From the Archives: Out for a Rip with B. Rich

Michael Saxe 

Brendan Richmond, out for a rip. (Photo by Rich S.)

[This article ran in the February/March 2014 issue of The SCOOP.]
Warning: This interview contains slang.

If you have been anywhere near the Internet in the last few months, you might have come across the music video for Out For A Rip, a song by the rap group Shark Tank. Over a smooth, laidback beat, front man B. Rich lays down verses about life in “the Great White North,” “rockin’ plaid jackets,” and “operatin’ chainsaws,” while the refrain “just out for a rip are ya, bud?” is catchy enough to remain lodged firmly in your head for days.

B. Rich, otherwise known as Brendan Richmond, is a local boy. Born and raised in Tamworth, Brendan first started making music as a high school student at NDSS, as guitarist and vocalist in the rock-turned-rap group, Slaves of Spanky. Twenty years later Slaves of Spanky are still making music, although Brendan and co-founding member Pete Rae (Cap’t Footbags) involve themselves in other musical projects as well.

I recently sat down with Brendan for a Facebook chat to talk about the viral success of Out For A Rip, future projects and small town Canadian life.

The SCOOP: First of all, congrats on the success of Out For a Rip. What have the last few months been like?

B. Rich: Thanks, hombre! It's definitely been a whole lot busier than usual since the video came out. The good kind of busy though. I’ve spent lots of time following up on a ton of cool opportunities that have opened up for me. Other than that, the last few months have been cold as bananas. This winter stuff is rough.

The SCOOP: How did the song and the video come to life?

B. Rich: The song stemmed from spending a lot of time with the American members of my band Shark Tank. The two other guys are from Pittsburg and Baltimore, and we spent a lot of time comparing our local dialects. We thought it'd be tight for me to release a whole track in the Canadian voice, so we made it happen!

The video was something I put together on pretty short notice with some Kingston friends over the Thanksgiving weekend last year. The dude in the Bruins jersey is my good pal Elijah Abrams, a wild dude and phenomenal bass player with Rueben Degroot's band. The other guy is my little brother, Christian Richmond. The video also featured Zane Whitfield and Donny Larson, two super talented audio engineers, as well as the lovely Sarah Harmer...oh, and my dad has a cameo at the end.

The whole thing was shot and edited over the course of a month or so, I slapped er' on the Internet - and the rest is history! 

The SCOOP: What got you into music in the first place? Who have your influences been? 

B. Rich: I guess the main attraction to music started back in the day, getting into Nirvana as a teenager...rocking out, jumping on the couch and rockin’ the air guitar with my bonehead friends.

The SCOOP: Excuse me. I resemble that remark.

B. Rich: Ha! You know it! Over the years the artists that have influenced me the most have always been the ones who seem to be having the most fun, and really anybody who’s a true entertainer - musicians of all styles, comedians, magicians, anybody doin' their THING!

I might add, that the first Cypress Hill album definitely blew me out of the water in 1992. That was a highly influential record.

The SCOOP: Yes. Noted.

You must be pretty tuned into the local music scene - which local musicians do you see doing really interesting things?

B. Rich: The last few albums by Rueben Degroot have been absolutely amazing. The dude is a phenomenal songwriter, and his band is the tightest around. By all means, check him out live, or look him up on the Google, or whatever kids are calling it these days.

The SCOOP: How did you get together with the Shark Tank guys?

B. Rich: I met the other 2 members of Shark Tank in 2001 and 2004, respectively. Both meetings were basically the result of going out to see bands or playing shows with Slaves of Spanky. Both Lord Grunge and Height had their own projects that I was a big fan of. We became friends over the years and kept in touch, eventually putting the band together in 2008. We've tried to put out an album every year or two since then, and it has been a blast.

The SCOOP: And what is next for you? Any other projects on the go?

B. Rich: Right now, I'm trying to jump on writing some follow-up material for Out For a Rip, and working on booking some gigs across Canada in the winter. I should really be booking gigs in the Caribbean, but, gotta strike while the iron's hot, right? There's also a new Shark Tank album that's almost finished, and I'm supposed to be renovating my dad’s bathroom with him - in between rapping, of course.

The SCOOP: Aside from painting and bathroom renos, you do a lot of collaboration and different projects - even HEY KIDS!, the kids project. There must be something in the variety and change that drives you.

B. Rich: Yeah, I seem to always have a bunch of stuff on the go. I guess it's always been about trying to keep it interesting and keep the creativity going in as many directions as possible... HEY KIDS! is still rockin' for the under 3' tall crowd – we’ve got a CD and a video – although my involvement may be less prominent than it's been in the past, as I'm having to shift focus to the current project for the moment.

The SCOOP: As of this interview, the video has been viewed 3,267,887 times on YouTube [update: 16,340,630 views as of January 18, 2020]. What does that number represent? Do you feel any pressure to follow it up? What are your expectations?

B. Rich: It's a little overwhelming at times, and there's obviously some pressure to follow it up in a big way, but it's a fun kind of pressure to have. It gets me pretty psyched that the track has resonated with people in a big way. It’s both very weird and very cool. I’m trying to keep the expectations to a minimum and just roll with it. I try and take every opportunity that presents itself, and hopefully entertain a whole bunch of people in the process.

The SCOOP: I saw some of your visual art using old barn boards and farm implements in Bella Bistro in Kingston recently. It seems to be both a different avenue and consistent with what you are doing now.

B. Rich: Yeah, the visual art was a really enjoyable process that I've been trying to find time to get back into, although I don't see a lot of free time in the near future. Which is cool...I'd never made the connection between the art and the new rap project, but yeah, I guess both projects are new ways of looking at local history and culture. That makes total sense. You're very smart.

The SCOOP: Thank you. I appreciate that.

What are your thoughts on being a Canadian artist?

B. Rich: I guess I've never really thought of myself as a specifically Canadian artist, as I've split my most creative experiences between here and the U.S. But as a result of the video going viral, and the ensuing project and touring to support it, I'm looking forward to getting into something that's insanely Canadian and seeing what comes of it.

The SCOOP: When I read the comments under the video on YouTube, people, no matter where they are, Sudbury, Moose Jaw or Halifax, identify with the song and the video. The song is, in a sense, Canadiana, in the same vein as Stompin’ Tom and Bob and Doug Mackenzie, the FUBAR films and that Joe Canadian commercial from a few years back.

B. Rich: Hosers unite! Yeah, seems like it really struck a chord with small town Canada... everybody knows a "buddy" that they associate with some of the elements of the video.

The SCOOP: Okay, that should about do it. Any final thoughts?

B. Rich: SMOKE BREAAAAK!

You can visit B. Rich online at brichrap.com, follow him on Twitter @brichrap and check out Shark Tank on Facebook by visiting facebook.com/sharktankrap. The video for Out For a Rip can be found on YouTube – but be forewarned, it contains some salty language.

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