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Winnipeg punk Greg Rekus brings the ruckus

By Connor Sadler, January 15 2015 —

Though Winnipeg is more known for its cold winters than its experimental music, the city is home to a provocative musical fusion.

Winnipeg musician Greg Rekus mixes punk music with acoustic guitar in what he calls “punkoustic.” Rekus will bring the genre, along with his latest album, Punkoustic, to Calgary on Jan. 15.

Rekus says his sound has evolved through a lifelong passion for listening to and creating punk music.

“I was around 15 when I had my own guitar and a garage band,” Rekus says. “Back then it was all about ‘oh man, it would be cool if we could just jam once a week.’”

It was during this time Winnipeg’s music scene became an important part of his life and came to define his musical direction.

“It became everything. It was all about going to shows on the weekends,” Rekus says.

After finishing high school, he began touring with different bands and occasionally playing solo shows. Despite mainly playing electric guitar, he found inspiration for his hybrid style at one particularly memorable show.

“They were called Hoots and Hellmouths and one of the guys had this big stomp box. That’s where I got the idea for the piece I use in my show,” Rekus says, referring to the custom-made tambourine-adorned stomp box he uses on stage.

Since then, Rekus has written music that merges his rambunctious punk roots with an acoustic flair. The music’s rowdy and energetic vibe is balanced by the rich, full acoustic sound while being distinctly punk, yet is still accessible to a general audience.

Despite the contradiction of styles, Rekus says his music lends itself well to live performance.

“I wanted it to be more of a rowdy, kind of high-energy show, and the stomp box with the acoustic [guitar] just kind of felt right.”

While Rekus is happy his latest tour allows for a tropical reprieve in Hawaii, it’s the love of performing that he says makes life on the road worth it.

“In the bigger scheme of things we just want to find a way to make [touring] a part of our lives until we can’t possibly do it anymore,” Rekus says.

Rekus will perform at Vern’s Pub on Jan. 15 at 10:00 p.m. Tickets are $8 at the door.

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