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Born: Robin David Masyk on June 04, 1957 in Germany; Died: January 10, 1987
Born in West Germany, where his father was stationed at an airforce base, Masyk's family moved to Canada in 1970. Eight years later he moved to Texas where he worked in Austin for two years. It was this stay that cultivated Masyk's love for country music and when he returned to Canada he entrenched himself in the Queen Street circuit where he could grow as an eclectic alternative artist with a C & W slant that incorporates both reggae and rockabilly.
Had his hand in dozens of projects including fronting the Sidewinders' and playing guitar with the Hayseed Hellions, The Valours, and The Running Kind, as well as performing with Toronto reggae legend Mohjah
The Sidewinders consisted of Masyk's brother Jim Travis Masyk (guitars), Nate Vincent (bass), and drummer Cleave Anderson (Blue Rodeo, The Sharks). The Hellions featured a nine-piece country line-up including J.D. Weatherstone of the Demics on drums (as well as an early stint with the Sidewinders) and occasionally Johnny MacLeod.
The NFB financed a 30-minute documentary called 'The Ballad Of Handsome Ned' in 1985 by Ross Edmunds and was well received at the Ann Arbor Film Festival.
The Handsome Neds consisted of Steve Koch (Viletones, Demics, Hayseed Hellions) on guitar; J.D. Weatherstone (Demics) on drums, and bassist Rene Frattura (Herald Nix)
In 1986 he appeared in a Molson Beer commercial because of his distinctive urban cowboy look.
Masyk could often be heard on Toronto radio station CKLN promoting his traditional country tastes on his own radio program The Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor Show. Every year Masyk would return to Texas for some gigs and would return with a brand new straw stetson - his trademark.
Masyk's body was found by police in his Toronto apartment on January 10, 1987 of a suspected drug overdose.
A team of Queen Street musicians held a benefit concert in July of 1987 to raise money for a documentary and possible recording restoration project. Masyk's brother managed to convince Island/A&M to release a retrospective in 1989 to honour the late cowboy. It consisted of demos and studio tracks dating from 1983 to 1985.
In June 2000, a second, more comprehensive double-CD retrospective, "The Name Is Ned", was released through EMI Music Canada's "Northern Heritage" imprint.
with notes from Deirdre Dodd.
with THE SIDEWINDERS
Put The Blame On Me/Cryin' Heartache Misery (independent)
with THE HANDSOME NEDS
In Spite Of The Danger/Ain't No Room For Cheating (Handsome)
The Ballad Of... (Island/A & M)
The Name Is Ned (Northern Heritage/EMI Music Canada)
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