Spending It, Honey!

Well, friends, it’s been a while.

A lot’s happened since I paid The Rogue Music Lab that $7,333.75 last year. One thing is, people never stopped giving me Tire money. After going right down to zero, I’m back up nearly $1,300.00. Or rather, I was before I gave $442 of it away last Friday, May 23rd:


That’s me holding $332 in Canadian Tire money and holding Max Métrault to boot. Max is the man who wrote “Anastasia,” and to whom I’m forever grateful for that song. The money I’m hoisting pays Max in full for the use of his song on Paper Nickels. I think he said one of the things he was gonna get was a Coleman stove… Max took his money away in a little cooler bag. Which is what you do when its cold hard cash.


Some champagne was opened. Heck, not just some champagne, but the very bottle that my publicist and good friend Johan Hultqvist presented me with at The Cameron House when it was announced that we’d hit our goal amount. This bottle has waited a year and two months for the right occasion to come along, and here it definitely was.


I’m glad I waited a year to open this bottle from Johan. Because I never had any idea, even when we managed to make the studio bill fourteen months ago, that it would ever go this far. That the day would come when I’d be paying out royalties in Canadian Tire money. Which, as far as I know, is another historical first.

RV was next.

photo 2-3

It pleases my soul deeply to pay RV (Rob Vaarmeyer), because his songs have meant more to this project than anyone else’s. How could they not? It was RV who brought the idea which became the song that caused the Caper in the first place. RV wrote “Ol’ Fort Mac” and “A Big Truck Brought It,” what more do I need to say? That trucking song has been a hit for me and Jonathan Byrd both, and “Ol’ Fort Mac” has sold more copies of Paper Nickels than any other track on the record. If this wasn’t folk music, RV would have a gold record on his wall. A plaque, a big fat cheque, and something sleek and slender to put on his mantel. As it is he’ll have to be happy with a cheque for $400, the $100 in Canadian Tire money you see pictured above, and the Pro Junior amp which I gave him to fulfill the rest of my debt. See, we barter in folk music.

Scott Cook, you’re next comrade. (For “The Lord Giveth and the Landlord Taketh Away.”) Raghu Lokanathan, I’m comin’ to you with my saddlebags full of Sandy McTires. (For “Sugar Candy Mountain.”) Shawn Jonasson, you too brother. (For “100 Candles.”) If anyone reading this has some loose Tire change you’d like to turn into music, send it to

Corin Raymond
39 Oxford St.
Toronto, ON
M5T 1N8

and it shall be so. I’ll be paying everyone I can with Tire money and hopefully, even the ones I pay with the real stuff will get a wee bundle so that they too can feel some of the love. Which is what it is. I’ll be posting again soon as it gets closer to me debuting my new one-man show, The Great Canadian Tire Money Caper – which is my follow up to Bookworm. This blog site is alive again and the Caper will not die. It’s like the perfect plant for a bachelor: it just keeps on thriving no matter what you do to it. Long live this new economy, friends. I’ll leave you with RV, spitting five cent bills from his fingertips:

photo 5ps. RV bought a food processor, an immersion blender, and a bike lock!

(First three photos taken by Dawa Fruitman, last two by Emma Jane Julien. Thanks to you both!)

$4,356.15 (And Changing By The Hour)!

This picture was posted on facebook by Madison Lewis, in Lacombe, AB, on June 17th. She said, ‘Can we fill this with some paper change? I think so!’  This is the kind of help I’ve been receiving from across the land.  Incidentally, I was $6.45 away from $4,000.00 when Madison posted this picture.

The Tire Money’s been coming in every day, from every direction.  Everywhere I’ve been in the past month- London, ON, Fort St. John and Rolla, BC, The Cameron House here in Toronto, you name it.  I can’t walk down the street without coming home with a paper nickel. There’s been something in the mailbox every day these past few weeks.  Every day!!

