When I talked to Vancouver-based comic and actor Brent Butt a couple months ago we spent most of the time chatting about how he came to make Corner Gas: The Movie, which he described as "the little-cherry-on-top kinda thing" in relation to his popular Corner Gas TV series, which had halted production back in 2009.
But we also talked quite a bit about the show's ultra-catchy theme song, because I love it and always have. I think it deserves the title of Best Canadian Pop-Rock Ditty of All Time.
Luckily, Butt is also a huge fan of the tune, which was cowritten and sung by the Odds' Craig Northey. As it turns out, Butt didn't have much input into the creation of the theme song himself.
"Not really," he explained, "other than, when I called Craig to see if he would do the theme song for it, I basically said to him, 'It should be the type of song that, on a sunny summer day when you've got a road trip, you hit the highway and you crank it.' And that was about it. He and [former Gin Blossoms singer] Jesse Valenzuela had this song called 'Not a Lot Goin' On' that they kind of tweaked the lyrics of a bit, but it was basically that song, and we loved it.
"And they also submitted another song which is based on a discussion I had with Craig about the TV show where my character—when things would get difficult—would go to his happy place. So Craig wrote a song called 'My Happy Place', and we really loved that as well, and we were debating. And then I said 'Well, WKRP had two different theme songs, an opening and a closing, why can't we do that?' So we ended up taking both those songs Craig wrote."
The son of an arts-loving man's man who "could punch a guy out and then write a poem about it", Butt is somewhat versed in the humanities—mainly music and art. Although he's not the spitting image of your typical guitar hero, he did spend some time in a rock band before going into comedy. And he has been in Northey's studio, "just doin' stuff for shits n' giggles."
"I have a list of things that I can do almost well enough to make a living," he said, "and music is one of them. I'm not good enough to make a living playing music, but I can play music. You know, artwork—I can draw, I can do graphic art. I mean I wouldn't be put on your list of great artists. But standup [comedy] was one thing I was able to do well enough to make a buck."