Michael Bublé: Doritos and 'dirty movies' don't mix
And other deep thoughts from backstage at the Junos
Nicholas Köhler | Apr 7, 2008 | 19:21:53
It was a cruel irony that, just a week before Calgary hosted the 2008 Juno Awards—an event that prompted the Calgary Arts Development to coin the slogan, “Calgary. Music Lives Here”—that music actually died a little bit in the Alberta oil patch capital.
A Bar Named Sue, a little hole on 4th St. SW, just north of the Red Mile, closed its doors for the last time March 29, reportedly due to a noise dispute with the building’s owner. It had been the best, most rustic watering hole in town and a venue for Calgary’s robust alt-country and roots scene. Named after the tongue-in-cheek Johnny Cash song about a father’s last-ditch effort to toughen up the boy he was about to abandon, the bar was a scene more than a drinking spot and featured live music, much of it acoustic, every night of the week.
On Saturdays, the little place, with its electric train looping the rafters, was crammed with oilpatch executives, motorcycle gang members, touring thespians, environmental activists, hard-core drinkers, computer programmers—in short, the craziest mixed crowd you’d ever seen but one that, at least for a while, captured the spirit of boomtime Calgary.
Then, over the last weekend, with the Sue now gone, Calgary hosted the Junos, a weak simulacrum. A hoard of deliberately bad Toronto haircuts descended on Cowtown, a term the hoard used with abandon, to show the rubes how it really ought to be done. Give me A Bar Named Sue. Please. The only thing worse than watching the Junos without getting paid is watching them for money on a CTV feed, with a six-second delay, while herded in a media pen backstage at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
The results of the awards were as ironic as what Leslie Feist termed her “ironic prom dress thing,” her Juno ensemble, a garb of cream and spangled gold and silver. The results were also as unsurprising.
Calgary-bred Feist, a little slip of a woman, picked up five awards, then told reporters of how she’d strapped on her Doc Martins and took to the stage as a 16-year-old in a tough neighbourhood not far from the Saddledome to bark into a microphone fronting a punk band. She’d seen her first concert at the Saddledome as an eight year old—Tina Turner. Around the corner from the Saddledome, also on 4th St. SW, is the Subway sandwich shop where she and a number of other Calgary punk stalwarts once earned pocket money.
Feist eventually abandoned Calgary for Toronto, where she lived in a decrepit little apartment above a sex shop on Queen W. with fellow singer Peaches. Both women would leave Canada for Europe—Peaches to develop something of a following with her deliciously filthy electronica, Feist to re-brand herself as a latter-day torch songstress.
On the Juno stage Sunday night, in the midst of whispering the lyrics of the Nina Simone classic Sealion Woman, Feist then treated us to the truly rare—a female cutting into a lengthy guitar solo. Feist said her awards go directly to her mother’s house in Calgary. “Like a good daughter, I come home.”
Thank Gawd for the irreverent commentary of crooner Michael Bublé, winner of the Doritos-sponsored Juno Fan Choice Award. “I’d like to thank Doritos for making such tasty treats,” he told the crowd as he accepted the bauble. “Sometimes when I eat them it makes my fingers go orange—but it’s worth it.” Backstage, Bublé showed less restraint. Don’t, he cautioned, eat Doritos while watching “dirty movies.” It was a classless comment, and he owned up to it. “I’m Michael Bublé, I’m not Feist,” he told reporters. Indeed, the statement “I’m Michael Bublé” became his mantra. “I just kept kicking the shit out of myself for not writing 1234,” he said. What did he think of Alberta? He likes, he told reporters, the girls. “Especially when they grow those little Lanny McDonald moustaches.” Huh? "I'm Michael Bublé."