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Dave Bidini Condones a “Crooked Path” for Canadian Artists
February 7, 2012
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Singer, songwriter and author Dave Bidini encourages Canadians to tell Canadian stories, but he isn't opposed to detours along the way.

GS: There's lots of Canadian artists who are good at telling stories. But I think it's something different when they tell our stories. And I think The Rheostatics did the same thing.

DB: For sure he was an inspiration to us. And I'm sure it's - it's funny, because when we went out on the road in 1987, people would tell us, you know, you're only going to go so far with this Canadian thing. And the more people told us that, the more we kind of dug in. In fact, in 1987, we went out on tour, we brought Mountie uniforms with us. And, you know, by Winnipeg we'd lost the jacket, by Regina we'd lost the shoes, and by Vancouver we'd, like lost the pants, right? So, but we were so, we were vigilantly Canadian, if that's the right word. We were really dogmatically Canadian. And, it's because Gord and Stompin Tom and other people wrote the way they did that we wanted to kind of take that to the next level.

GS: Let me play a clip here of Jay Baruchel when he was on our show...

JB: I grew up watching our Canadian celebrities make a dent in the States and the only time they would ever come back and be on the CBC or be in Canadian movies is when work seemed to dry up for them down there. And that just taught such a terrible cultural lesson to me. And, I without a doubt believe this is the best country the world has come up with so far, so why wouldn't I want to make movies here?

GS: We had Seth Rogan on the show and says Jay gives us a hard time, saying you need to make stuff here. Is it important that Canadian artists start to tell that story, say that you need to work here to build the system?

DB: I wouldn't be nearly as absolute as Jay is. Like, I don't have a Maple Leaf tattoo under my nipple. Jay maybe is a little bit more absolute in that way, but I think you cut your own path. I think people come back to this country on far more crooked paths in certain instances, and I think that's fine too, man. People making art in any capacity is okay with me. But at the same time, I mean, I think you shouldn't be afraid wherever you are to reflect who you are, whether you're Canadian, whether you're from anywhere else in the world. But I think probably, that's the thing Canadians have to grapple with the most, believing that expressing themselves having grown up and lived where they are, there's always been a little bit of inner fear to just connect. Now, there's no excuse for it now The channels, they're open to a greater extent that ever before. The doors have been busted down.


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