Solo Musician Interview: Greg Rekus

Greg Rekus Photo

Where are you from?
Winnipeg in the province of Manitoba, Canada the home of the Weakerthans, Propagandhi and Comeback kid among others not recognized international but equally as awesome!

How long have you been playing your respective instrument(s)?
Guitar I started when I was age 15. Age 14, I bought a bass guitar and played for about a year, but guitar seems to fit better when what music was trying to come out of me. Singing I didn’t really start till I was 16 in my first band. No one else wanted to sing so I thought I’d give it a shot.

What genre of music do you consider your work to be?
Acoustic punk. I usually say I’m a one-man punk show since I tour solo most of the year. Punk rock is fine too. I’ve always identified with the punk scene and still feel a part of it.

What are your influences?
So many amazing touring bands well known and underground for starters. I remember when I first realized not only “big” bands tour and go on the road. Discovering the DIY philosophy was a huge eye opener of what my life could be. If no label wants to sign my band and book us a tour fine… I’ll just do it. Musically, the 90 punk scene really had a big influence on how I write. I loved how catchy and simple the songs were. It’s like Nirvana but fun!

Do you do covers and if so what’s your go to?
i Don’t Wanna Grow Up’ by Tom Waits. It’s an easy sing along even in Europe where not everyone knows English really well.

Do you have a process for writing your songs?
I think the best stuff I wrote was written in like 5 minutes. Like the song was being beamed to me from outer space and sometimes, I can’t write fast enough to get it out at the speed it’s coming to me. A lot of the time, I get a little part in my head like guitar and some melody for the vocals and toss it around my jam space to see if it sticks. I like starting with the chorus. I think many songs were written building on a strong chorus. It’s the foundation of the song in many ways.

Do you have any interesting/funny stories about gigging or touring?
Tooooooo many! I have been searched for 8 hours at the Ukrainian border. I have hung naked from rafters over a crowd. I backed the rented car into a wall. I used feminine wash as shampoo in Spain. I broke 10 guitar strings at a gig in the UK in 1 show. I’ve gotten too drunk, wound up at a party, and had to walk in the hot sun for many miles trying to find where I parked the van all over the USA. I think my favorite is still I’ve played many amazing shows and made soooo many good friends. That one happens almost every night.

What song do you remember most from your childhood?
Bon Jovi ‘Livin on a prayer’. I’m not saying it’s the best song or anything, but slippery when wet was the first cassette tape I ever picked out by myself.

What has been your biggest challenge as a performer? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so then how?
To stay interesting and relevant. I’m on the road 7 months of most years and pay over 150 every year but still feels in many ways like I’m not even scratching the surface.  There are so many places to play and you can’t do them all, but I always feel like I have to or want to do them all. I feel I’ve at least somewhat overcome these. I’ve never been a cornerstone in the punk scene or anything and I think the people who like my music and what I do still like me. And with the touring… You just gotta do what is realistic and sustainable.

How can fans-to-be gain access to your music?  
I’m all over the internet. Google me and you and choose your fav site. I’m also on spotify and apple music. Bandcamp is an easy way to do it and No Reason Records and Aaaaaagh Real Records both have physical copies for sale.

Have you released anything yet/if you have then how has it gone down and are you planning anything for the near future?
I have 3 albums out on CD and Sibling Cities is my latest effort and also on vinyl. Fall time, I’ll be putting out a limited vinyl release of Punkoustic, my 2nd album. It will be out on Loud Broke and Dumb and Aaaaagh Real Records.

Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues?
I’ve played a ton of places across Canada, USA and Mexico and over 10 countries in Europe. Over the last 8 years, I think I’ve done almost 1000 shows!

Do you have any upcoming shows?
Fall time, I’m planning a tour around north America. I’ll head west from Winnipeg to Vancouver Island. Down the coast all the way to Mexico. East to Florida for fest in Gainesville. North again through the east coast to Quebec. Ontario, Midwest USA and then home for Dec.

What do you think about downloading music online?
It’s great! It makes it accessible for everyone. Music should be listen to. Availability is everything. If 100 000 download my song for free that’s amazing and I can’t wait to see them on tour!

What’s your outlook on the record industry today?
I’ve always kinda been a black sheep and have done most of it on my own. I’ve worked with various labels over the years and I think we have helped each other here and there.  Technology has changed how people listen to music and consume culture. People who are able to adapt flourish. People who cling to the hull of a sinking ship I feel have sealed their own fate.

And let’s end with something a little different…Which famous person, alive or dead, would you have dinner with and why?
Leonardo da Vinci. He ate vegan or at least veggie so we would have no conflicts on the menu for starters. I also think he was so far ahead of his time I would love to inform him of the future and how famous he has become and love to hear his account of the past.


First Published on:

Off the Record is and always will be a free platform, but if you like what we do here and want to contribute to the production of future content then you can do so by donating to our PayPal or Ko-Fi.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s