Sound Off is a continuing column in which we pose a different artist the same crucial questions.
Sheldon Birnie is the lead singer of the Winnipeg-based alt-country band Cheering for the Bad Guy. The band has roots from all across Canada, drawing influences from rural Alberta amongst other places. The band’s music can heard on the CBC Radio 3 website radio3.cbc.ca as well as live this coming Friday, Oct. 14 at the Cavern.
Manitoban: What substance / activity do you find most helpful in the creative process?
Sheldon Birnie: Chicks, cars and partying hard. Also, hockey and croquet.
M: Who’s work inspired you the most in your youth?
SB: Jon Bon Jovi and Doug Gilmour.
M: Whose work inspires you currently?
SB: Ben Moir.
M: What’s the most embarrassing album you’ve ever owned?
SB: I own Avril’s first three albums. I listened to one the other day.
M: What bands / artists have you been listening to lately?
SB: Fred Eaglesmith, Propagandhi, Burton Cummings, Dwight Yoakam, the Broke Spokes.
M: Do you have any hobbies or obsessions outside of music?
SB: Chicks, cars and partying hard. Also, hockey and croquet.
M: Which decade of music do you relate to most? (e.g., ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, etc.)
SB: Next year country.
M: Which one instrument do you most wish you had learned to play?
M: What’s been the most surreal experience of your music career thus far?
SB: A couple years ago, we played at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair, in the penalty box at the Keystone Center in Brandon. We played a few songs between various horse and dog races, and we did the music for the kiddies’ pig scramble, which was just bizarre. At one point, the pigs were squealing in tune to the chase music we were playing. There were about 3,000 people there, plenty of Hutterites, and they just about lost it when we played “Jesus is my Drinkin’ Buddy.” Luckily, it was our final tune. Another time, Nathan smelled Dan’s dental floss. That was really fucking weird.
Following the bands next stop at the Cavern, Oct. 14, Cheering for the Bad Guy can be seen in town throughout the fall — dates are posted on the upcoming shows section of their website: cheeringforthebadguy.com.
*Questions may vary.