What makes you the rock ’n’ roll barber?
There’s a couple of reasons. The barbershop is full of rock ’n’ roll paraphernalia and I have a been a full-time musician for 20 years before I became a barber. So I toured around the world, I’ve won some Junos and a bunch of awards, so I have them up, and some guitars and a gold record and just some past clippings and posters of some of the stuff I’ve done. Secondly, we have concerts and music documentaries going on the TV all the time as opposed to a lot of other places that show nothing but sports and daytime Italian TV.
You’re not knocking daytime Italian TV, are you?
No, I’m not. I wouldn’t do that.
Why become a barber, what drew you to the profession?
Well, first of all, when I was a little kid my grandpa had a barbershop in his hotel and we used to hang out there all the time. I grew up in Regina and my dad, my uncles and everybody, all their jobs seemed to suck and every time I went by the barbershop, even as a young kid, I mean the guys were always laughing and joking around. And also, it sounds bad, but it was almost like a European type of lifestyle — they were always just sitting around. All the guys were always hard-working and doing 10-hour, 12-hour days and you go to the barbershop and these guys are just sitting around all the time. I thought, “Man, that seems like they’re doing it right.”
So, does it live up to the dream?
You know, it does. Being in the music business, it’s quite a personal business, and I went to hair school for a year and as an older single guy, I thought being a hairstylist, dealing with chicks all day long would be the best thing in the world, but man, they drove me absolutely crazy. So I really liked the barbershop side of it. First of all, the skill of barbering is much more challenging than hairstyling. So I really enjoy that part of it. I also really enjoy the company. The majority of my clients are musicians, hot-rod guys, rockabilly guys — I’ve kind of turned into the pompadour guy in town — so all of these people are the same demographic as I am. We talk about music, we talk about chicks, we talk about hot rods, cars, bikes, things that we’re excited about. It’s kind of like I’m hanging out with my buddies and getting paid for it.
Where is the barbershop?
It used to be in a house, but now it’s on 12th Avenue S.W. It’s located inside the Maddpretty salon actually. It’s pretty cool because the Maddpretty salon is pretty funky, but it’s pretty feminine. So they really work off each other quite well. I have my signs on the street and in the big window. I’ve only been in this location for four months now, but it works quite well because you come in and there’s a bunch of pretty, funky looking chicks around that guys always like saying hi to, but then you come in, you close the door, you watch a concert, drink a beer and get a haircut and a shave. They complement each other quite well.
Tell me a bit about your musical career — you said you won a Juno?
Yes I won a Juno. I was part of a Southern rock/country band called The Road Hammers and we won a Juno for best album that year, in 2008 I think that was. Then I’m also a freelance musician and played with a lot of people. So I’ve played with a lot of rock bands, I’ve played with Big Sugar.... I still play a lot of music actually. It’s frustrating for my clients, but you know, like this summer almost all of August I’m gone on tour with a couple different bands. But I play. I’m a drummer primarily. Sometimes I play guitar and sing, but I’ve made my mark drumming. I still do a lot of it. I play on a lot of records. I play on a lot of records that people listen to every day on the radio. The music career has been good for me, I just like splitting it up a little bit, you know?
Well, that’s a nice mix. You go out on tour and then you live that European lifestyle you were talking about.
Yeah, exactly. Doing very little work.
But doing it well, right?
Exactly. That’s also another thing — the majority of the barbershops in this city are kind of quantity over quality and I’m the exact opposite. I’m not going to give you a 10-minute, 12-dollar haircut, that’s not what we do here. It’s kind of the experience — you come in, hopefully you like it, you make some friends and it’s kind of a fun place to hang out. As fun as it is, I do take it seriously. There’s a lot of bad haircuts out there.
I know, I keep getting them.
Geez, well come on by man. How it kind of works, I have my Facebook page which is quite busy and I have a webpage that’s actually being rebuilt right now. So between my Facebook and my Twitter, I basically just let people know — I’m almost like a food truck — I let people know the days I’m working. You don’t necessarily have to make an appointment, but I always tell people to call or text before you come down. It works. In the winter I’m pretty much here Monday to Friday, but in the summer I’m gone a fair bit. That’s kind of how it works. It’s kind of like a tattoo artist or photographers, it’s kind of a nomadic lifestyle to certain degree. Or maybe I’m just scared to settle down or something. I’m afraid of commitment!
How long have you been doing this?
I’ve been barbering for just under two years and I did full-service, I did women’s hair before that.
When did you move here from Regina?
I’ve been away from Regina more than I’ve lived there. I left Regina in 1989, I was 17. I lived in Nashville for five years, Nashville and L.A. I was with The Road Hammers and I quit the band, moved up here and ended up going to hair school and one thing led to another and here I am.
Have you had any strange requests for hairstyles? Anything that stands out?
I’ve been pretty fortunate with that, but you know, when I first opened I did one of those Groupon, Deal Find things. That brought out just a complete fucking shit-show of people. People that did not appreciate what we were about whatsoever. I had guys coming in with Michael Bolton haircuts telling me that they wanted something different but they wanted to keep the length. Stuff like that. During that time, I had guys come up with full comb-overs and they wanted me to dye their comb-over. I like a good laugh and I’ll give you what you need, but I’ve had some clients that wanted to buy T-shirts and I told them that I was sold out.
Don’t want them advertising your work, eh?
They are not good advertising. “Yeah, sorry, I’m sold out.” “But it looks like you’ve got a big pile of shirts back there?” “Nope, no I don’t.”