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.
“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.”