It’s Such a Fine Line Between Stupid, and uh, Clever…

Yeah, it turns out that Rik Emmett is a big fan of the legendary rockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap. We will get back to this later.

Before reading any further, Rik says click here


We are gathered here today to pay homage to one of the greatest guitar players not only in Canada, but in the entire world. On July 10th of this month, the good people at Round Hill Records won the bid and released via digital media Riks 11 solo albums that he has written and and recorded post his successful Triumph career.

If you were a big Triumph fan, you will no doubt love these albums, but you will be surprised as Rik basically did a 180 in the direction of the music he has recorded since .

Check out albums like Push and Pull, Swing Shift, Live at Berklee etc and you will find….what I describe as a blues, folksy, vibe. I told Rik that the Mr BeBop groove reminded me of the famous Brian Setzer (Stray Cats/BS Orchestra) and Rik was flattered at that reference and comparison. I also asked him about his singing, which is often overlooked in my opinion. If you like John Denver and his singing, you will love Riks solo library. These libraries can be found via iTunes, and other digital platforms.

I tried to keep Rik 4 only fifteen minutes as I knew he had many other interviews to do this week and the next…..usually on a daily basis of about 4.

Think about it….that’s a lot of regurgitation don’t you think ? But hey, it’s a business and as per a professional, he treated me like I was a trusted good friend, letting the expletives fly as almost as they were conjunctions…….just kidding🤣😂 , he was both professional and Humber😀 ……….I mean humble.

Anyway, after some chat about the solo albums that were released, we decided to chat comedy and Sault Ste. Marie. Rik remembers the Memorial Gardens and the Soo very well and this is what he said.

oh yeah  (laughter), I’ve got fond memories of the Soo…I remember one time playing the Gardens and we had an opening act called Zon ….and they had played up in the Soo earlier that year I think and my friend Denton Young  from the band said he met a young lady there that said I was the Father of her child (laughter). So the boys asked me if I would make an appearance on their tour bus after the show so they could see the look on her face when she saw me (laughter). Those were great days…….and no, I was NOT the Father of her child 🤣.

Rik also segued into another story of a similar fashion. He told me years ago he received a letter from a young lady who was raised by a single Mom and said Rik was her father…..Well to show Riks character, he actually wrote the young lady to let her know that he was not. Rik, said he wanted to maybe help the girl with her closure or give her some peace as to her questions and maybe help her in some way. In my opinion, the Mother picked the right character guy to suggest this falsehood, as Rik actually could have ignored this young ladies inquiry, but he chose to write her back. Good job Rik. Now quit pretend sleeping with these women 😀.

I asked Rik who he thinks is a really good Canadian musician as Bryan Adams recently alluded to Joey Landreth.

oh yeah I’ve listed to his stuff and man he’s a good player for sure….I am not really a talent scout, but I have to say that when I taught at Humber there was a student of mine named Nathan Whitney, and he’s now the lead guitarist for the Thomas Rhett Band. They are a well known country band and have toured the States, played Saturday Night Live and coincidentally enough, I’m shooting a promo video with him this week for a MJS, a pickup company. I mean, that is who I would mention.

Since Rik and I both have a Humber background, I mentioned the fact that even though I didn’t take the music program,  I did excel in the advanced Cafeteria Tray Tobogganing course I took in the fall of 89. Yup, at the bottom of the hill behind the residence building you would find many a broken trays when the snow melted in the spring. Humber alumni will get that one. 🤣

Is Rik an avid reader ? he sure is. I am an avid reader and for my birthday this year, I got a bunch of Bob Dylan books and I have been reading them ever since. I’ve read everything from the Essential Interviews to Why Dylan Matters which was written by a Harvard professor that teaches a Dylan course , and this was all in the wake of Bob winning the Nobel prize and some people bad mouthing him and saying …you know he’s not a poet and whatever…..I also just read a terrific book by Michael Robbins called Equipment for Living ; On Poetry and Pop Music. He has written for the New Yorker and it’s a great read and I am also going to be releasing a book on poetry myself at some point. 

We talked about my favorite solo work such as the song above and my reference to Setzer and my liking of Mr Bebop……… thank you, and that song does swing and Brian Setzer is one of the great current rockabilly swing kind of players, and it’s nice to be mentioned in the same breath as him and it’s a nice compliment for sure. To me Mr Bebop,….. that was kind of a song I wrote ……with the guys in mind that taught at the Humber faculty, that lived and breathed music. It is a ****h to play for sure with all of the chord progressions , but it’s a fun song at the same time.

When I had asked Rik about the Spinal Tap funny one liners, he mentioned a favorite was …..these go to eleven…, and also the classic, there is a fine line between clever and stupid. When I was listening to the recording as I wrote this piece, I actually heard Riks wife burst out laughing in the background…..what a great movie.

But get this, Rik has a funny Spinal Tap story

….btw, I got to meet Harry Shearer (Derek Smalls/Spinal Tap, Simpson writer) in Chicago and I asked him if he used Mike Levine as his character ….you know Mike has that big mustache thing…..and Harry was very almost sheepish and said ….no no, we used the guy from the British band Saxon as kind of the model. It was weird and funny because we had Saxon open up for Triumph in the UK and I met that guy (laughter).

If you were wondering about the future release of the Triumph rockumentary (Lay It On the Line or Rock N Roll Machine…title not crystallized as of yet) by Banger Entertainment, Rik says there is not a date set as of yet. He has seen the second cut/draft and says it looks really good. Originally his understanding was that it was going to be released during the TIFF…Toronto Independent Film Festival, but then Covid hit …soooo….we’ll see what happens and when it gets released you’ll find out here ……..

Check out Riks extensive catalogue online via Round Hill Records, iTunes, and other digital venues.

This piece couldn’t have been written without Rik, Me, and …..TC Electronics ; thanks for the tuneup Carlos.

In case you were wondering, Rik drinks Yorkshire Decaf Orange Pekoe Tea. ????????? I know I know…….but he’s still a cool dude. 🤣🎸.


Ernest Skinner






Ernest Skinner