Pacemaker was founded in 1992 by Peter Burnside, Vic Goldman and John Johnson as a CD reissue label focussing on Canadian artists. Our first release was in 1994 with a best of compilation from Moxy. Up next was another compilation, this time from Fludd, best known for the hit “Cousin Mary”. This release captured songs from their three labels, Daffodil, Attic and Warner.
Cinema Face were a Toronto AOR band, whose super rare LP went for hundreds of dollars in Europe. The same with Alpha Centaui, who everybody thought were from Winnipeg, as this is where their manager and indie label were based, but turned out to be from Greeley CO. It is usually impossible to figure out how some of these records become so sought after, but with Alpha Centauri, we discovered the story.
Derek Oliver was a writer for Kerrang magazine. One day while browsing through the records at Record and Tape Exchange on Goldhawk Road in London, He came across a copy of Alpha Centauri. How it found its way to a second hand record shop 4000 miles away is a mystery, but Oliver looked at the back of the album and thought it looked like the sort of thing he would like. So, judging a record by its cover, he bought it. And it turned out to be exactly something he liked! A glowing review of the record in Kerrang had AOR fans on the hunt for the album. The band had long since disbanded, and were unaware of their newfound popularity until contacted about reissing the album on CD.
Back to Frank Davies’ Daffodil catalogue for a compilation from The Hunt, who like Moxy, were much bigger in San Antonio than their hometown. The “2 on 1″ release from Motherlode and Chimo! (featuring Breen LeBeouf” well before Offenback) were originally on Mort Ross’ Revolver label. 1995 also saw the release of another AOR rarity, the self titled album from Ottawa band Avalon.
The next few years were very busy, with the individual Moxy albums, Segarini and The Battered Wives (both on Bomb), and a compilation from legendary garage band The Ugly Ducklings.
The 2000s saw the beginnings of a partnership with Lion Productions and a shift towards 60’s psych bands. As with the AOR releases, focus was on albums that were super rare. Plastic Cloud, Folklords, Jarvis Street Revue, Souls of Inspyration certainly fell into this category.
Getting titles from the majors had been an issue for years, but this changed mid-decade with Indio, Chilliwack, The Paupers and Witness Inc. (pre Streetheart) from Universal, Mandala, Kensington Market and Whisky Howl from Warner, and Five Man Electrical Band / Staccatos from EMI. To this date, the SONY/BMG vaults remain untouched!
Pacemaker also began to work with Ottawa’s Mousehole Music, helping release The Esquires, Townsmen and Stacattos discs.
The 2010s brought the resurgence of the LP, and Pacemaker / Lion reissued some of their reissues on vinyl. Plastic Cloud, McKenna Mendelson Mainline – Blues, Jarvis Street Revue, Folklords, 49th Parallel came out on LP. It also saw all Pacemaker titles become available on the streaming services.
Finally the 2020’s. More LPs, a few CDs including James Leroy, plus our first digital only release, Dixie Rumproast’s Well Done. A Bob Ezrin produced album that sat in the vaults for over 50 years. And a new imprint! Instant Replay. While Pacemaker will continue on reissues, Instant Replay will focus on new recordings. First release on IR is Sherri Harding – A Million Pieces..