Artist to Artist: Tim Holehouse vs. Greg Rekus [Interview]

Tim Holehouse and Greg Rekus are currently out on a tour of the UK and the world, an actual honest-to-goodness tour! Two and a half months on the road together currently puts them in Canada, however, they’ll be heading to the UK for 10 dates later this month.  

This is an interview of two halves – we asked Tim and Greg to have an artist-to-artist chat to let us get to know them better. In Round One, Tim asks Greg about their touring life and Greg does some serious soul searching to provide answers. In Round Two, Greg asks Tim about all kinds of conspiracies, Rick and Morty and what-ifs.

Artist To Artist: Tim Holehouse and Greg Rekus

Round One

Tim: So, Greg, this is actually a do-over from our 2020 tour, but not our first time touring together. Clearly, I’m not a super annoying tour mate and can put up with me for two and half months? 

Greg: Tim, you are wonderful to tour with! You tolerate my daily listening of Democracy Now, put up with all the insanity that is touring with me. You are always a great person to talk to, fun to watch every night, and it never feels like you don’t wanna be there.

Tim: Like myself, you are a creature of routine on tour, which is why I think we work well together… but big question… how many vegan Smart Dogs will we consume on this tour? Also, explain the Rekus tour routine? 

Greg: Well, as you and many people know, Smart Dogs were … yes, were my fav thing to eat on tour. I actually preferred them cold to heating them up. They were the perfect salty tasty protein stick that won’t spoil if not refrigerated for a few days. Paired with a salad, it was the perfect tour meal, however, recently they have changed the recipe! No longer can you eat them right out of the package. The firm fake meal stick I knew and loved is gone, replaced by a soggy mushy dog that firms up when cooked but still isn’t as amazing as its former glory. It truly was a sad day at camp Rekus. 

Tim: Where is your favourite place to tour? 

Greg: Oh man! It’s not as much my favourite place to tour as it is my favourite thing about everywhere I tour. Everywhere is so different, it’s kinda comparing apples to oranges. I love the States. I’ve made so many friends all over the place there and they have huge highways that are easy to drive on. Great shows, fun snacks and amazing vegan food everything! 

But I also love Europe and the UK. They are so kind and generous with the hospitality, again, amazing food and great crowds. Fun people to play for. But I also like Canada; it’s where I’ve been touring the longest and have watched the scene go through several iterations; so many friends everywhere to see. 

I guess the answer is anywhere with fun people, something to drink, and a place we can make some noise for the night is my favourite place to play.

Tim: Your live show is super energetic, how did you come up with it? I know I say sometimes Green Day on a budget, but you really are one the best live acts around. I love watching you play every night. 

Greg: I was in a skate-punk band called High Five Drive for 10 years. That’s where I learnt to play every night like it’s the last time I’ll ever get to be on stage. As that band came to a close, I wanted to continue on my own but didn’t wanna do the stripped-down singer-songwriter thing. I wanted it to be high energy. Sweaty. Fun. Something I could do after several drinks. I saw a band called Hoots and Hellmouth play that had platforms with tambourines all over them.  Right there, I thought, this is perfect! It’s the way to make my live show still energetic, still loud, but all on my own.

Tim: As somebody who’s eaten from the magic van cooker … what’s your favourite and least favourite thing you have cooked on the road? 

Greg: I have a little oven in the van. It plugs into the lighter/accessory socket and is big enough to heat up food for two or three people. It goes all the way to over 300 degrees Fahrenheit, so it opened up the frozen aisles in grocery stores as possible meals or cooking rice and veggies for wraps or other things. 

I think the best thing I ever made in the cooker was Beyond Burgers. They are already amazing but just the fact I could make them on tour in my van … they just tasted better. The worst was when I tried to make frozen french fries. They didn’t crisp up at all except for the bottom where they burnt.  In the end, it was just a mush of starch with a black bottom burnt part.

Tim: What are your musical and non-musical influences? 

Greg: When I was first trying to get the solo act together, PJ Bond and Frank Turner were a big influence. Maybe not totally musically, but just the fact they broke away from the band thing to do a solo thing, and they kinda made me feel I could do that too. Mischief Brew, I feel was a big inspiration to my sound. 90s pop-punk played a huge role also, especially in how I write songs. 

Noam Chomsky has been a big inspiration to me non-musically and, aside from how monotone he has become in his old age, I always enjoy listening to his wisdom. Amy Goodman from Democracy Now has always kept me intrigued with world events, and that we can make a better world out there if we try. Her work ethic is inspiring and always reminds me what can be accomplished if you put your mind to it.

Tim: What made you start the Far From Gregular channel? 

Greg: After March 2020, it was obvious touring was going to be off the table for a while. I’m one of those people that always needs to be doing something. I love to create, especially music, however, I had just finished a new record in 2020 and wasn’t feeling very musical sitting at home playing video games. I’ve always loved youtube channels like Vsauce, Aqualung Game Reviews, Angry Video Game Nerd. I thought maybe I could try to do something like that.

After a computer upgrade and a YouTube video on making a homemade teleprompter, I started writing some scripts and shooting videos in the van. Within a month or so I had nine videos edited and the channel was born. I worked hard to put videos out weekly until I went back to working full-time in summer 2021. I think I released almost 30 videos! Most got only a few plays from friends, but one video about Ryan Greene, the famous Fat Wreck Chords producer, got almost 6000 views!  I know it sounds like nothing compared to the millions any decent influencer gets on the daily, but for a 40-year-old from Winnipeg, who sucks at the internet at the best of times, it was all I needed to feel someone else was listening.