It’s exactly six months since this Caper was launched.  At that time I had a total of just over $82.50, which was very, very exciting.  And now I’m  $83.15 away from $4,400.

The stories keep piling up. I’ve had women give me their ex-husband’s forgotten stashes (or pilfer their current husband’s stash).  I’ve had friends hand-deliver Tire Money constituting years of saving (one friend, Tara Hughes, brought hers to The Cameron House wrapped in paper with the words The Dragon’s Hoard on it, which is how she’s had it packaged the seven years she’s been putting it away).  And now it’s come to join all the other bills to make the album Paper Nickels.

Which we start mixing tomorrow. More on the album very soon, I promise.  All I’ll say is that I love it. Like every record I’ve made, it’s something I can listen to for the rest of my life and be proud of it until the end. It’s just about putting some more joy in the collective jukebox. It’s a double album featuring 20 songs (by 17 different writers, including myself) and I cannot, cannot, cannot wait for you to hear it. I’ll have something to share soon.

By the way, Madison Lewis posted this photo ten days later, on June 27th.

My goal is to hit $5,000 by the end of July, $7,000 by the time I come home in September, and $10,000 by January 1st, 2013.  And this is how I’m doing it.  One Mason Jar at a time. Thank you, Madison!

My Age and My Address– Twice!!

A quick message to say that I’ve accrued $65.35 in CT$ while I’ve been at the London Fringe ($15.70 here in London and $49.65 in the mail box at home), which brings the total, for a beautiful instant, to $3939.50.

This will not last 24 hrs, but it’s nice, even for just a glimmering moment, to have a figure which contains both my age and my address– twice!  Will I break $4,000 before I leave London on Monday?  That’s the million dollar question– and since you would have to spend a million in actual cash to get back $4,000 in Tire bucks, it really is exactly that.

Also, to follow up on the post below this one, here’s what happened when Jayla’s class saw her drawing online– this from Lynn Marie, Jayla’s teacher in Montreal:

I put the website up on the whiteboard in the classroom and everyone clapped and cheered when they saw Jayla’s drawing and she loved that you commented on it. You made her day. Then I played the video clip of you singing “Don’t Spend It Honey”.  They were all singing along with the chorus. When we went outside for recess afterwards a couple of them said it was stuck in their heads and they couldn’t stop singing it.  Thank you very much Corin for making a little girl happy.

They couldn’t stop singing it!!  I love that.  Warms my madcap heart.  This caper is being enjoyed by several generations, but to know that its theme song is rooting itself in the malleable minds of grade-schoolers, well, shucks.  In my most diabolical dreams I couldn’t have wished for more.  As for anyone else who has that thing stuck in your head– yeah, sorry ’bout that.

And here’s another smile-maker, posted by Deb Proctor on my facebook page:

 This reminds me of a Thursday at The Cameron House about a month ago (where I play every week with my band The Sundowners when I’m in town).  My buddy Michael Laderoute had just got back from Mexico and he put some Mexican pesos in our hat.  By random coincidence, a beautiful gal I’d never seen before had just returned from Cuba.  She put 13 Cuban pesos in the hat.  And of course, in there amongst the Wilfred Lauriers, the John As, and the green Queens, were portraits of Sandy McTyre.  The thing that struck me, as with the picture above, is that the Canadian Tire Dollar was as strong– if not stronger– than any of the other currencies in its company.  And I’m not the only one who thinks so, as proven by this photo posted by Allison Jones:

But if you send your Tire Money to me, I’ll give you something SO much better than french fries in return.  I’m sitting at $3,939.50– only $60.50 away from my first million.  Wow.  That’s crazy.  And so are you, for being part of The Great Canadian Tire Money Caper of 2012, which is alive as ever.

