Nanaimo’s Butts Giraud plays a harmonica solo during a performance with Dennis Fox at the Shady Rest Pub at Qualicum Beach last month. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Bellyflopper still putting on a show

CFLer, pro wrestler, businessman, harmonica player Butts Giraud releases album

He was a CFL football player, a pro wrestling main eventer and a world bellyflop champion.

And Butts Giraud can still put on a show.

The 71-year-old Nanaimo man has discovered new passions in his senior years: music and playing harmonica. Giraud has become a fixture on the mid-Island blues scene, and in 2016, he released his first album, Silver Magic.

“It’s something that will never go away,” he said. “When I’m gone out of this world, my kids will be able to have something and they’ll say, ‘This is something that grandpa did in 2016.’ It’s a keepsake. And I did it for the challenge, too.”

Giraud didn’t seriously pick up the harmonica until about six years ago. He liked music as much as the next guy, but it was always just something that was in the background over the years as he lived a life that would be hard to believe if it weren’t all true.

Giraud played U.S. college football and then in the Canadian Football League with his hometown B.C. Lions and also the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He wrestled professionally around the world, once dining with Saddam Hussein before a match against an Iraqi champion. Giraud was a four-time world bellyflop champion known for lighting himself on fire before his leaps. He founded the Dog’s Ear T-Shirts and Embroidery Co., which was instrumental in the Vancouver Canucks’ 1982 ‘towel power’ marketing phenomenon.

“One thing I know about myself, if I’m going to do something, I want to do it properly, I want to do it well, I want to do it to the best that I can do it,” Giraud said.

So after being given a harmonica so he could join in at a jam while vacationing in Hawaii, Giraud decided the instrument wasn’t just a holiday fling. He began lessons right away and signed up for blues camp in Mississippi.

“I started off just trying to play harmonica tunes, even the cowboy tunes, the campground [tunes], Old Susanna, stuff like that,” he said. “You’ve got to start it from the bottom because I didn’t know anything about music, I don’t read music, I’ve just got an ear for it, hopefully, and that’s how I survive.”

It took a while for him to gain respect on the music scene, but he’s made a lot of friends and said he knows now that Vancouver Island has got great musicians who are good people. He’s joined Andre Kaufmann’s The Real Deal Band and plays regularly with other musicians, too.

“I know that I can hold my own. I can go and play with anybody today and I’ve never embarrassed anybody…” Giraud said. “There’s always going to be somebody better playing an instrument than you. You never want to compare yourself to somebody else. Everybody has a different style. You just try to fit in, you do the best you can.”

Giraud’s 17-track album was mixed by Ron Obvious at Summit Recording Solutions at Qualicum Bay and is packed with guest artists such as Kaufmann, Gerry Barnum, Dennis Fox and others. The process took tremendous amounts of time and patience, said Giraud, but “the satisfaction after doing it was really phenomenal.”

Giraud suggested in his 2016 autobiography, The Last Chapter, that he’s done re-inventing himself. That may be true, but the harmonica man has a lot of music he still wants to play.

“I’m constantly thinking about, what can I do better in this, how can I practise this better?” he said. “And I think it keeps you young, it keeps you motivated.”

For information about Giraud’s book or album, e-mail dogsear@shaw.ca.

WHAT’S ON … Upcoming performances by harmonica player Butts Giraud and his bandmates: Saturday, Nov. 4, French Creek Marine Pub, Parksville. Nov. 5, Bridgemans Bistro, Mill Bay. Nov. 18, Cumberland Hotel. Nov. 25, Shady Rest, Qualicum Beach. Dec. 3, Bridgemans Bistro, Mill Bay.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Oceanside RCMP: ‘Steal from cars, go behind bars’

Man in custody after pair of vehicles broken into in French Creek; officer breaks ankle during arrest

Large ‘problematic’ tree removed from Qualicum Beach golf course

Lombardy Poplar tree taken down by town, member upset

RDN to share cost of Parksville’s goose harvest

City asked regional district to pay one-third of $35K expense

SD69 students set new mark at Skills BC event

Three elementary schools reach medal podium

Parksville’s Arrowsmith Lodge and Cokely Manor celebrate 50 years

Week of ‘60s-themed activities starts on April 26

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Woman who was chased and tackled after break-in sentenced on Vancouver Island

Natasha Geraldine Harris, 28, was sentenced to time served and will be released from jail

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Can you put your phone down for Mother’s Day?

#DiningMode campaign encourages people to leave the phone alone while eating

Most Read