In Canada, Buck 65 is known for a lot of things.
He’s known as a CBC Radio 2 and 3 host, turntablist, MC, experimental artist and to his nieces and nephew “Uncle Buck.”
“My dad gave me that nickname [Buck 65],” said Richard Terfry aka Buck 65. “He’s never really explained it. He’s a bit of a kook. But it’s been my nickname my whole life, so I’ve settled on it. I don’t play around with the other names so much anymore. All my family calls me Buck.”
The Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia-born artist first came upon the world of hip hop and rap in the early ‘80s.
“I heard hip hop music for the first time at the roller skating rink I used to go to when I was a kid,” said Terfry. “Those were early days. Exciting times. I learned about the other aspects of the culture on a 60 Minutes-type of program I remember seeing on TV. I was transfixed. I was at a very impressionable age. It was all over for me. It was all so new and exciting.”
While the East Coast of Canada is becoming more known for hip hop with artists like Classified and J-Bru selling out shows across Canada, Terfry was drawn to the spoken, rhyming, rhythmic story-telling of hip hop that he also found in “truck-driving songs” and talking blues.
“When I heard Grandmaster Flash for the first time, I drew no distinction between that and songs like Phantom 309 or The Devil Went Down To Georgia. I guess I’ve just always had a thing for words,” he said.
Even though Terfry’s roots were in hip hop as he progressed as a musician he began to incorporate more country, folk and blues.
“I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’m quite outside when it comes to hip hop,” he said. “I think I bring another sensibility to my songs. Maybe it comes from folk tradition. Or post punk. Or Dadaism. It varies a bit, song-to-song. I mostly just try to make pretty music. Mostly.”
Since 1994 when Terfry released Game Tight, his first album, he’s gone on to produce 16 more and has gained critical acclaim after signing with Warner Music Canada and for This Right here is Buck 65.
In 2008, Terfry released three one track albums which featured other artists like Cadence Weapon, Emily Wells, D-Styles, Skratch Bastid, Serafina Steer, Jorun, Moka Only, Mia Clarke (of Electrelane) and Doseone.
Asked to describe his shows in five words, Terfry said he only needed four.
“Magic words and sad dancing,” he said.
Buck 65 appears at Spiritbar on Saturday. Tickets are $20 and are available at The Hume Hotel or at the door.