Remembering Michael MacRae: The Man Behind Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern

Michael MacRae, better known as X-Ray, was a legendary figure in the Canadian music scene. As the talent buyer for Toronto’s iconic Horseshoe Tavern in the 1980s and 90s, he played a pivotal role in shaping the careers of many aspiring musicians.

While X-Ray was not a musician himself, he had an uncanny ability to spot the best sounds and give unproven Canadian acts a chance to perform at the Horseshoe. His cluttered office in the venue’s basement was filled with cassette tapes, each representing a potential opportunity for a young artist.

Getting a gig at the Horseshoe was no easy feat. Musicians would walk into X-Ray’s office, hopeful that their tapes would catch his attention. If his chubby fingers tapped the desk while listening, it meant the band had a chance.

X-Ray was not only responsible for curating the talent at the Horseshoe, but he also played a crucial role in reviving the venue itself. Alongside Kenny Sprackman and Richard Kruk, he took over the day-to-day operations, turning the Horseshoe into one of the most beloved music venues in Toronto.

His influence extended beyond the Horseshoe. X-Ray also had a stake in the nearby Ultrasound Showbar, another hotspot for up-and-coming Canadian talent. Many of the bands he fostered, such as Blue Rodeo and the Tragically Hip, went on to achieve great success in the Canadian music scene.

X-Ray’s impact on the industry cannot be overstated. He was a key player in the Canadian music scene, with his decisions having the power to make or break a band’s career. Today, many popular musicians can trace their success back to X-Ray’s support and guidance.

Sadly, X-Ray passed away on January 26, 2021, at the age of 74. His love for music and his larger-than-life personality will be remembered by all who knew him. The Horseshoe Tavern and the Canadian music industry have lost an irreplaceable figure, but his legacy lives on through the countless artists he helped along the way.

FAQ: Remembering X-Ray – A Legendary Figure in the Canadian Music Scene

1. Who was X-Ray?
X-Ray, whose real name was Michael MacRae, was a legendary figure in the Canadian music scene. He was the talent buyer for Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern in the 1980s and 90s.

2. What was X-Ray’s role at the Horseshoe Tavern?
X-Ray played a pivotal role in shaping the careers of many aspiring musicians by curating the talent at the Horseshoe Tavern. He had the ability to spot the best sounds and give unproven Canadian acts a chance to perform at the venue.

3. How did X-Ray decide which bands would perform at the Horseshoe Tavern?
Musicians would enter X-Ray’s cluttered office in the venue’s basement and hope that their cassette tapes would catch his attention. If X-Ray’s chubby fingers tapped the desk while listening, it meant the band had a chance.

4. Did X-Ray have an impact beyond the Horseshoe Tavern?
Yes, X-Ray also had a stake in the nearby Ultrasound Showbar, another popular venue for up-and-coming Canadian talent. Many of the bands he fostered, such as Blue Rodeo and the Tragically Hip, went on to achieve great success in the Canadian music scene.

5. What was X-Ray’s legacy?
X-Ray’s influence on the Canadian music industry cannot be overstated. His decisions had the power to make or break a band’s career. Today, many popular musicians can trace their success back to X-Ray’s support and guidance.

Key Terms/Jargon:
– Talent buyer: A person responsible for selecting and booking artists or performers for a venue or event.
– Cassette tapes: Magnetic tapes used for audio recording and playback. In the context of the article, musicians would provide their music on cassette tapes to X-Ray.

Related Links:
The Horseshoe Tavern
Canadian Music Hall of Fame