Daily CanCon: “Peppyrock” and going for broke with George Stromboulopoulos

In honour of my new play, BIG IN GERMANY, which is all about Canadian rock music and growing up in Toronto in the 1990s, I’m going to share a CanCon music video everyday. BIG IN GERMANY plays at Buddies in Bad Times April 9-21. Get tickets here.

Back in the day, MuchMusic would let some pretty wierd stuff into the mainstream. I give you “Peppyrock” a video in which drug dealers sell consonants to Sesame Street puppets, by the Ontario-based hip-hop/psychadelic rock group BTK (which stood for Birth Thru Knowledge and was not an intentional reference to the BTK (Blind, Torture, Kill) serial killer that stalked Kansas from 1974-1991:


This is a pretty awesome video actually, even if on reflection the song doesn’t stand up to what I remember of it. Still, the fact that this became a minor hit in 1998 is pretty impressive. According to their Wikipedia page, BTK got a lot of early buzz, including being included on a sampler disc that came with Korn’s breakout album. But it doesn’t look like they ever recorded another album after this one.

I saw them perform live at the 1998/9 New Year’s Eve concert at Mel Lastman Square hosted by George Stromboulopoulos. The only thing I remember of their set was that it was freezing cold, there was a cute guy who was inexplicably shirtless pressed up against me in the mosh pit, and when they were tossing out copies of their single into the crowd, I caught one. It was on cassette tape, which seemed anachronistic even in 1998.

In between acts, Strombo invited people to the stage to compete at celebrity impressions. Thinking “it’s a new year, why not take risks?” I jumped at the chance. I remember thinking I’d do Beavis and Butthead, but then blanking when I got to the stage, and doing something else (I can’t remember who), bombing, and then threatening that if the audience didn’t clap for me, I’d strip. It was my first experiment in going for broke.

Lesson learned: Be prepared.

Months later, I was at some other event hosted by Edge102 (I forget what; it may have just been an artist interview at the old Edge trailer), and there was a small group of teenagers watching. Strombo came out to meet the crowd. He stopped and looked at me, and said “aren’t you the guy who threatened to strip at New Years’?”

Lesson Learned: Going for broke can leave an impression.


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