Catching up with the King of the North
Peter SAB Sabourin, the Original Rock N Roll Outlaw
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rick Wharton (actor, comedian, radio host, Conspiracy Guy, and Festival Hall director) will be bringing The Daily Observer readers exclusive interviews with some of the big name acts coming or that performed at Festival Hall. Instead of traditional story format, these pieces will be brought to you in the question and answer format in the same way the interviews took place. So let’s be a fly on the wall and see what Sab had to say during his ‘10 minutes with Rick’.
On Nov. 27, 2012 Festival Hall hosted a tribute and fundraiser for a local artist who has done so much for so many.
Peter (Sab) Sabourin is a musician who has given back to the community tenfold with benefits, appearances and fundraisers, a man who is a staple in the Ottawa Valley known not only for his musical abilities but also for his charity work and his keen eye to help and nurture young talent.
The fundraiser generated a substantial amount of money which went to medical and housing expenses for Sab and his family as he continues to battle lymphoma cancer. The tribute show was not only a wonderful testament to the man's track record but it was an amazing concert experience for the audience. It was a wonderful night of entertainment with a cast of top notch talent.
Sab recently visited Rick Wharton at Festival Hall, where the two sat quietly over a warm cup of tea and coffee and looked back at an amazing highlight for this city at the end of 2012.
That evening of Nov. 27. 2012 could be a postcard and testament of how good people are on both sides of the stage in Pembroke and the Ottawa Valley. Congratulations to all involved. Everyone made a difference.
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RICK – How are you my friend? You have been fighting the good fight. You are still stronger than a bull and louder that an amp that goes to 11.
SAB – I still intend to be! (laughing)
RICK – The benefit-tribute at Festival Hall was a smashing success. I know you have seen a few clips and heard testimony of people who were there. Thoughts?
SAB – First I want to thanks everyone involved. Festival Hall, The Valley Arts Council, the volunteers and box office, the people who bought tickets, the amazing talent on stage who gave their time. (Such) overwhelming support, over, overwhelming, OVERwhelming emotion.
RICK – It must have been tough for you not only physically and mentally that you could not attend a show or see the show live while it was happening. We all know you love a good show. What were you thinking when it was happening?
SAB – I was in hospital and thinking and knowing everyone was having a good time. How could you not with a good time line up like that. (laughs) You know me Spud, I hate to miss a good party.
RICK – You have shared the stage with many, many musicians. To name a few Kris Kristofferson, Rik Emmett, Ronnie Hawkins, Tom Cochrane, Micheal Burgess, DownChild Blues Band, Rick Derringer, The One and Only Waxie and the list could go on.
SAB – I am blessed. In the hospital the phone rang and it was Tom Cochrane – spoke to me for 15 – 20 minutes. The guy was totally sincere and this is one the biggest musicians in Canada. I get an email from Rik Emmett with profound words of wisdom and support. The video tributes were awesome. It meant so much – so sincere and that's the Canadian essence of being a performer. Giving. Not to be a star but to give. It means so much and to have support of people, giving time, taking time.
RICK – Is there a favourite moment or a few times when you felt the heebie geebie factor, credit Alex Lifeson (of Rush) for this line, being on stage with some musical icons?
SAB – Massey hall with Ronnie Hawkins. Trooper this past summer - Raising a little hell with the boys at SABstock. That rare night being onstage with one of the finest Rik Emmett (Triumph). Thanksgiving Jam (at) Shots Bar. Blessed with so many people and magical moments – can't bring it down to one moment. So many stories and great moments. Hey if I don't make it it in the next 35 years, I am calling it quits.
RICK – Where did you grow up in Pembroke?
SAB – Stafford is where I am from and proud of it. Small towns are big towns, ask my buddy Jason Blaine. We got all that you need. You are a valley boy Spud now. It's in us. Proud to say I am from the Ottawa Valley.
RICK – Thoughts about Pembroke and the whole Ottawa Valley, as a young boy and now?
SAB – You know, I was gone for some many years, I left at 16 – 17 years of age. This is the fifth year back, after 27 years! Great coming back, we now have better neighbours and supportive friends! This home, this farm was my great-grandfathers. You can't beat the Ottawa Valley. WE GOT ALL IT HERE!
RICK – What was moment that drew you to become a singer and songwriter?
SAB - The moment I wanted to do that for a living (thinking)...10 or 11 years old. I knew when I was a little kid, and I have done nothing else. It was because of talents and mentors (local influences like) Darwin Dermers, Timmy Hermite, Dean Lavoy, Brian Hebert, Murray Reid, Cooper Brothers. Then of course in Toronto the Downchild Blues Band. The definitive moment was jamming with Giles Chaput.
RICK – You have the great foresight to develop young talent. What drives you to do that?
SAB – I see the want in their eyes, I've shared their dreams. You have to do what you want to do.
Look at Jason Blaine, Darwin, Brody Post, Mary Street Bridge. Someone has to help young talent.
Never be jealous or have envy. Do your own thing. Do what you want to do. I had great mentors and teachers (like) Dean Lavoy, Timmy Hermite, Brian and Ron Herbert.
RICK – I know your parents and they are wonderfully good people. What the hell happened to you...(laughs)? Kidding. Okay, take your hand of my throat (laughing). What do you think they taught you as their son, to prepare you for the path you chose.
SAB – They were always supportive and never judgmental. They taught good moral fibre.
RICK – You live with 3 women. Okay, hold on, sorry, let me rephrase that. That sounds misleading and X-rated. You live with your lovely wife and two great daughters. Enquiring minds want to know. Who is messier? The ladies or Sab and the family band?
SAB – Waxie (of the band)...pees on the seat more than anybody...enough said (laughing).
RICK – This was a tribute for you as an artist and to all the work you have done for other people.
Is there anything you would like to say about it?
SAB – I want to thank everyone involved. I love doing what I do, it's the coolest job. I am blessed helping other people. I greatly appreciate everyone who came together to help me and my family.
RICK – If you ran for mayor, and with your popularity you could, what would your slogan be?
SAB – Vote Sab, he can read...(laughs)...Don't worry Ed, your job is safe. I am going to beat this (cancer). Thanks for all the prayers, thoughts. No one buy a suit. I am going to beat this. (laughs)