Why I’m Stoked to Play SappyFest
I have never considered myself a serious musician, and I have never imagined that anyone else would ever take my music seriously either. Yet for some reason, this year I will be playing on the main stage at SappyFest X. Considering the calibre of musicians that I have seen on that same stage over the years, this is an exciting but terrifying prospect. More than anything, I am confused as to why a festival that has garnered such critical acclaim over the past decade would want my band to play. I’ve thought about it everyday since the spring when Lucas emailed me to say that my band, Jacuzzi Perth, would be playing. I am simultaneously stoked and baffled.
This will be my fifth Sappy. In the years since I first started going, I’ve become closer and closer with the crew of locals that that keep the music scene alive in Sackville. One might be inclined to say I have become one of them. When I first moved to Sackville I would go down to shows at George’s Roadhouse and I remember feeling like I would never truly become part of that scene, that I would always be an outsider. I would never be good enough to play in a band at George’s. I would see the classic Sackville music man known as Scott Brown from across the bar and think to myself, we will never be buddies, I will never be that cool.
It’s amazing how quickly things change. I played George’s several times before it closed, and at a certain point playing shows just became a part of my life. Now I can’t seem to go a day without hanging out with Scott Brown in some capacity. This is probably because we play together in pretty much every band in town. It sometimes feels like an exhausting part-time job where we make no money but have a bunch of fun with our friends. It rules. We get to back up local favourites like Jon Mckiel and Partner, but also somehow get away with having our own awful band called Jacuzzi Birth. I am sincerely baffled by anyone who is impressed by a Jacuzzi Birth show, but we do it because it is fun and if people want to pay five bucks to watch us learn covers on stage in the Thunder & Lightning bowling alley, then that is just fine with me.
Anyways, I digress. This is supposed to be about SappyFest, the rad music festival, not about the weird comedy that is otherwise known as mine and Scott’s musical friendship.
However, I did meet Scott Brown for the first time at Sappy 7, so maybe I’m not so off topic. We were both asked to move a bass amp from the bandstand in the park to Cranewood for the backyard barbecue show. It probably could have been handled by just one of us, but we made it work. One of us carried the head while the other wheeled the cabinet down the street. Sometimes I think that if we both hadn’t been asked to do that simple task, our lives would have been completely different, two musicians drifting through life, unaware of the untapped potential we both had to make weird music together. I don’t want to imagine the alternate universe where this happens and we never form Jacuzzi Birth. Thanks, Sappy. My awful band wouldn’t exist without you.
When I moved away for the school year, Jacuzzi Birth more or less stopped being a thing. Luckily I moved to Perth, Ontario, so the name for my new solo project would clearly be Jacuzzi Perth. Over that year I mostly wrote sad songs about being bored and alone in rural Ontario. Some of them are more upbeat than others, but overall, that is the general theme. It
has been strange transitioning into writing music that is more sentimental and sincere, after
making primarily outrageous punk rock. I can’t quite tell if anyone actually gives a shit about my music, but I don’t really care. It’s a fun way to hang out with my friends and that is the way I have always felt.
Some of the best shows I have ever seen have been at SappyFest, but what I always remember and look forward to the most is the time I get to spend with my friends. Since well
before I was around, Sappy was primarily about getting a group of friends together. The music is a catalyst, kind of like that bass amp that Scott and I moved together. I’m going into this weekend with more anxiety than ever before. I am terrified that my set will go poorly; that nobody will like my music, or worse, that nobody will laugh as the set inevitably turns into a train wreck. But all that is secondary, because mostly I’m just stoked to hang out with my buddies.