Technoparc was recorded in May of 2001 under the name of Norman Mikeal Berketa, but it was not Norm's first album. Ten years before that, while working as a manager of a camera store, Norm took a week's vacation to record Life, which he duplicated and sold on cassette tape only. There are probably only a handful of copies in existence now.
Norm's daughter Hayley was just under five years of age when she was recorded on the final track of Technoparc.
"Into The Future With Earl", the fifth track of Technoparc, was entered into the Canadian National Songwriting Competition in 2002. It didn't win.
The title for Too Many Teamsters was created by a friend of Norm's, who was making a remark about daily life in the trucking industry.
Most of the tracks on Too Many Teamsters were written while driving back and forth to Montreal.
The song "Electric" had numerous working titles while being recorded, the runner-up being "Bloodthirsty". In fact, a few CDs were sold with the track called "Bloodthristy" before the title was changed, and the CDs reprinted. The song itself was written about a vivid dream Norm had as a teenager.
The cover of Waterboy features Norm's son Matthew, who was six years old when the photo was taken.
The cover photo for Waterboy was taken in the cafeteria of the National Aviation Museum in Ottawa, while on a weekend excursion. Norm's son was hiding behind a glass-cubed wall which distorted his face. Norm took the picture just so his son could see what he looked like. Norm commented that his son looked like a "water boy" and that was the inspiration behind the album.
The back cover of Waterboy features another of the pics taken of Matthew, although it's harder to spot. The CD label itself features a pic of both children. And if you look very, very carefully on the back cover, you can spot the same cow that appears on Teamsters.
In 2005, between the release of Waterboy and EPICA, NMB Productions created an anthology that featured 16 tracks from the first three albums. Although it is not advertised, it can still be ordered, but you have to send an email to do so. The back cover features a picture of the original black and white cover for Technoparc.
EPICA marked the fourth CD and the fifth album for Deadlivestock, and in fact, about half of the tracks on EPICA were written about ten years before the first album was made. All instrumental, EPICA was first recorded on a Tascam 4-Track, analog cassette machine. The original recording was last seen somewhere on a standard cassette tape, and was entitled "Half hour piece".
The original, 20-year old tracks that became EPICA in 2005 had to be re-created by memory, as the whereabouts of the original cassette was still a mystery at the time of recording.
The original members of the 1980's Silent Q were Paul Seale (guitar/vocals), Norm Berketa (guitar/vocals), Greg Friend (keyboards/vocals), Steven Bird (bass/vocals) and Tony Chaangur (drums/vocals). Last we heard, Paul was living in London, Ontario. Greg lives and works in Edmonton, Alberta (we still keep in touch). Steven's whereabouts are unknown. Tony was living in Montreal at one point.
If you search the net for Silent Q today, you will find at least two links to past musical projects. One updated back in 2003 is a solo performer who descibes his music as, "SILENT Q: conformity is a mockery of human will, and the death of creativity... or something.", and one updated in 2005 is a now-defunct band out of St. Louis, MO. They have a welcome message on their website that states, "6-24-05: Silent-Q played their last official gig at Molly's in Soulard last night. It was a great final show and the band would like to thank all of our friends and listeners who enjoyed listening to us over the past 7 years."
Silent Q played Barrymore's in Ottawa twice, both times to sold-out crowds. They played on Monday, August 8th and Monday, August 15th, 1983.
EPICA was created as a tribute album to Mike Oldfield, Alan Parsons and KLAATU. The latter was a band out of the Toronto area that sounded an awful lot like The Beatles, or so said the rumour mill. KLAATU was comprised of three members: John Woloshuk, Terry Draper and Dee Long. Dee Long was a guest on an internet radio show called I-CAST on September 22, 2002. The show was created and hosted by Norm Berketa.
The Initiatives used to rehearse in a warehouse, situated in an industrial park near St. Laurent Blvd., Ottawa. A few bands shared the space, which kept costs down. One of the bands took up half the space, which they needed for their Marshall Stacks. They were a heavy metal band called EXCITER, and they are still rocking the world.
Between The Initiatives and his solo endeavours, Norm had a short stint in a band with a gal named Amy. Amy was a songwriter and bass player, and she also played with the Ottawa-area bands Static Beat and The Republic. Her stage name was "Paule", left over from her days in an all-girl Beatles cover band. Norm and Amy's band never really got off the ground, but they recorded at least two songs on 4-track. Presently, the tapes cannot be accounted for. (Thanks to Jeb for the correct information!)
Al's Garage was Paul Seale, Fred Hackett and Al. Norm was brought into the band by Fred. The band played a couple of parties, and then asked Al to leave. The trio became Silent Q, and shortly afterward Fred left to join Public Address, which left Paul and Norm. Greg Friend joined as keyboardist. Steven Bird joined as bassist, and Tony Chaangur joined as drummer. That was the line-up until the end of Silent Q.
Silent Q keyboardist, Greg Friend, had a small, pink, plastic pig that the band referred to as Tiny Wilbur. Greg kept Tiny Wilbur on his keyboards at all times, even during concerts. Tiny Wilbur was pretty much the band's mascot, although there was no argument... he belonged to Greg.
Norm and Paul wrote most of Silent Q's original material at Fifth Avenue Court, in the Glebe, Ottawa. It was just the place to sit, have coffee and write.
Silent Q got most of it's inspiration from a band called The Pushkins. They too were a cover/original ska/reggae band that played the Ottawa scene back in the 80s. In fact, Pushkins lead singer, Ron John, used to jam with Fred and Norm somewhere near the time of Al's Garage. Ron left to join The Pushkins and had much success with the band, and even recorded 3-song EP in studio. One of those songs, "Just Dancing", was co-written by Norm.
In 2005, three songs from "Waterboy" were entered into the National Song Writing Competition. They were "Dichotomy", "Disconnect Me" and "Arrive". None of them gained any mention.
Hayley Berketa decided to record "Attack" as her first song for her debut album, "Larger Than Life". The song represents her fascination with the 2005 release of "War Of The Worlds" with Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning and especially Justin Chatwyn (major crush). Hayley is a huge fan of this film, and is also a fan of the musical album by Jeff Wayne, and the original story by H.G. Wells. She wanted the song to reflect her feelings about the film. Personally, we're all glad she's recording the album... might keep the therapy expenses down later on!
When making the music video for "Arrive", both Buddy and Alphonso agreed to participate only if they didn't have to appear in the film, as both are quite shy. Buddy helped out with some of the driving and also lent a hand with the instruments. Alphonso did all the camera work and acted as co-director with Norm, who is the only member to appear in the video.
After this website was created, Buddy and Alphonso agreed to finally be photographed, but only if the final print was a silhouette. Again, out of respect to the boys, it is so.