Greg Rekus and the Not-So-Subtle Art of Loitering
Sun Jan 7 @ 7:30/ Bobby's Place. W/ Tim Holehouse, Underclass Exiles and Sam Cole
For one man, Greg Rekus sure makes a lot of sound. Usually, when he tours, it's just him, his guitar, a tambourine and a wooden board for stomping on. But that minimalism hasn't been a hindrance on developing a sturdy following of people from hanging on to his every lyric.
Some people would call his music punk-rock, then they might be forced to think again, because how the hell can you play punk-rock when you're in a band all by yourself and you don't even have an electric guitar? But, alas, punk-rock it is. At least until somebody comes up with a better term for it.
Winnipeg's Greg Rekus is touring in support of his latest album, Sibling Cities. But he is on tour without the support of his backing band; The Inside Job, and once you get a load of his touring retinue you might understand why. Rekus is a workaholic who digs sleeping in his van and on strangers couches. In 2017, he spent seven months on the road and played 158 shows. I caught up with Greg to discuss touring, vegan rice bowls and the not-so-subtle art of loitering at Panera Bread.
You're a hard-working guy with quite the jam-packed touring schedule. In fact, you just played in Moose Jaw during the summer, you played at the Park Hotel, and you're back again already. Can you tell me a thing or two about your touring schedule?
I try to put out an album every three years. Usually the release year, and the year after, I do a big Western Canada/West coast States-thing, which is the tour I'm about to embark on. In the spring time I like to hit the Mid-west USA, before heading to the UK and mainland Europe. Summer time is when I work. I'm an audio engineer for a production company called Sound Art, in Winnipeg, and they keep me very VERY busy in the summer. In the fall, there are a few festivals I've been playing over the years so I usually wander around North America for most of the fall and get back for December.
What is the average day on the road like?
The average good day I get to sleep in until almost noon. I wake up and say thanks to the nice person who let me crash at their place, or sometimes I sleep in my van at a truck stop. Van sleeping is actually very comfortable, you can kinda turn the world off for a few hours. I try to book the cities I play close together, so my average drive isn't more then a few hours. Usually I don't have to leave until after one. First I hit a grocery store and decide what's for lunch. I have a small oven in the van, that resembles those plastic lunch kits from the 90s. I eat vegan, so i make a lot of rice bowls. I'm a frequent listener of Democracy Now, so I usually listen to that at the start of my drive. Then I arrive in the city I'm booked to play in. If I have time, I go to a Panera Bread to use the internet. Panera Bread is great. A small tea is under $2 and I've sat there for up to six hours and they never ask you to leave.
Why Moose Jaw? What about the city makes you want to keep coming back?
There is a great music scene in moose jaw! Great people keep it going and it's a perfect stop before heading on to Alberta. I've never played a show where no one came, and my friends and fans there have always been very supportive; giving me a place to stay and making sure the show is organized and advertised.
On your newest album, Sibling Cities, you have shed the solo-acoustic sound for a full band. What made you decide to go down that route, and in relation to your previous works, how do you feel about this album?
I love my live show and I very much enjoy doing the solo thing. however, when you take the album home so many of the elements of my live show are missing; the crowd, the spontaneous chaos, the energy. Even a live album could never quite capture it. I wanted the songs to be as big as they could be and to reach their full potential and I thought collaborating with other musicians was the best way to do it.
Let's try something fun here. Recommend some things for the readers. A book, an album and a movie.
Book: The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen Hawking
Album: Mikey Erg's "Tentative Decisions"
Movie: The Big Lebowski