BARE JR. opening for REVEREND HORTON HEAT at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), Friday (August 3). $22.50. 416-598-4753. Rating: NNNNN
bad relationships have been good to Nashville's Bare Jr. Instead of moping about his breakups, the tough-rockin' son of country star Bobby Bare has turned his troubled past into catchy confessional hits like You Blew Me Off.Judging by his latest disc, Brainwasher (Virgin) -- subtitled More Songs About Girls Who Don't Like Me -- he's had no shortage of experiences to draw on. According to Bare Jr., cheatin' songs just come naturally.
"As tongue-in-cheek funny as the songs might seem," Bare Jr. explains from Saskatchewan, "they're all based on real situations.
"I've been busted pretty bad before, and I've busted girlfriends who were cheatin' on me -- usually with friends -- and there's nothing fun about that. But if I can get people to laugh along with the heavy shit I've been through, it somehow lightens my load."
While there's no mistaking Brainwasher's distorted guitars and pounding drums for anything but rock and roll, there's something very Nashville about Bare Jr.'s writing style.
Naturally, his concept was shaped by growing up in the Bobby Bare household, but much of his flair for the humorous twist can be traced back to the influence of late, great song-poet Shel Silverstein, the twisted genius behind A Boy Named Sue and loads of nutty children's books.
"Shel's brilliance was getting to the essence of what made an everyday situation profound. He had a great eye for the ironic and, of course, an amazing sense of humour. He'd look over my songs and would let me know if I was getting lazy. He always stressed the importance of communicating the idea of the song with clarity.
"Growing up around people like Shel and Billy Joe Shaver, you realize that those guys are good because whatever they sing seems true. I wrote a song with Guy Clark not long ago and everything that came out of him sounded autobiographical. When you believe what someone's singing, that's the mark of a good song."