I’m dropping you this word from London, Ontario, where I’m performing my one-man show Bookworm.  I’ll be talking about that on CBC’s Fresh Air (broadcast in Southern Ontario) this Sunday the 17th (Father’s Day) at 8am, and on Shelagh Rogers’ CBC Radio One program The Next Chapter (nationally) on Monday, June 18th at 1pm.  It’s nice to be in the national media for something other than the Tire Caper, but don’t think it’s gone unnoticed here in London:  The London Free Press covered the story, and they did a better job than Global Television.

Global aired a piece a few weeks back to make it look as if the Caper was over.  Fini.  Kaput.  Curtains.  Which it most certainly is not.  It was very sweet of them to be interested, but I got the feeling they wanted to steal the end of the Caper.  Even though it hasn’t ended.  It’s happening every day!  The total is $3,939.50 right now, but that’s not gonna last the night.

Oh, and there’s something misleading in that Global piece: when it cuts to James Paul saying, ‘the record is $650’, it might sound like he’s talking about my record.  He’s talking about the record for Canadian Tire Money raised in the past to pay for a project.  Though ‘raised’ would be the wrong word.  The fella who brought in the $650 earned it all himself, over many years of filling up at CT.  He had a job which had him on the road every day.

As for my ‘fulfilling my dream’, I’m still dreaming like I have been all along.  I’ll be collecting that beautiful stuff ’til the end of the year, everywhere I go, and I wanna see just how close to $10,000.00 we can get.  Why not??  This is never, ever gonna happen again.  We’re making history, and I’m making an album that you’re gonna wanna listen to the rest of your days.  I can promise you that.  More on Paper Nickels (out in November) soon.

In the meantime, if you’d like to see this pile double, you can send any loose Sandy McTyres to me at 39 Oxford St., Toronto ON, M5T 1N8.

Thanks to Rob Leth for the photo.

More on the album soon,


‘…And How About The Good Luck Is You Have To Get Some…’

Back in January, I knew that life was lovin’ me right back when I received this in my mailbox:

Miss McNorton’s class pooled nearly five dollars, accompanied by this drawing– presumably of me, celebrating my wealth at the next gig:

And then last month I received a few more paper dimes accompanied by this beautiful drawing from Jayla, an eight-year old girl at Westpark School in Montreal:

Thank you, Jayla!!!  I love how the sun is sticking its tongue out and I love how you managed to get both ends of the rainbow in there!  Thank you for making my day!!!

Again, this is encouragement no granting board could ever grant.

And this is four-year old Ava Scarlett, also in Montreal, holding some of the paper nickels I’ve received over the past six weeks.

Ava Scarlett had something to say about three things this caper runs on, and has been generating ever since it started (those would be happiness, love, and good luck), and here are her words, verbatim:

“Happiness comes from lots of love and and how about the good luck is you have to get some, and not be so impressed. And wash the dishes. And that’s it.”

Thanks to Ms. McNorton’s Grade Five Class in Tecumseh, Jayla and Ava Scarlett (Tracey!) in Montreal– along with Steve Ruggle at The Shepherd’s Crook in Georgetown, The Ferraros at The Cameron House in Toronto, Madison Lewis in Alberta, Peter Katz, Allison Jones, Nicole Stoffman, and the bearded fella at The Cammy whose name I don’t have, the current total is $3,835.95.

Yeah, let’s use the alphabet and look at that number again:

Three thousand, eight hundred, thirty-five dollars, and ninety-five cents.

And closing in on thirty-nine.  If you’d like to help me achieve the number that is both my age and my address, send any loose paper change to:

Corin Raymond, 39 Oxford St., Toronto ON, M5T 1N8.

And as Dylan Harding put it, ‘Long live this new underground economy.’

More soon about the album itself, which we’re working on this very minute.


