It's another rockin' Bachman

Son of BTO great seeks his fortune in rock world

By Betsy Powell

Toronto Star Pop Music Critic

He was only five or six, but Tal Bachman remembers well when his father and hard-rock outfit BTO were taking care of business.

``It's admirable, four hosers pile into a van and conquer the world - you've got to give them credit,'' says the 29-year-old son of Canadian rock 'n' roll legend Randy Bachman of Bachman-Turner Overdrive fame.

The younger Bachman, who sings and plays guitar, is the latest rock progeny to toss his entry into the pop sweepstakes. Family connections have eliminated the need for much van time; he's jumping into the fray with a major-label push behind him.

His self-titled debut CD (out Tuesday) recalls an earlier age of lush '70s power-pop with sturdy melodies and earnest lyrics polished - with a little tinkering from Vancouver producer Bob Rock - for the adult-contemporary radio market. (First single ``She's So High'' is already travelling up the charts.)

Born in Winnipeg, Bachman moved to Vancouver when he was 3 and later, briefly, to Washington at he peak of his dad's success.

``They built a big dream house about 200 yards south of the border, then the big split-up. Acrimony. Disaster.''

He moved back to Vancouver with his remarried father and went to high school, but: ``I played guitar, listened to records, played in bands. It was lopsided toward music.''

In his late teens, Bachman, the eldest of six, headed to Utah to live with his mother. He enrolled in a small university and studied political philosophy.

He worked at odd jobs and had no clue what to do after college.

``I tried to figure out how was I distinct if I had the same interests as my dad.''

Plato helped. ``I know it sounds corny but we had this class where we read Plato's Republic . . . It's excruciating because it asks you to really evaluate and re-evaluate what you think about everything.'' Bachman realized: ``I'm a musician.''

He began shaping musical ideas into songs that no one at record companies wanted to hear.

``It was 1995-96 and everyone wanted alterna-grunge-attitude,'' says Bachman. ``I got passed on by everybody and in a terrible sort of way I knew I deserved to be passed on. I knew my stuff was not in style.'' Then he wrote ``If You Sleep.''

His father passed a tape on to Bachman's boyhood idol, ELO's Jeff Lynne, who took to it. So did Columbia Records. ``That sort of kicked down the door for me.''