Wetaskiwin swing rock masters poised for video launch

Punch Drunk Cabaret launches new video in Wetaskiwin during Culture Days

One of the biggest acts to come out of Wetaskiwin has a major event coming up as part of Alberta Culture Days.

Punch Drunk Cabaret, the best rockabilly/swing/roots act to ever come out of Wetaskiwin region, is debuting their new video for the single “Don’t Die Until You’re Dead,” off the aptly-named 2018 album “This is a Disturbance,” at the Manluk Theatre Saturday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m.

Lead singer/frontman Randy Bailer said the song’s a tribute to getting everything you can out of life. “It’s based on a quote,” said Bailer by phone Sept. 5. Bailer said he once heard this phrase from an old-school bluesman years ago, and it’s serious yet humorous wisdom stuck with him.

Bailer said the multi-layered song easily took its place on the album that muses on conflict on different scales, but still has that Punch Drunk cabaret fun in it. “There is a sense of optimism about it,” said Bailer.

“When you see the full video, there’s a sense of optimism about it.”

Bailer said it’s easy for a songwriter to get cornered by negativity, especially in the modern world. He said the band kept a sense of positivity writing the album, knowing that music is all too often the refuge many people use to cope with this world we live in.

Following up their recent award for best video for the single “Beard of Bees” Punch Drunk Cabaret didn’t want to mess with their reputation as a stellar live act. But Bailer said videos are a great way to get a band’s message out, create buzz and make new fans. He said they recently had a show in a town the band assumed didn’t know much about them. Turned out Punch Drunk cabaret were already celebrities and it was owed to online videos. “It’s quite new to us but lets us know these things are important,” said Bailer.

Bailer said the shoot for “Don’t Die Until You’re Dead” included the biggest budget they’ve had plus several months of lead-time.

“It was just a joy,” he said. “We just had serious chemistry with those people. It turned out beyond expectations.”

Some of the video was shot right here in Wetaskiwin at the august Manluk Theatre. Bailer said he was looking for “a creepy basement” for the video, and got a cal from Ken at the Manluk Theatre who described the theatre’s basement as perfect for the video.

“It was absolutely perfect,” said Bailer, who noted the theatre claims to possess the city’s oldest commode. “So that sold me.” While at the theatre Bailer said the band decided to shoot their performance footage at the theatre, a bonus for many reasons, including proximity to Edmonton for other performers and the great atmosphere the Manluk Theatre’s stage exudes.

Further, Punch Drunk Cabaret had a chance to premier the video at the Manluk. Bailer said the video will be shown on a big screen, and three other youth groups will perform that night too; after the premier, Punch Drunk cabaret will perform live. “It’ll be a full night,” said the frontman.

Punch Drunk Cabaret recently had a change of personnel: new bassist Teddy Roy replaced longtime member Terry Grant.

Lead singer/frontman Randy Bailer said the new member brought new strengths and energy, and the band was fortunate to have a quality bassist available when the opening popped up.

When it comes to songwriting, Bailer said, if the new member fits in, there’s a new energy that shows in the material and the performances.

“That enthusiasm gets brought onto the record,” said Bailer by phone Sept. 5. “This now feels as the line-up the way it’s supposed to be.”

Bailer noted all Punch Drunk Cabaret’s music is available through online services for those who want to get up to speed before Culture Days.

Premiering their new video at home will be a joy for the band said Bailer and said support from the Manluk theatre has been unbelievable. “It’s great,” he said. “The theatre is just so accommodating. I feel so grateful for Ken reaching out.”


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