The Million Dollar Record

Alright, it’s been nearly three months since I’ve posted anything here (how you been, in a nutshell?) so I’m just gonna dive in.  I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, which I’ll be doing a little bit at a time over the next month.  And then, the way things are going, I’m gonna be catching up on the catching up… here’s what happened this past week, in no particular order:

Last Thursday, I hit a new plateau.  There was a full page about me and my caper in The Toronto Star and I had no idea.  Not a clue– not until someone handed me the paper, and then I had another new experience: I learned some things about myself (I wax romantic, is what I’m taking away from that one), and about my own caper, that I didn’t even know.  My favourite was regarding The Done Right Inn, which is where I was originally planning to spend all the loot:

“We take in about $100 a month these days,” she says, of the play dough that has been accepted at par here since the place opened in 1999. That is double the bar’s customary take: it enjoyed a spike since the Star put Toronto singer-songwriter Corin Raymond’s Canadian Tire fundraising drive quest on the cover of the newspaper in January.

“C’mon, this is an old-school bar, with a row of elbows propped along it. There is nothing we don’t chew over, and that moment of fame played big here. We’re a local, and this made us a destination.”

We’re still gonna have a party there, you know.  I’m still buying the entire bar a round with Tire Money.  And you will be invited.  The album comes out in November, so sometime before that.

But back to The Star, the headline on Thursday read ‘Toronto Musician Raises Enough Canadian Tire Money To Record Live Album‘– which is not true– or rather it could give the wrong idea.  The Star makes it sound as though the caper was finished, like we were sweeping up the confetti– but we aren’t.  I suppose the headline is factually accurate, since I have raised enough of the cute little Scotsmen to record the album (which happened over two nights in January at The Tranzac), but now there’s the slow, exciting, and much-more-involved work of editing, mixing, and mastering– all of which can also be covered by Sandy McTyre, if your glovebox is willing.

The album will be called Paper Nickels, and as I say, it’ll be out in November of this year. It’s a collection of the greatest songs I’ve discovered in the last ten years of travelling– most of them from across this country.  It’s a secret history of the Canadian folk music scene as it exists right now and it couldn’t be more appropriate that the studio time is being covered with Tire Money.  Having just broken $3,650.00, we’re moving into folkloric territory, friends.  If you wanna be part of this ludicrousness , and turn your small paper change into beauty we can all enjoy, it’s certainly not too late to do that.

If you’d like to add your twenty cents, I’ll be collecting our unofficial second currency until the end of 2012.  Send it to 39 OXFORD ST. TORONTO, ON M5T 1N8.  This caper will not happen again.

On Friday, three more articles came out (you’ve gotta understand that this time around I was just minding my own business) and I was a phone-in guest on Seattle’s CBS News Station, KIRO, on the show ‘Ross and Burbank’.  It’s worth listening just to hear Dave and Luke chatting about Sandy McTyre from a U.S. perspective– and their parting dialogue about me, Barack Obama, and Canada– you wanna laugh, right now?  You wanna feel better than you already do?  Take a listen.  It takes this caper to yet another level.

Okay, it’s still Friday: I love when articles get written off other articles, but it’s especially fun when I don’t know about any of ’em– and again, to update on what Exclaim! is repeating here, there’s a brand new total in town:  I cracked $3,650.00 Thursday night at The Cameron House (it was the $14.15 from the Ferraros that put me over), but I’m still a ways away from my Everest-like, Don-Quixote-Impossible-Star goal of ten thousand Canadian Tire dollars.

And then there was this piece from Spinner Canada, same day again.  It’s not Spinner’s fault the total is off by a thousand bucks.  I haven’t updated this site in months.  And once again, the banner line on the article makes it sound as if the party’s over– my bad again.  But my favourite part of this one is the last paragraph:

The singer still has some work to do in comparison to Amanda Palmer‘s recent Kickstarter campaign. Originally hoping for around $100,000 to go towards a new album, Palmer recently eclipsed more than $700,000 U.S. in pledges.

There’s a wee detail missing here, as Sandy McTyre might say, and that’s that to accrue the amount of Tire Money I now have ($3,650.00) by shopping at Canadian Tire, a person would have to spend well over $800,000 in real cash.  I hate to be nit-picky, but nearly a million dollars has already been spent in the making of my record.  When Paper Nickels comes out in November, it’ll be the only million dollar Canadian folk record you’ve ever had in your hands.

