It’s been a while since we last brought you a glorious outsider musical artist, so let’s correct that right now, as we present for your pleasure Canada’s very own George Swan, who performs under the possibly problematic name of Big Dik Blak. Before we go any further – and just to help you picture things properly – here is a photo of George.
Having previously been involved with bands The Rash and Patsy Decline (actually, that is a great name), George adopted his new nom-de-plume for reasons best known to himself, and created a new persona to go along with it. Apparently, it isn’t designed to be offensive – though in the current climate, it’s hard to see radio stations and media outlets lining up to promote someone with such a moniker – but is meant to reflect the fact that Big Dik Blak is too dumb to even spell his own name properly. Or something like that.
Nothing if not prolific, Dig Dik Blak has no less than three new albums under his belt (though his entire back catalogue is no less that thirteen albums), all of which seem to have been recorded around the same time. One of them is a live album. All have virtually the same cover art, which resembles a teenage girl’s Myspace page from 1999.
Musically, he’s as eccentric as you’d hope. How do we describe this? Swampy blues rock, I guess, though that is a both a simplification and a wildly ambitious summary of the delights on offer. The press release mentions Deep Purple, and for once, it’s not an entirely facetious claim, as the heavy keyboard and bass combo do bring that band to mind as Satellite Gurl opens. But this retro-flavoured heavy rock is a somewhat misleading intro, as the music becomes considerably more eccentric once Big Dik’s vocals kick in. The icing on the cake – or the fly in the ointment, if you prefer, we might call his voice ‘rugged’ if we were being indulgent, or ‘somewhat all over the place’ if we weren’t. His – ahem – ‘masterpiece’ might be the title track from The Truth is Hard, in which a minimalist piano and fuzztone backing track battles manfully, but ultimately hopelessly, against Big Dik’s excitedly bellowed but only accidentally in tune vocals. The experience is not unlike the point at a karaoke night where a performer hopes that enthusiasm will mask a lack of singing ability. I might be mistaken, but I imagine that this would be a genuinely magnificent experience in live performance.
Obviously, we are very fond of Big Dik Blak, and thoroughly commend his gloriously unique recordings. You can also get an ‘I luv Big Dik’ T-shirt from his website (itself a sight to behold), and who wouldn’t want one of those?