Member of popular P.E.I. band releases solo album
'I made this for me — if people enjoy it, great'
Islanders used to hearing Greg Bungay in the popular P.E.I. band Boys in the Kitchen will have a bit of a surprise with the release of his solo album fittingly called A Radical Departure.
The band is typically known for their Celtic sound, but Bungay didn't go that route with his album.
"Oh, I'm an old rocker from way back," Bungay said in an interview with CBC Radio: Mainstreet P.E.I.'s Angela Walker.
He retired a few years ago from a career in teaching and while education has been a central part of his life, music has also played a huge role.
Bungay has recorded a couple of albums with Boys in the Kitchen, but he said he always wanted to do a solo project.
'Put things into perspective'
Eleven years ago Bungay had a heart attack.
"It sort of put things into perspective for me."
It made him start focusing on the things he really wanted to do, and he didn't feel like he had much time, he said.
The song Urgency on his solo album tries to capture his feelings about that time.
"It has a little, kind of a David Bowie kind of feel to it and a little bit of nonsense and chaos at the end," Bungay said.
A Radical Departure was recorded at The Sound Mill, Jon Matthews' studio in Emyvale, P.E.I.
'Poor as church mice'
Many of the tunes on his record reflect on moments from Bungay's life, like the song Baritone Man.
It was the early 1970s, rock and roll was getting big and though it seemed everyone was learning how to play guitar, Bungay's family didn't have the money to get him one.
"We were poor as church mice at home," Bungay said.
His father suggested Bungay go down and join the legion band if he wanted to learn music. When he got there he was welcomed by an older man.
"They gave me an E-flat tuba," Bungay said.
He wanted a guitar and here he was, a long-haired skinny kid sneaking around with a tuba.
"But at the same time this particular gentleman was a musical genius."
Most of the musicians at the legion were veterans of the First or Second World War, Bungay said.
"And they were top-notch musicians, top notch."
The man who put the tuba in Bungay's hands is responsible for his love for music and Bungay wrote the song for him, he said.
"So, it's just my kind of thank you to him."
A teaching moment
When Bungay was in Grade 3 he attended a Catholic school which held auditions for a boys' choir. Bungay convinced a friend to try out with him.
A priest played a note on the piano and asked them to match it — Bungay did, and he was in. His friend didn't make it and Bungay said he reflected on that moment a lot, especially in his teaching career.
"There was nobody going to be left out if I could help it, in any kind of activity that I did with my classroom."
He tells that story in the song, Even the Crows.
Bungay isn't sure if he will have an album launch — he doesn't want to put people through having to come, he said.
"I made this for me — if people enjoy it, great."
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With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.