Rock'n'roll lifestyle Redefined

Karla Hayward
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Tired of being away from his family, Ken Tizzard opted for a different twist for his rock 'n' roll life - he took them on tour with him

He's been seen on Jay Leno and at the Much Music Awards. He's been heard on six gold and platinum records. He's played with radio favourites like The Watchmen and Thornley. But underneath it all, Ken Tizzard considers himself a Newfoundlander first and foremost.

Tizzard left Newfoundland at 19 and spent the next decade and a half deep in the Canadian music scene, travelling the globe, writing and making music with some of the very best out there.

Newfoundland native and former watchmen bassist Ken Tizzard works on a solo recording in the studio. - Submitted photo

He's been seen on Jay Leno and at the Much Music Awards. He's been heard on six gold and platinum records. He's played with radio favourites like The Watchmen and Thornley. But underneath it all, Ken Tizzard considers himself a Newfoundlander first and foremost.

Tizzard left Newfoundland at 19 and spent the next decade and a half deep in the Canadian music scene, travelling the globe, writing and making music with some of the very best out there.

It all spelled great success, but then Tizzard decided he need a change and shed his radio band persona for an acoustic guitar and a solo career.

So why'd he mess with a good thing?

"If it's not broke don't fix it: yeah, that makes sense. But, the music industry is pretty broken right now. The whole model that I worked with for almost 15 years ... is pretty much all gone these days."

Plus, Tizzard adds, "There's only so much drinking and doping you can do before you get tired of it."

Guess that whole rock-star lifestyle ain't all it's cracked up to be after all.

"I wanted to get back to something a little more from the heart," he explains. "And also, being away 10 months of the year wasn't very good for raising kids. I didn't want to be one of those guys who came home at 45 or 50 and had a couple of teenage kids that he didn't know."

With two young daughters and a wife at home, one can see Tizzard's logic.

Unfortunately, being a stay-at-home dad is essentially impossible for a successful musician, so Tizzard got creative. He found a rather novel solution that allowed him to both tour in support of his music, and stay close to his family - he took them all on the road with him.

Tizzard's wife is a school teacher, so for the last three years, the couple has packed up their girls on the last day of school and hit the road in an RV.

"This summer past we did about 10,000 miles," says Tizzard. "About 20 shows in Canada, and then we went down to the States through Los Angeles, New Mexico, Texas, Tennessee, and all those places."

It was this "family vacation" that inspired him to write his second solo effort, "Lost in Awe."

Tizzard's says the new record is a stripped-down acoustic one, featuring just guitar, harmonica and voice, and adds that its sound gets compared Bruce Cockburn, Bob Dylan and the like.

The title comes from his experiences while travelling - the sense of insignificance one can only feel in the shadow of a mountain or underneath an enormous starry sky.

"I got lost in the awesome grandeur of those mountains," he says.

Writing the album also, "Opened up a lot of memories of growing up in Newfoundland," Tizzard says.

References to his time in the local arts scene, his mother's death from cancer and his friends' anguish over moving away to find work can all be found on "Lost in Awe."

How perfect then, that he's bringing his show to back home this fall. Ken Tizzard & the Variety Show Players can be heard Thursday and Friday, Oct. 2 and 3 at the Ship Pub, off Duckworth Street.

For more on Tizzard, go to www.kentizzard.com

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Canada, Los Angeles New Mexico Texas Tennessee Duckworth Street

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