With Ron Kanutski
As told to Matt Prokopchuk, Photo by Lois Nuttall
Comedian, musician, emcee, mental health counsellor, cultural teacher, and facilitator— Ron Kanutski continues to enjoy a career that takes him in so many directions. The local entertainer and community builder is also an avid motorcyclist; after speaking with The Walleye in early October, he would embark on a solo ride to Las Vegas. Kanutski spoke with The Walleye about his love of bikes, watching his daughter Sara Kae’s burgeoning music career, and what’s on his music playlist these days. The Walleye: Tell me about your interest in motorcycling. Ron Kanutski: I’ve ridden motorcycles most of my life. That was the first thing I had— my motorcycle license—when I was 16. I rode bikes for a while and then I kind of put it away for a bit and had a family. Then I got… I guess you’d call it your mid-life crisis, and I decided [it was] time to get back into biking. So I started, made a purchase and really enjoyed it, but I didn’t do any major rides—nothing more than eight hours, one direction. I really do enjoy it. I love the fresh air, and I love looking at the land from that perspective when you’re on two wheels and you’re not confined by walls and doors and windows. TW: You’ve had your hat in so many rings career-wise; what’s the attraction to having such a varied professional life? RK: I was trying to find something that delivers purpose, but as I got older, it was like, I wanted to include passion into that. I’ve lived a very purposeful life, I think, for many years, and then I decided I wanted to incorporate things that I enjoy. For the most part, I find that I get sort of an interest in something and then it just drives me and motivates me to chase it a little bit more. I watch some people just try so hard: “I have to get to this speed,” or “I have to perform on this stage” and I’m like nah, that’s not for me. I just think it’s better to do things that you enjoy doing and if something’s not coming, why push it or force it? I’ve watched people chase their dreams, and some people achieve it and they make it, and then other people literally get unwell trying to. I just want to wake up and be happy with what I’ve done and hopefully other people who were in the circle with me, they had a good time too. TW: What’s it been like watching Sara’s career unfurl? RK: That, for me, is amazing, because she’s doing everything that I wanted to do. The reason why I didn’t do it is because I lacked the self-esteem and I lacked, I guess, the drive or the belief to chase it. She just rose up to the occasion and she just made me so proud and it’s really great to see her. Right now she’s on the Indigenous Music Countdown and she’s recording her music. And to this day, I’m still sitting here with written songs that I’ve never taken to a studio, and I keep saying “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I’m going to do it tomorrow,” but for some reason, I don’t carry it out. There’s a lot of things I want to do but I just never follow through, and my little girl said “This is what I’m going to do” and she did it. She went to Metalworks Studios, she was the top student there—I’m very proud of her. TW: What’s on your music playlist these days? RK: Boy oh boy. I’m floating around some of the old classics, but who I really enjoy in this community right now is Cat Sabbath. [They’re] one of the greatest bands that has come down the line in this community in years. I’m an Ozzy [Osbourne] fan, I’m a Black Sabbath fan, and Cat Sabbath is a female-led Black Sabbath cover band and I love them. I had them for my 25th wedding anniversary. They’re fantastic. They let me get up and sing with them; that is even a bigger highlight. Fantastic individuals. An upand-coming band that I really enjoy watching is Lakeside District—amazing sound, I think it’s very unique. For the really heavy thrash metal, Teknosis. I don’t care how lazy I’m feeling, I will haul myself down to see Teknosis play anywhere in this community. Anything with Robin Ranger and Martin Blanchet, top notch always. Andy Wolff and The CCR Band as well, they play the Creedence Clearwater Revisited music—amazing. Just great, if you love CCR music. To me that’s some of the top groups in this town right now. I just love it. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. To hear more, find the expanded interview on our Eye To Eye podcast on Spotify, iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts, and more.