BA Johnston is one crazy mother f*****, and his live show is in the same vein as his general character. Luckily, I got a hold of BA, and below is the correspondence that we had.
Can you describe yourself in a few sentences or less?
Sad, tired old nostalgia act playing the same bars for decades.
Where does the inspiration for your music come from?
I guess the inspiration really just comes from everyday life and everyday, crummy life experiences. As I age, I’ve started to write more songs about stuff that happened to me as a young dolt.
How would you describe your sound? Are there any bands that you take influence from?
I’m not sure how to really describe it. I guess the records are kind of weird pop music stuff. Bad wise, I don’t really take much influence from anyone mostly because I lack the skill to actually play an instrument well enough to rip anyone off. I guess lyrics wise, I do at times find inspiration from crummy punk bands that open for me in bars, the Burning hell and Daniel Johnston.
I have heard that your live show is quite the event; can you describe what people should expect?
Expect to be nominally entertained for a nominal fee.
Are there a few tips or warnings that you can offer to people looking to attend your show?
Drink heavily and wear clothes that can get dirty..
You reference Trent in your music, I assume you attended Trent U. Can you talk a bit about your experience there?
I did attend Trent and did get some kind of degree from there, though to be honest it was long time ago. I really enjoyed living in Peterborough. Hell of a town. Taught me how to drink as well as conditioned my body to exist sorely on pigs ear draft and night kitchen cheese slices.
How did that experience play into your music, and your general outlook on life?
I’m not sure it has any direct effect though I imagine living in Peterborough has contributed to the general crusty stew of my being.
What does the Peterborough music scene have to offer that other towns lack?
Peterborough is kinda unique in Canada as it has a large number of live music venues (Kingston for example really only has like 2 and Guelph has maybe 3), and the number of quality bands coming out of this tiny town is astounding. The number of bands tends to rise and fall with people graduating or leaving town, but at the moment has a ton of really good acts.
Where is your favourite place to play?
I really like playing bars that don’t treat musicians like turds and have a decent working sound system. Love the pig’s Ear, love the Red Dog. In the country my favourite bars right now are in no particular order:
1) Esquire tavern in Moncton NB
2) The ship in St. Johns NFLD
3) Moejoes in Whistler BC
4) This Aint Hollywood in Hamilton ON
5) Gus Pub in Halifax NS
Some people have described you as one of the most hard-working touring musicians. Do you enjoy that distinction?
I do tour a lot I think, but I’m not sure I tour anymore than anyone else. There are a lot of bands on the road, they just tour Europe and the states more than they do Regina, unlike myself who is always playing Regina.
How do you tour so much, and not get tired?
What gets you through all the long drives, and bullshit that touring brings. English breakfast tea, as much soup as I can stand, books on CD, and a sketchy van that always seem like it may explode making you too nervous to get comfortable.
Your music is very funny, do you look to put humour in the music, or does it just turn out that way?
If you make a sad miserable song funny, it’s easier to listen to sometimes. I also find you are very self-deprecating, why so sad BA? I’m not really sad, I’m just very self aware of the staggering limitations of my music and my live show.
What is your Favourite beer, and favourite liquor?
OV, Jameson’sJohnston will be playing The Pigs Ear Tavern on November 14th with The Beef Boys & MickFutures. The Show is only $3!
And as BA said, make sure to drink a lot, and be ready to get dirty.