Canadian rock legend, survivor, inspirational speaker
While fronting one of Canada's greatest rock bands, The Guess Who, rocker Carl Dixon's journey to the top of the international rock industry took an unexpected and crushing turn.
On April 14 2008, while recording a song in Melbourne, Australia, Carl Dixon was blindsided by an accident that was to become his greatest test yet. On a quiet dark country road Carl had a memory lapse about driving in the left lane and had a head-on collision with another motorist.
Trauma Unit doctors worked for over 35 hours on his unconscious and mangled body. The initial prognosis included possible brain damage, complete blindness, amputation of an arm and a leg, quadriplegia and expiration on the table from blood loss.
Carl's family and friends prepared for the worst. When he awoke from his 10-day coma in hospital, there was serious doubt he'd walk or talk again, let alone play guitar on the international stage. Yet, despite his numerous and horrific injuries, none of these outcomes occurred.
Carl Dixon spent five months in two Australian hospitals undergoing rehabilitation, spending countless hours of painful physiotherapy and skin and bone grafts before heading home to Canada. The serious head injury meant a slow re-learning of words, music and the finger-work to play guitar again.
Since then, Carl, with a glass eye and patchwork of titanium body parts in his legs, arm and head, has returned to the stage as an inspirational speaker, author and successful musician.
His breakout 1980's band Coney Hatch promised to reform if Carl survived. True to their word they secured a record deal and recorded the album Four with Carl as lead singer, songwriter and guitarist, receiving rave reviews on both sides of The Atlantic.
Carl's autobiography Strange Way to Live: A Story of Rock 'n' Roll Resurrection was published in January 2015.
Carl's powerful and very personal keynote address focuses on positivity, teamwork and worker safety. It's an inspiring story of willpower and positivity and Carl engages the audience through a mix of story and song, humour and a commanding stage presence.
Carl almost instinctively tailored his message to enhance our key message that zero injuries are achievable. He also showed how a few seconds of not focusing on the right thing can result in a life changing experience. His presentation style is engaging and the emotion of his very personal incident captivated the audience which gave him two standing ovations. If your company needs a powerful message mixed in with world-class music for entertainment, then I believe that Carl Dixon may be your best choice – I highly recommend him.
Carl Dixon was a keynote speaker at our Global TapRoot® Summit. Carl shared his riveting account about his life as a musician who, faced with overcoming catastrophic injuries sustained in an automobile accident, triumphantly returned to music. Carl also rocked our reception with a solo acoustic set that included his original music and well-known classics providing an unforgettable evening of inspiration and entertainment. I highly recommend Carl Dixon for professional keynote speaking engagements. He goes the extra mile, and is passionate about both his music and his message. We look forward to working with him again.
System Improvements, Inc.
Thank you for inviting me to attend Beyond the Open Door with Carl Dixon. The evening surpassed my expectations and made me glad I had braved the snowstorm to attend. Hearing Carl's story was incredibly moving, and the way Carl was able to incorporate his songs into the conversation made the evening a wonderfully meaningful journey. Having the opportunity to hear Carl's music in an intimate, storytelling setting like Beyond the Open Door has made me come to appreciate Carl's talent in a whole new way. I would recommend Beyond the Open Door to anyone who appreciates good music, an inspirational story, and just an all round great evening of entertainment.
To the utter delight of everyone there, Carl wove his beautiful music seamlessly into his talk, providing a depth of feeling one seldom gets to experience first-hand. I have been working in the field of rehabilitation for the past 33 years, and have been speaking professionally for most of that time. From my perspective as a practitioner-patient-survivor, Carl’s compelling and profound story is engaging, enlightening, and moving. He is well-spoken, intelligent and so very enjoyable to listen to. Carl already knows how to connect with an audience, and his professional grace on-stage is obvious. Carl’s story is one that I believe everyone must hear.
Northern Lights Canada
Wow, an incredible story!” Your warm and honest delivery of your life before and after the accident, pulled the audience into a very “real” story. You were careful to remind them how important it is to always stay focused without preaching to them. We especially enjoyed the entertaining element of your keynote with the power of song. This was very engaging for the audience! Our attendees were still talking about Carl the next day!
Carl is a passionate speaker that inspired and entertained the audience in his presentations. I have included some excerpts from our delegate evaluations below: “Very powerful message about how a moment of distraction can change your life forever” “Wanting to get back what he may have lost, Mr. Dixon is a real life example of the indomitable human spirit” “Touching, moving, a perfect end to the conference” Carl’s presentation will capture the audience’s attention from many different perspectives as he talks from the perspective of a professional musician, a person and a patient
Annual Industrial Safety Seminar
Absolutely incredible is Carl’s Story that he shared with hundreds of attendees at the National Utility Training and Safety Education Association (NUTSEA) Annual. Carl’s journey from his youth to world-class rock star, then to the event that changed his life forever. The audience of safety and training professionals listened as Carl delivered an emotion filled message all the while drawing parallels between his personal incident and challenges we face at our workplace. His interactive style was so compelling as he spoke of lack of focus, distractions, teamwork, job briefings and planning. The connection was immediate. Carl displayed his gifts and talents by incorporating songs during the story. Such a passionate and exceptionally gifted speaker! We look forward to working with Carl again in the near future.