B.A. Johnston Coming to the Park Hotel


Nick Murray

B.A. Johnston w/ Johnny 2 Fingers & the Deformities @ the Park Hotel 


Hamilton's B.A. Johnston is one of the more exciting musical acts the country has to offer. Now, that's not "exciting" in the sense that there will be pyrotechnics and hit after hit of tight, flawless, ground-breaking music. It's more "exciting" in that it's outlandish comedic performance art. It's over-the-top goofball theatrics, it's silly yet remarkable songs, typically about things all Canadians can relate to; rife with pop culture references and odes to fast food joints and video game systems.

B.A. Johnston is bringing his show to the Park Hotel right here in Moose Jaw.

It's not B.A's first time in the band city though; he's got a particular history here.

"Once, I took too long at a Tim Hortons and my greyhound bus left me there" he said.

It's possible that in that fateful moment he was inspired to write his song "As I am in Tim Hortons I Realize I Hate Tim Hortons"

B.A. has been touring and writing quirky songs like this for a long time now, his first album came out in 2003 and he has recorded nine since then. His most recent release, Gremlinz 3, is the one he is on tour in support of. It's filled with great songs like "Alley Beers", "Drive Thru Beef", "Too Messed up to be in this Canoe" and another one that may or may not be slightly influenced by Moose Jaw, "Saskatchewan".

About recording the album, he said, "I really hate recording, so mostly I just wanted it to be done. Which is also how people feel when they listen to the record."

You can judge that for yourself, though: Gremlinz 3

Officially it's called the "Somewhere in Taco Time" tour.

He is known for being quite the joker and doing strange things during performances. He is moderately overweight and often wears no shirt and a sailor's cap. He rolls around on dirty floors and covers himself in beer and whatever other liquids can be found near the stage. Vice strangely called him "Canada's Answer to GG Allin", which I think is more than a little unfair. GG Allin was an 80s punk rocker who routinely ate his own feces, slept with underage girls, assaulted people on stage and injected heroin into his veins.  In no way is the comparison to B.A. even remotely accurate. B.A has a vandalized guitar, a kid's keyboard and a synthesizer; he has a good time; plays wild party music and has no problem keeping a crowd entertained. But he isn't a blood soaked, violent psychopath.

When asked how he felt about the comparison, B.A said "I kinda wish people just said I was like a fat male Grimes".

On a higher, more complimentary note, the Globe & Mail once questioned of him whether he was "the new Stomping Tom Connors" ; which, in a sense, is sort of accurate. The two musicians clearly have many differences but they are both prolific songwriters penning light-hearted tunes that are ultimately about the Canadian experience.

When asked how he felt about the comparison to that Canadian song-writing legend, B.A. said " I mean, I guess it's better than GG but aside from us both writing songs about Canadiana and both of us drinking beer a lot, I'm not sure again. I mean, the man was basically the best."


B.A. plays a strange show, and is no stranger to playing in strange locations but none stranger, he said, than a birthday party for 12 year olds, in Port Sydney, Ontario, on a deck beside an above-ground pool, where he was paid in Hot Dogs.

The show, on June 17th, at the Park Hotel, shouldn't be anything like that.  He is playing alongside "the B.A. Johnston of the prairies", Johnny 2 Fingers and his Deformities. B.A, "the Johnny 2 Fingers of Hamilton" says they are "the greatest rock show in the land" and that here in Moose Jaw, us "crumbbums are lucky to have him and his band in town on the reg."

Johnny 2 Fingers will also be joining B.A. for shows at O'Hanlons in Regina (June 15) and Amigos in Saskatoon (June 16)

When his tour is complete, B.A. will return to Hamilton, where he lives with his mother and will do so until she sues him.

Here is his hilarious video for "Drive Thru Beef"