Remembering Blair Tulk: 1986 – 2015
Note from the Editors: On April 19th 2015 the community of St. John’s lost a beloved friend, musician and all around force of positivity with the early passing of Mr. Blair Tulk.
Blair was a source of sincere passion, which was reflected in the fourteen years he gave us with his punk rock band First Offence, and he genuinely radiated positive energy in every aspect of his young life.
Our deepest thoughts and condolences are with his family and loved ones.
Carbonear, the summer of 2013 (or 2012? I don’t remember….).
It’s odd to think of because now she can’t seem to get rid of me, but this was one of the first occasions I had spent time with Kristina. Blair, Brad and Devon’s band First Offence were playing early, while the headliners that day were a Kiss tribute band. Adam Baxter, the emcee, informed me they insisted on being referred to as a tribute band and not a cover band, a distinction they held in the highest regard.
When the Kiss tribute was done, 6 or 5 or 8 or some weird number of strange ladies swarmed the entrance to the stage while Joanne, Kristina, Devon and I sat outside the fence sipping beers and laughing about anything at all.
When First Offence played, the constant du-caw du-caw of the drumbeat pushed the drum set forward, making it necessary to pause between each song to readjust. This was time Blair filled with banter about how happy he was to play punk rock music in general. On this particular day, in Carbonear to the 12 or 13 people oddly scattered about the large field —this was a fact Blair didn’t stop to consider.
Apparently he was so stoked all the time, about punk rock, that he would stop mid-song when First Offence jammed while Devon sat on his drum throne, confused as to what happened, only to have Blair tell him it was just so amazing that he had to stop.
Rewind 8 or 9 years from that point and I’m meeting Blair and Brad for the first time. My friend Guzzwell had mentioned these oddballs to me before but I was not prepared for what was about to happen.
Don’t get me wrong, nothing extreme happened other than a wiry young grouch (me) having his piss-poor attitude toward life being challenged by the most positive person on the planet — a dude who greeted everyone with a fist-bump no matter how hard they tried not to.
Blair’s fist bump was a calculated diamond. When people tried to ignore it he would wait there, patiently with a smile on his face, for you to reciprocate, no matter how long it took. When you would inevitably hang-up your hang-ups and give in you always felt better. Why? Because Blair was hilariously strange. I began to look forward to that fist-bump.
When someone dies, it’s always hard — young or old, it doesn’t matter, it’s fucking hard. But when Blair Tulk died I didn’t understand anything about anything anymore. This couldn’t be real and yet it was. We’re simply left now with his beautiful and important memory.
I touched his shoulder at his wake, shed some tears and hugged a lot of people. The place was crowded, which was of no surprise, and we all tried to wrap our heads around the situation we all reluctantly found ourselves in.
The last time I had seen Blair was at Costco, the worst place on earth as far as I’m concerned. My daughter was and still is quite young. I wanted to introduce them but something kept me back from doing so. I don’t know what, but for some reason it didn’t seem right at the time.
At Blair’s funeral they played a song he recorded for a project about teaching kids with special needs called “We’re All Beautiful People.” I wasn’t with my daughter when this was played because she had started making noise and my wife took her downstairs to occupy her while everyone grieved. My mind began racing when she didn’t come back after several minutes.
What had happened to my wife and child? Surely they were ok…. but if terrible things can happen, as evidenced by the situation we all found ourselves in, then it’s possible that they had happened to my wife and child. I felt the urge to run and find them but Blair’s brother Brad was about to get up and speak, and I knew myself as someone who was overwrought with paranoia anyway so I should just try and settle down.
Later, my wife told me that Alina, our daughter, was dancing while they played that song. I love them both so much.
The thing is, Blair’s not truly gone. Anyone and everyone who ever met him still know him. His attitude and passion were truly inspiring… Like seriously, no two-ways about it, for sure, absolutely inspiring. Not, ‘he was a nice guy’ inspiring but ‘he was the best fucking guy on the face of this planet, for real, period’ inspiring.
We’ll all continue to love and miss Blair Tulk. My sincere condolences to his brother Brad, his mother Pauline and father Bert, his entire family, his friends, his students and anyone who ever met him because to know him was to love him — straight up.
Rest in peace brother man, you’ll always be the coolest guy around.
Blair Tulk, March 14th, 1986 – April 19th, 2015.