Peripheral Prompt


I mentioned in my Music Monday post that Buck 65 is one of my favourite artists, and that I follow him on Facebook. Today his post was simply asking people to share their answers to the following:

If I could, I would ________________

I thought it would make a good prompt for a post.

I thought all day about it. I even posted a few more casual ideas on his original thread. Part of me wanted to believe that if I thought long and hard enough, I might come up with something super meaningful. No such luck. I realized that the only reason I wanted to devise a special answer, was to be totally self-serving.

“Look how selfless and awesome *I* am! If *I* could, *I* would end world hunger”.

As such, I’m sticking with one of my first answer:

If I could, I would organize a big music festival with all my favourite musicians.

So who would all be there? That’s tough. I love a lot of different artists. I decided that the easy way to go about this is to set up two major guidelines:

  • Only living artists. We’re going to go on the assumption that I can convince any currently “inactive” bands or musicians to come out of retirement.
  • Max 2 bands/artists per genre. This makes it trickier, but also simplifies the list.

Ok…now the list by genre. I was going to be a bit broad with them, but I realized doing rock, it wasn’t going to happen. Though with the exception of rock, I’m leaving the genres pretty wide-stretching where I can. I don’t have time, the desire, nor the music pretentiousness (anymore) to delve into too many specific sub-genres.


Classic Rock:

1. Van Halen – This is an easy choice for me. Obviously they’ve slowed down from when they were at their peak; but I don’t doubt they put on a heck of a show. One thing I always loved about VH was that their music was simple and fun. On top of all that, the boys ALWAYS looked like they adored what they were doing. Can you really ask anything more from a musician?

2. Van Morrison – Van The Man. I grew up listening to him all the time. He was one of my dad’s favourites and his music is extremely nostalgic to me. Jumping in the car to pick up mum from work at night, dead of winter, shivering as I clicked the seat belt in the -30 C weather (or below). Then my dad would pop in Astral Weeks, or Tupelo Honey, and instantly we could have been in a convertible and I wouldn’t have noticed. I know Van’s not much of a big crowd kind of guy, so I’d definitely set it up as an “exclusive, VIP” type show for limited numbers.

Hard Rock:
(This is a subjective category. My rule is simple: If I have been caught head-banging, and wouldn’t erstwhile be described as “metal”, it counts).

1. Foo Fighters – I just don’t see how I could not have them at a festival of favourite artists. The Colour and The Shape would rank in my Top 10 memorable albums. They rock hard. I really don’t feel I need to argue this any further.

2. The Hives – Ok, so if this were High Fidelity, John Cusack and Jack Black would be reaming me out for putting their vinyl in this section. Oh well. I’ve seen them live before. They rock, hard. Lots of up-tempo energy and stage theatrics. Perfect for the festival atmosphere.

Canadian Rock:
(Oh yea, the Canucks get their own category…sue me)

1. The Tragically Hip – It wasn’t even a question if they would make this list. They were one of the first bands I started liking that didn’t come as a direct influence from my dad. Which is hard since my pop is into a lot of really good and broad music.

2. Matt Mays – Another obvious choice for myself. As far as current rockers go, Matt is my favourite by a country mile. I’ve seen him live 3 times, and I hope to quadruple that someday soon. 

(This one is tougher because a lot of my favourites have long since passed away)

1. George Thorogood – Almost feels like cheating. I would always get dad to crank him in the car though. When I began to be familiar with the songs he was covering, I gained a lot more appreciation for him. A) Because he had introduced me to such great songs. B) Because he did a good job of making the songs his own, without losing the spirit of them. Not to mention I would get to hear a lot of classic faves from artists I couldn’t invite nowadays.

2. Colin James – Another artist I can thank dad for. Nostalgia written all over his songs. He and George were my early introduction to blues music and really helped build a small foundation for my love of it all.

(I’ll probably get heat for not putting any classics here, but the modern folk revival seen is amazing right now)

1. Shovels and Rope – Oh lordy, I can’t get enough of these two. One of my most recent music discoveries, hardly a day goes by without listening to them. I have one of their albums, but their live recordings are superb. I hope they swing by a town I’m in sometime real soon. In the meantime, I’ll just have to dream about them at my fantasy festival.

2. Shaky Graves – See above. Most of it applies to him as well. He’s a wonderful wordsmith. The music these two acts play is stripped down and really let’s the story take the lead. That’s what I always felt was the root of folk growing up. Dylan was and is an awful singer, and a mediocre guitar player at best…but good goddamn can he write a song.


1. Judas Priest – Luckily these guys are still kicking around. First metal band I was super into, so it’s a no brainer I’d want to see them live before they ride off into the sunset permanently. 

2. Turbonegro – I went through a whole metal phase for a long while. I still listen to it, just not nearly as much as before. Turbonegro was one of my favourites. They embodied everything about metal to me. Metal is supposed to be cathartic. I really don’t think it’s supposed to be taken so seriously as some people think it should. The after-party would be one for the ages.


1. Dwight Yoakam – A lot of my all-time faves, much like the blues artists, have seen their time come and go. Luckily Dwight is still kicking around. I always really liked the Bakersfield sound because it added a little bit of that rockabilly tinge to it. Dwight’s quite the showman too.

2. Corb Lund – I wrestled with this one a bit. I don’t really care for what’s coming out of Nashville these days. You get the rare act that’s alright, but generally speaking it’s just Top 40 fluff. As mentioned above, a lot of my classic favourites have passed on. So I decided to strike a balance. Corb’s a great story teller, and killer with the crowd.


1. Buck 65 – Was there really any question? The great thing about having Rich there is he would stretch beyond music. He is a storyteller. He has a beautiful knack for describing intense and thorough detail very concisely. I actually get to see him live this coming Friday. I am beyond excited, it’s been years. In that time his lyrics have only gotten stronger, his stories (fictitious or otherwise) more compelling. 

2. Dizzee Rascal – Funny enough, the way I found out about Dizzee was through a flash video on Newgrounds. A friend and I looked him up and we were hooked. The grime scene in the UK was really good for a long time. Really rough beats, edgier, street-wise lyrics.

Ok. There we go. 16 bands is pretty solid for what I would reckon would amount to a 4 day festival. This was by no means easy. it started out as a fun little project from a prompt…and then it turned into an essay. I do now know where to start for my next playlist though!!

I could easily list probably 100 CURRENT performers…forget if I had of extended this to ALL-TIME bands. I think I need to sit down and create some clear-cut parameters before I tackle an all-time festival. Perhaps y’all out there in cyberspace have some ideas.



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