Art Bergmann appears at Neptoon Records for the West Coast launch of The Longest Suicide autobiography

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      One of the greatest songwriters Vancouver has ever produced, Art Bergmann will discuss his life, career, successes, and failures at Neptoon Records April 15 for the launch of his The Longest Suicide: The Authorized Biography of Art Bergmann.

      The evening will also feature the book’s author Jason Schneider and moderator Aaron Chapman, who has penned such books at Vancouver After Dark: The Wild History of a City’s Nightlife.

      If you’ve read The Longest Suicide, you know there will plenty to talk about.

      The Longest Suicide goes back to Bergmann’s beginnings in the West Coast music scene back as part of White Rock’s wildly under-appreciated Shmorgs, and then traces his rise in the Vancouver punk scene as a founding member of the K-TELS. Following a name change to the Young Canadians (K-TEL threatened to sue), Bergmann, bassist Jim Bescott, and drummer Barry Taylor produced some of the city’s most era-defying classics, starting with “Automan”, “Hawaii’”, and “Data Redux”.

      Not done there, the singer and guitarist then reinvented himself with Poisoned, and then stepped fully into the spotlight as a solo artist, delivering a series of records—Crawl With Me, Sexual Roulette, Art Bergmann—that elevated him to the national stage. Those records still stand up today. Cue up Sexual Roulette and prepare to be floored by a black-hearted collections that dives head-first into drugs, suicide, drugs, hell that is the music business, and the endlessly horrific struggle that is life.

      There are songwriters. And then, in the tradition of Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen, and Kurt Cobain, there are those operating another plane. Bergmann, who received an Order of Canada medal last December, secured his place with lyrics like “It reminded me of a friend/They found him hanging from a light fixture in the middle of his room/Just before breakfast swinging in the gloom.” He continues to write and record today.

      Anvil Press describes The Longest Suicide with: “With cameos by John Cale, Bob Rock, The Clash, Bob Geldof and many others, The Longest Suicide is both a triumphant story of personal survival, as well as a unique glimpse inside the rise of alternative rock. Above all, it is a tribute to Canada’s most unheralded singer-songwriter, whose greatness is only now being widely recognized.”

      While unheralded might be a bit of a misstep, you get the idea.

      Art Bergmann Jason Schneider and guest moderator Aaron Chapman talk The Longest Suicide at Neptoon Records, 3561 Main Street, at 7 p.m. on April 15.