This one-man band magically meshes punk and folk
Greg Rekus is heading to Hawaii and back again to celebrate the release of his album Punkoustic. Beginning in Winnipeg, Rekus heads west, stopping in Regina on Jan. 10 at the Fat Badger. After playing western Canada, he will dip down into California and will ultimately play in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Rekus is definitely a unique artist. Combining punk and folk music, he plays acoustic guitar, sings, and literally stomps on a wooden box with tambourines attached so he can give beats to his music.
“I like to think that I subconsciously channeled Stompin’ Tom Connors out in the astral plane, and he bestowed the task of stomping on me,” Rekus explained when I wrote to him in bewildered admiration of his stomp box.
Folk and punk seem like unlikely musical partners, but Rekus says combining the two genres gives him the freedom to play pretty much anything that he likes.
“I think one thing they both have in common is rebellion,” says Rekus. “They are also both very broad musically and have expanded so much since their inceptions. I feel like I can write almost anything that I like musically, and it still fits what I’m doing.”
The freedom and intensity of punk bands from the ‘90s is what really inspires Rekus’ own energetic performance.
“A lot of the musical influence or inspiration was that all these bands were just going for it,” says Rekus. “That is the passion that I hope I can borrow from them and carry on in my show ‘til my fingers fall off and my vocal chords dry up and shatter into a million pieces.”
As a one-man show, Rekus is loud and a ton of fun, but being a solo artist can be difficult at times. Proving yourself as a serious artist can be hard when you are on your own.
Rekus says, “A lot of the solo people that have had, or are having, success were usually in a popular band or some kind of previous project that gives them ‘cred’ and something to catapult off of. I really feel I started at the bottom in the whole solo guy world.”
On the positive side, Rekus says organizing longer tours is easier as a solo act, and if there is one thing to know about Rekus, it is that he loves performing.
“I think I’ve played almost 450 shows as my solo act, and it’s still the most fun I’ve ever had,” says Rekus. “There is something amazing about trying to entertain people, about performing songs that you have written, and [about] really connecting with people on another level.”
Whether you like punk or folk music, or are really curious to see how a stomp box works, check out Greg Rekus’ show this Saturday. Though you may not be as lucky as Rekus is to escape the frigid temperatures and head to Hawaii, perhaps you can dance or drink enough to imagine you are there.
As Rekus says, “Leave all your insecurities and egos at the door and dance like no one is watching. I promise you will have the time of your life! If everyone is kind of up tight, however, it’s just going to be a weirdo from Winnipeg dancing around alone on a piece of wood.”