Ilya S. Savenok, Getty Images The sad news came across late Wednesday afternoon…
- Posted on Jun 16th 2010 3:30PM by Lonny Knapp
He dropped his handle in favour of the name his mother gave him and nowadays Rich Terfry spins songwriter-centric folk tunes as host of the popular afternoon radio program Radio 2 Drive on CBC Radio 2.
But 20 years after his debut, Terfry has returned to the world of commercial music with a vengeance. To celebrate the milestone, Buck 65 is returning to NXNE, releasing his first-ever DVD, 'The Lost Tapes,' launching a series of four-song digital EPs culminating with a physical album, '20 Odd Years' and heading out on a 20-country world tour.
"Twenty is the magic number, and I want to devote this whole year to celebrating my 20 years as a rap weirdo and international romantic," Buck 65 tells Spinner.
'The Lost Tapes' features behind-the-scenes footage and live performances captured on the Canadian leg of his 2007 tour. Combining this footage with animation, award-winning director Christopher Mills injects a dream-like quality and ties together a loose narrative based on the real-life theft of video tapes from a Buck 65 show in 2008. If the film works on any level, Buck 65 credits the director.
"We were just shooting anything we could along the way and I could never guess it would turn out the way it did," he says. "He just compiled the footage and he let his imagination go crazy."
Packaged with the DVD is the EP '20 Odd Years: Volume 1 -- Avant.' On this first installment, singer Jenn Grant tempers Buck 65's gruff delivery with a sweet melody on the track 'Who by Fire,' while Coral Osborne, daughter of 54-40 frontman Neil Osborne, shows up on the banjo laced 'Red Eyed Son.'
Indeed, the vast majority of tracks on the forthcoming '20 Odd Years' are collaborations. Terfry set out to "work with talented musicians of all stripes," and he recruited singers such as Gord Downie, Meaghan Smith, John Southworth and Gentleman Reg to add a quality elusive from his previous offerings. The result might be his most accessible offering to date.
"When I sat down to make this record the first thing that crossed my mind was melody," Terfry explains. "I have ideas to spare, but I wasn't born with any God-given talent whatsoever. Knowing my limits, I knew I should accept help wherever I could get it," he jokes.
Buck 65 is taking a sabbatical from his radio hosting duties and will soon embark on a sweeping world tour. While the record features a slew of guest musicians, fans around the world should expect these live performances to be an intimate affair.
"In some cases the guest vocal part is integral to the song, but unfortunately I can't take Gord Downie, Gentleman Reg, and Jenn Grant on tour with me," he says.
Charged with the task of reproducing these new tracks live, Buck 65 searched out a singer that could cover all the bases. In the end he recruited, Toronto-based singer-songwriter Valery Gore, whose eclectic 2008 release, 'Avalanche to Wandering Bear,' combines jazz, pop and rock elements.
"My head is filled with ambitious dreams, but when you are an artist at my level there are financial realities that keep you in place," Terfry admits. "So I had to think of one vocalist I knew who could sing guys parts and girls parts, and be silly one moment and serious the next. I tracked her down, made the proposal, and she accepted. She'll be coming all around the world with me."
While traveling the globe with an entourage of talented musicians in tow is out of the question, Buck 65 will bring a cameraman along for the ride. That footage might eventually become a follow up to 'The Lost Tapes,' and will further document the career of one of Canada's most enduring, innovative and influential hip-hop artists.
"I want to document this whole crazy journey," he said.
Buck 65 plays the Rivoli in Toronto on Thurs. June 17 at 11PM as part of NXNE.