Tim: How has it been during the last couple of years? I know we were together when it all went down and you had to run to the Canadian border, and I had to find a flight two days after? Does it feel good to be back on the road? 

Greg: The last two years have been really hard. Really, really hard. Nowhere even near as hard as some people; sometimes I feel ashamed for even thinking it was hard for me. I had a roof over my head the entire time, food in the fridge, video games and movies galore to entertain me. My partner and I live together so I had someone to hang out with that I love very much. But that thing that gets me bounding out of bed in the morning was gone. The thing that makes me believe life is worth living and that I should try to see the best in everyone was just on pause. It was hard to believe it would ever come back at times. It was probably among the lowest my mental health has ever been. When I drove away from Winnipeg for the first time since March 2020 this past month, it was a feeling that I can’t quite describe, kinda like seeing an old friend after a while. It’s the best I’ve felt in years, literally.  

Artist To Artist: Greg Rekus talk to Tim Holehouse

Round 2

Greg: Tim, we both play tons of shows, you more so than me.  What’s the most shows you’ve played in a year?

Tim: In 2016 I did 300 shows. That was also the year I managed three shows in three different countries in a day (OK – Belgium, Netherlands and France, but was hectic). 

Greg: Although we both do acoustic kinda stuff, we both have a broad list of influences from all over the place. Who would you say is your biggest non-musical influence?

Tim: David Lynch’s movies and George Orwell’s novels. Some stand up comedy too, Bill Hicks, George Carlin, Dave Chappel and Doug Stanhope to name a few. 

Greg: The pandemic found all of us no good touring folk grounded for the better part of two years.  If there was an announcement that the pandemic is 100x more deadly and will never end, rendering touring impossible for the next 100 years … What would you do? Aside from a lot of head-in-the-pillow bawling, which would be my first response …

Tim: Yes, I mean this pandemic nearly had me in tears from day one really. When you drove away from Malcolm’s I was chewing back the tears. I think that’s why Malcolm suggested I try my first live stream that night. 

But, yeah, I guess I could throw myself into making movie soundtracks. Although how would people make movies? I did a couple of horror film soundtracks during lockdowns. Who would have thought I could do horrible screams and make creepy music?! Otherwise, I guess cooking is my only real transferable skill – I’d cook vegan meals for folks I guess. I do a mean tofu scramble that you will see on tour. 

Greg: What’s your favourite Rick and Morty episode?

Tim: Pickle Rick every time! But I did love it when they did that computer game short episode on YouTube, cause I genuinely thought you were writing that one! 

Greg: Moon landing…… happened or faked?

Tim: Happened… and, hey, maybe one day I’ll get to play on the moon! 

Greg: What’s the instrument you wish you could play the most?

Tim: I play most instruments badly, some less badly. But I guess violin or cello. I would say drums but that’s more that I wish I was better at them. I don’t practise enough. 

Greg: If all your gear got stolen tomorrow, but the best insurance in the world came to save the day and you could replace it with anything and everything … What would you buy?

Tim: Crumbs! Well, I would miss my Martin 000-15 so another one of them. I’ve got lucky over the years with the gear I’ve acquired. So, I’d probably just buy all the same stuff back. But I would pimp up the home studio I’ve been building. 

You can catch Tim Holehouse and Greg Rekus on a bloody huge tour around Europe in March, April and May 2022:

  • 23rd March- Cafe Sombreo, Amiens
  • 24th March- Bellenaert Café, Dunkirk
  • March 25- Escape Bar, London
  • March 26- Waterintobeer, London
  • March 27- The Ropemakers, Bridport
  • March 28- Chaplins, Bournemouth
  • March 29- The Snickelway, York
  • March 30- Al’s Duke bar, Bradford
  • March 31- Paradiddles cafe, Worcester
  • April 1- Ostrich Inn, Peterborough
  • April 2- Blue Moon, Cambridge
  • April 3- New Inn, Canterbury
  • April 4- Petite Bateaux, Namur
  • April 5- House show, Antwerp
  • April 6- Heile Welt, Munster
  • April 7- Wild Rover, Aachen
  • April 8- House show, Buggenhout
  • April 9- Cafe Ferdeche, Hamburg
  • April 10- Waggon, Offenbach
  • April 11- Art studio , Dussledorf
  • April 12- JJ’s Pub, St Wendel
  • April 13- House show, Zweibrücken
  • April 14- TBC Kasse Noisette, Granges-Près-Sion
  • April 15- Bad beatz, Bad Ragaz
  • April 16- TBC, Fraunenfield
  • April 17- Lukas Bar, St Gallen
  • April 19- International Bar, Bratislava
  • April 20- TBC, Zilina
  • April 21- TBC
  • April 22- Raw, Puchhiem
  • April 23- Vinyl Ton, Wels
  • April 23- Kafe Kork, Graz
  • April 25- Walk The Line, Larisa
  • April 26- Cafe Sparrow, Athens
  • April 27- AZ Conni, Dresden
  • April 28- Franken Bar, Berlin
  • April 29- Stoned, Leipzig
  • May 1- Spilimbergo, Monsieur D
  • May 3- Lonate Ceppino, Black Inside
  • May 4- Granozero, Leeco
  • May 5- Kraspek Myzik, Lyon
  • May 6- 648 Café, Marcellaz
  • May 7- House Show, Grenobles
  • May 8- House Show, Arles
  • May 9- Squat Show, Barcelona
  • May 10- La Cave a rock, Toulouse
  • May 11- TBC, La Rochelle
  • May 12- Cafe du Cinema, Nantes
  • May 13- Grizzly Bar, Le Harve
  • May 14- Skate park, Saint-Sylvestre-Cappel
  • May 15- Café Diskaire, Lille

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