Shaffer thrilled to induct Bachman

Paul Shaffer (WENN.COM file photo)

Paul Shaffer (WENN.COM file photo)

Bill Harris, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

Paul Shaffer's hosting of the Canada's Walk of Fame ceremony this year has a symmetry to it, thanks to Randy Bachman.

"He and I have only got to know each other recently, but I've been knowing him since I was a kid in Thunder Bay," Shaffer said.

"We were the next town over from Winnipeg, and so the Guess Who -- I'm going back to 1969 here, maybe even 1968, no wait, before that, it would be 1967 -- the Guess Who played Thunder Bay all the time. And I was there every time, taking notes, taking mental notes.

"They really taught me how to be in a rock band. Randy and the other three of them were so influential to me."

Shaffer, of course, has been famous as David Letterman's right-hand man and musical director for 30 years. Shaffer himself was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame in 2006.

Bachman, meanwhile, is one of the 2012 inductees. The ceremony, hosted by Shaffer, was held last month in Toronto and will be broadcast across the country Sunday on Global and Slice.

"When I met (Bachman) the first time, he was playing with Ringo (Starr) in one of those all-star things," said Shaffer, 62. "I started regaling (Bachman) about Thunder Bay and the gigs and how much I remember about their shows back then. He was impressed.

"So since then he has done Letterman, sat in with my band and we played all his hits, and he mentioned to the Walk of Fame people first, 'Maybe Paul could come up to do my induction.' That's what got it started.

"So they said, 'Well, if Paul is going to come up, maybe he'd like to host it.' And I said, 'What do I wear?' "

Other inductees this year include Sarah McLachlan, Phil Hartman, Russ Jackson, Sonia Rodriguez and Team Canada 1972.

"Sarah McLachlan, I worked with her a number of times when she first came on the scene," Shaffer said. "She did Letterman early. She played with my band on a couple of her early appearances. So I love her, I'm friendly with her.

"Phil Hartman was after my time on Saturday Night Live, so I'd get to talk to him just when he did Letterman. He lived in Hollywood and hung out with all my friends there. But I never really worked with him, except when I played him onto the Letterman show. I can't remember the song, maybe something by Sinatra, because his impersonation of Frank was impeccable."

Shaffer left Canada for the United States to try to "make it" back in 1972. But he admitted that had he come along in a slightly later era -- say the 1980s, when music video changed the game and allowed international success to be achieved from anywhere -- there's a good chance he never would have left Canada.

"It goes deep," Shaffer said of his Canadian heritage. "Born in Toronto. Things like Randy Bachman and the Guess Who coming to Thunder Bay. I'll never forget. These things shaped me. It got me started.

"It's truly my roots, and those roots are there forever."


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