Photograph by Femke, of Petunia at Slickity Jim's (RIP). Not to be reused without permission
Not many yodeling cowboys in this here town, and the chances to see them perform with a singing saw player, a Theremin player, a washtub bass and a violin are few and far between. There's only about one guy that I know of who offers that. Before Petunia "takes to the tracks" on his train tour with the Minimalist Jug Band, thereby ending his tenure at Cafe Montmartre - at least for the summer, which he plans to spend on the road and on the rails - you have only a couple of chances to see him perform. Friday, May 7th, he'll be performing at Little Mountain Studios (195 E. 26th/Main) with his regular band The Vipers (no Theremin there - it's a different band from the one over which I am drooling). The special lineup plays on May 9th at Cafe Montmartre (Main/28th), dubbed Petunia's Valentine Glisse Orchestra - making "slippy, slidy, glissy" music with Fiona Salon on Theremin, Bronwen Jones on singing saw, and Marc L'Esperance on fiddle. Oh, and you-know-who on washtub bass.
Since at least a few of Al Mader's songs will feature during these gigs, I asked Petunia what his favourite song by Al ("so far") is. He says it's "Go, Boy" off the last album, Naive Ville (which I reviewed here). "I thought it was about me. And I talked to other musicians, and I talked to Al, and he said he's had the same - like, people come up to him and say, 'is that about me?' He starts off the song, 'Kicking Horse or Crow's Nest Pass - it's neither here nor there, you wanna be gone fast. Comin' back was a big mistake, this town don't give, it only takes." He's talking about what it's like to be a musician in Vancouver, or anywhere, as an artist. It always seems like you gotta get out of town and go. But you can't - where you gonna go, in Canada? It costs so much money, and it's difficult to get around..."
So the song wasn't actually about Petunia then? "It falls into a lot of people's pockets," Petunia tells me. I think I know what he means...