This week’s column comes during a whirlwind of activity for yours truly. Here we are, about a week away from one of the biggest weekends of my life — Ridgefest!
But doesn’t it always happen that when you get busy and you hope you don’t get any busier — BOOM, things get busier?
Just as I’m putting the finishing touches on the big event also known as RF9 (which, by the way, will now boast no fewer than 16 music acts), I get some new matters to deal with on my already congested "to do" list.
Last week I was blitzed with three major interviews with notable rockers.
Josh Todd, the lead singer for Buckcherry, called for a pre-show chat before they hammered out their hits at Houstons (check my blog for the audio version @ kx96online.com).
I also lined up a convo with Brian Vollmer of Helix. They’re coming to town later this month, so watch for a future feature article on those hard rockin’ cats from Ontario.
Last but surely not least, I had a fun Q & A session with hard-rock chick extraordinaire and former Manitoban Bif Naked. She now resides in Vancouver, and recently called while prepping for a string of gigs this month that includes her Friday night show at The 40.
During our chat, she assured me that she’ll be plugging in and proceeding to deliver a hard rock, high adrenalin, boot-to-the-face rock show as only she can deliver.
To get us stoked for Friday night’s show, here is a portion of our conversation…
Frank: The last time we spoke was just before your performance at Rockin’ the Fields of Minnedosa here in Manitoba, your old stomping grounds. As I recall, you were jumping on a jet plane. Are you just getting off one now? Or where are you?
Bif: Yes I am — we are on our way to Toronto right now. We are just getting settled into a rehearsal space and going to rehearse for a big show that we have here on Friday. Then we head to Alberta the very next day for our Canada Day show, up in Athabasca, then Yorkton, then we see you.
Yeah, next Friday at The 40. You know, Bif, I have had the pleasure of chatting with you twice before this, and I find it odd as I was getting questions ready to go the other night, I have never asked you about your name. Now obviously for your hardcore long-time fans it’s a duh moment, but what are the origins of it? Is it true people were just mispronouncing your name?
Yes, in Grade 8. It was a friend’s cousin, I believe, he was from England, and he kept calling me "Beff."
Alright, so I thought that there was something maybe a little bit more to it or I was reading into it the wrong way.
No, it was really that simple and that’s kind of how it started.
So what about the naked part?
Oh, that was just part of my punk rock last name when I got into a band, because all the guys had these really provocative names and at that time in my life, I wanted something that made me stand out as a girl singing in their punk rock band. So, of course, having ‘come see Bif Naked’ on their posters meant people could come see the girl singer.
Gotcha. It’s got a great sound, it’s impactful and paints a nice picture, too. Although these days, if you Google it, you might come up with something a little bit more sordid.
Oh, I am telling you, but I am in the skin-cyclopedia.
What’s that all about?
I don’t know anything about it other that it’s a publication that lists actresses if they have ever had a nude scene.
Speaking of skin, how many tats do you have and what is your favourite tattoo for all the tat fans out there?
I think I have about 50 or more, cause, come on, I am 40 — I have been tattooed a long time, I am a good prairie girl. I think my favourite tattoo is the one on my back. It’s the Taj Mahal, and it’s done in the custom Russian look. So even though it’s the Taj Mahal, the domes basically are supposed to represent the years that you spent suffering for your cause.
What’s the longest tat session that you’ve sat through?
Seven and a half hours — that one is easy to remember. Back in the day, when we were young girls, we didn’t know any better. I sat for a forearm tattoo once. I knew I wouldn’t go back to him ever again but I needed to sit there until it was finished. Your endorphins wear off — you just gotta man up, basically suck it up and sit there.
Will you ever get more ink?
Yes, I had to recently cancel a tattoo appointment. I had kidney failure two and a half months ago and as a result wound up in emergency. I thought I had appendicitis, but who knew my kidney was dying? They wound up doing heart surgery on me, and as a result of that, I had to cancel a tattoo appointment I had booked for the very next week. I had to cancel on my guy, I was like you’re not going to believe this, I’m in the hospital. I still haven’t been able to reschedule it because they had me on this heart medication and all these blood thinners, just a bunch of cockamamie stuff and so now I have discarded it for the summer. So I am hoping that I can re-book that appointment with him, and work on my back piece.
But you managed to battle back again. Amazing, you are such a trooper. They should put your picture beside that word in the dictionary. What is with all these tough breaks, Bif?
I know, you’d think that after the (breast) cancer, I’d get a break. No, you never get a break in life, and that’s life. So I gotta say that I’m just really grateful that I didn’t croak this year. What would happen to my little dog? And you know, I can’t break my mother’s heart, in that way, that’s for sure. Oh, and you can hear it getting noisy around here. I am at a fancy rehearsal studio in Toronto and lots of bands rehearse here, including Billy Talent and Three Days Grace, so it’s like a gong show. Again, I think I am the only girl — I should have dressed up.
But no, you go as Bif Naked.
Has your approach to your career changed since battling and beating breast cancer?
I think if I ever get cancer again, I am gonna do it so much differently because I am a pragmatic science geek. Now I view it very clinically. It brought me into my life of volunteering in cancer care and with patient advocacy, and had I not had a cancer diagnosis myself, I never would have been thrust into that world long enough to discover my passion for it. If I was told tomorrow that I would never be able to do a rock show again, I would just go and start working at the hospital because that’s where I spend all my time when I am with my senior dog. I just love it — I just love working with patients, I love working in palliative care. I just think everything happens for a reason and I’m always going to be really grateful to have had experience with cancer because it brought me into my work with patients.
That kind of covers my next question. I was going to ask you how do you like spending time off the stage?
I love it. I can’t get enough and I can’t stop myself. You know I always say I learn every day and I’m learning as I go along.
*** The full interview is available on my blog at: www.kx96online.com — check it out sometime. Among a multitude of topics we cover are: her ballet training from back in the day, her love for classic Slayer, her motivational speaking experiences, her dating woes and why she won’t sign on to plenty of fish. She’s such a fun interview and I always enjoy chatting with her. I’m sure Bif’s fans will enjoy listening to our conversation.
Next week in Happenings, we’ll have the entire Ridgefest weekend band schedule with set times so you’ll know when to head out and see all your favourite local groups give it all they’ve got on stage at The 40. By the way, I’m pleased to report that due to overwhelming response from certain members of Brandon’s music scene, the 9th annual Ridgefest has been extended to a three-day event. The 40 will be open Sunday, July 15, licensed as usual, with six bands all ready to rock!
Frank McGwire is a radio personality and booster of the music scene in Brandon and Westman.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 5, 2012