releases his dreamy debut on Blocks Recording Club". Eye Weekly. Toronto: Torstar. eyeweekly
.com. ISSN 1192-6074. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
- "Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - ChartAttack's Top 100 Canadian Albums of All Time".
- "City of Wood - Bob Wiseman - Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
- "Libelous, by bob wiseman".
- "Benjamin Boles's Top 10 Discs". NOW Toronto. 28 December 2006.
- Dave Berry (15 May 2007). "He would not feel so all abandoned, everybody must get Bob Wiseman". Vue Weekly. Archived from the original on 29 August 2013.
- "Bob Wiseman The Legend". Exclaim!.
- "'Muzzling' of Canadian government scientists sent before Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault". Toronto Star. 15 March 2013.
- "Artist Summary - The JUNO Awards".
- "Juno Awards Database". junoawards.ca. Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
- "CBC Music".
- "Best of Winners - Archived copy". NOW Toronto. Archived from the original on 19 November 2013. Retrieved 2014-04-10.