Sorry, Amanda.

Same day, Friday, I also caught wind of a great piece by David McPherson in Canadian Musician about the uses of social media in the ever-changing music world.  I share space with Jadea Kelly and Walk Off The Earth, among others, and I think this is the first time this caper has been so glossy.  The nerd in me also loves that I’m on page 42, which is the meaning, of course, to Life, The Universe, and Everything.  This was the same day I noticed that somebody online called me ‘the Trump of Canadian Tire Money‘.

But it gets better.  A week ago Friday me and James Paul (of The Rogue Studios) made the front cover of The Wall Street Journal.  I know, I know.  It was inevitable.  Ever since I first picked up a guitar and struck a G chord, we knew it was gonna happen.  Two funny moments: days before going to print, the reporter emailed me for my latest total, which I didn’t have.  Just as I’ve been absent from this page, it’d been weeks since I’d totted up my tally.  So I got to work, sitting in my kitchen in my housecoat.  Took me about an hour.  And when I finally had the figure in front of me I proclaimed, almost accidentally: ‘I’ve got the newest total– I must inform The Wall Street Journal immediately!!!’.  Which I did.  And I knew that I had just said something I’d likely have use for only once in this lifetime.  The other moment was when I dropped by Presse Internationale to buy a copy for my dad.  I pointed the article out to the clerk and said, ‘Hey, I’m in there.  Front page, would you believe it?’.  The clerk looked at the crisp and powerful financial newspaper before us and then at me, looking very much like The Dude from The Big Lebowski, and you know, I felt a bit like The Dude, when he first meets… The Big Lebowski.  Except the bums haven’t lost, brothers and sisters!!  They’re on the front cover of The Wall Street Journal!!  God bless this new underground economy.

That my caper is now a part of the Canadian Tire $$$ story– being told here to financial readers who’ve never seen Sandy McTyre— is a coup.  That I scored a photo at all is ridiculous.  That every picture accompanying the piece are of my own bundles is somehow… appropriate (you’ll see the same stick-it notes on my bills in the WSJ piece that I put on them in Sunnybrae– in the photo below).  That James Paul gets mentioned is beautiful.  That the comments are entertaining as well as educational is refreshing, and separates them from the comments under every other online post this adventure’s enjoyed.  The best part is, I made the Wall Street Journal for having an inordinate amount of crazy fun– without any real money– and even better, we did it together.

Oh, and incidentally, that illustrated bill up top was sent to me with some CT bucks from a great BC duo called– are you ready for this?– A Million Dollars In Pennies!  And they’re killer.  They opened for The Sundowners in Sunnybrae, BC and it made me very excited to hear they were working on a record.  Look for it.  You won’t be disappointed.

I’m back folks, and you heard it through the intervine.  See you here soon, CR.

ps.  Something else that happened this week (I’m not bragging here, I’m just telling the truth!!)– not related to Canadian Tire Money– is that Shelagh Rogers came across a piece I wrote for Beams and Struts about the music of Ariana Gillis (Pulse, Power, and Universe: The Lake Monsters Of Ariana Gillis) and Shelagh liked it enough that she invited me and Ariana to be guests on her CBC program, The Next Chapter, at the beginning of June.  That’s the first time, during this caper, that I’ll be on national radio talking about something other than Tire Money.  My life is utterly charmed. CR.

Look at Fred’s eyes. This is serious business.

Late last night, I announced on FB that I’d reached $100.75.  I’d broken a hundred dollars in Canadian Tire money in two months!  Then I got this:

Kevin: Fred will match your $100.75 and raise it by $37.50
The total is now 239 even.
Is there anyone else in on the bidding?

Me: are you serious??! that picture fills me with mad joy!! are you serious??!! you’re kidding me, right? you know what, I think that it was Canadian Tire money glowing in that case in Pulp Fiction… Continue reading