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Accordionist/ songwriter Geoff Berner adds author to résumé

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Geoff Berner has had an exciting year. Not only did he get invited to share a stage at the Glastonbury Festival with one of his idols, Billy Bragg, but he got to tour Europe with his friends, the Kaizers Orchestra. He also got some pretty high powered friends like Corb Lund, Carolyn Mark, Maria In The Shower, Wax Mannequin and Rae Spoon to record an album of his songs. And, oh yes, he also released his first novel “ Festival Man” in conjunction with it.

“It’s not bad for a guy who shouts a lot and plays accordion,” laughed Berner who plays the Slice, Oct. 17 with  Calgary poet Laureate Kris Demeanor.Geoff Berner returns to Lethbridge, Oct. 17. Photo by Richard Amery

“ I always wanted to call myself a novelist,” Berner said from his Vancouver home.
He wrote the book, which is the memoirs of a crazy, alcoholic  and weird band manager while on the road.
“There is a lot of downtime before soundchecks. You can’t do anything or go anywhere, so it is a good situation to get some writing done,” he said.
So is it a true story?

“I’ve been asked that question a couple times and the best answer I can give is no comment,” he chuckled adding writing  a novel wasn’t that much different from writing a song.

“I’ve always been a word guy and the words come first in my songs, so I just chipped away at it. It’s the memoirs of a guy who is a real bastard. He writes his memoirs to try to convince people that he isn’t so bad, but he doesn’t convince anybody. He’s still a real bastard,” he said.

 He will be embarking on a book tour soon, but it will likely be dominated by  music.
“I realized that I don’t like reading aloud, so there will probably be a lot of music,” he said.

 His last CD, ‘Victory Party’  was  released in 2011, so he’s working on the follow-up.
“It should be out next year. I don’t want to play the same songs over again, so I always throw in some new ones to keep things interesting,” he said.

 He always enjoys touring with Kris Demeanor.
“We tour together at least once a year. We’re like the Smothers Brothers on stage. I’m the dumb one,” he chuckled.
He is pleased with how the Cd “Festival Man ” turned out.

“I just put it out there to my friends saying I wanted a CD to come out with the book. So I did an Indie a gogo campaign and got 13 grand to do it. So all of these guys agreed to do it. “ these people are re all very strange people with an individual approach to the world, so I knew it was going to be strange. But listening to each one was like opening presents,” he said.

 Easily the stranger came from his friends, the Orchid Ensemble, a Chinese Choir who recorded a unique version of  “Victory Party Variation.”

“It felt pretty good for a guy who shouts at people and plays accordion. I was very surprised at the songs they chose,” he said.

 He is excited to finally make it back to Lethbridge.
“It’s a been a couple of years.  I’ve tried to get back, but it’s mostly been my fault. It’s been my schedule,” he said.

Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 15 October 2013 09:16 )  
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