Suffering from the results of first night away from home anxiety mixed with an alcohol-fueled need to explore and annoy, we hit the early morning streets of an unseasonably warm St.John’s, Newfoundland armed only with a tape recorder and a pile of questions for anyone we could stop. Here is a taste of the salvaged pieces of several hours of tape and the results of a drunken frenzy:
WGO: “Excuse me sir, what do you think of Jon Whelan (former singer for the infamous Bung and mayoral candidate) as a candidate?”
Drunk Guy on the Corner: “I knows ‘oo ‘e is, I jus’ don’t give a fuck.”
. . . later,
WGO: “Excuse me sir, do you have anything to say?”
Drunk Guy in Leather Jacket: “Get rid of all fur. Fur is wrong!”
WGO: “And what about leather jackets?”
Drunk Guy in Leather Jacket: “…uh …uh …fuck. I can’t say nuthin’ now wit’out soundin’ like an idiot.”
We eventually found some people from our own Cape Breton Island roaming the streets. Listening back to our conversation divulged absolutely no sensical information but did remind me that they made me laugh so hard that I fell down on my hands and knees in the slush and snow. After a beautiful rendition of “Bye Bye Miss American Pie” in the echoey entranceway to a closed strip club, or peeler bar as it was so affectionately referred to, we decided we had done enough work for one night.
As the next day passed we got the feeling that our night of hard work and research was going to pay off. I found a torn poster featuring a scantily clad Arnold Scwartzeneggar looking quite vulnerable in his tighty whities which read “One for the ladies” across the waistband. It was an ad for a marathon show being hosted by local favourites Fur Packed Action, a band whose three members have served a considerable amount of time in the St. John’s arts scene. Fur Packed recently released their first album entitled The Dull Thud of Fur and were warming up for a tour which would take them as far as Toronto and back and all points between including a Sunday with Slave 2000 and Tilted. Employing a mess of musical styles and backgrounds, a Fur Packed Action show is a near euphoric experience; after three hours of pure energy and sweat, that’s about the only thing keeping a person alive. I think they must save the song “Keep Going” for later in the night when they need a good burst of home stretch juice and have to remind themselves, “just keep going!” Despite the extra encouragement, the day-after-playing-a-FPA-show-feeling has been described as “like getting kicked repeatedly in the back.”
It’s not too hard to understand why this band is so damn good. The backgrounds of the three individuals who make the whole speak for themselves. Bass player Geoff Younghusband played in Potmaster and Potbelly, both of whom released some excellent material and put on one hell of a live show. Drummer Barry Newhook played bass in Bung, another great band to see live and whose album Whole sold 2000 copies in Canada. Bung ended their career last year. They went out kicking and screaming at a now legendary show that went on for hours. Singer and guitar diddler Jody Richardson was the singer and songwriter for Thomas Trio and the Red Albino, arguably St. John’s most popular rock band ever. This is quite an impressive resume to anyone familiar with the East Coast rock and punk scene and these guys more than live up to their reputation.
Fur Packed Action is like a group of artists who have chosen music as their main, but not sole, endeavour. This fact helps account for the creative energy that exudes from the Fur Packed experience whether its taking in a live show or enjoying their killer first album. Geoff is a graphic designer and his work has graced releases by such bands as Drive and Bung. This album also represents his first foray into the world of computer enhancement and multi-media. Geoff, Barry and Jody are also actively involved in film and theatre as actors, writers and producers. Jody was in the Newfoundland made series Gullages and will also appear in New Waterford Girls which was shot in post-industrial Cape Breton.
Putting all these things together, it’s not too hard to believe that these guys can do what they do; man, they make it look easy. I guess I should have asked one of those poor drunk bastards outside the strip club how they liked their action. The bottom line is this: St.John’s rocks, drunk people are funny and Fur Packed Action possess those mad skills that most of us slackers only dream about.