Largely the Truth

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Interview: Girls Like the Guitar

14 Jun 2011  ·  by Brennan Storr  ·  Be the first to comment!

Tagged under interviews What's Up Victoria Victoria profiles

This is the second of three interviews I conducted for the Victoria-based music website What's Up Victoria! The site has gone offline so I'm posting the interviews here..


Like so many people with natural talent Winnipeg native John Bakowski makes it all sound easy: “I just picked up the guitar when I was fifteen-sixteen....I was bored on a Saturday.” After four years of practicing 2-3 hours a day Bakowski makes it look easy too - when I first saw him outside Victoria’s Bedford Regency Hotel he was playing the Counting Crows’ “Mrs. Jones”, complete with vocals, and hitting every note.

Bakowski has been in Victoria six years and has been busking for the last two, playing covers of rock favourites to passersby. This year he plans on upgrading from his spot on Government Street: “I just applied for my Inner Harbour license...[I’m hoping] to find out soon,” he says. John smiles nervously then, the only sign of uncertainty I see from the laid-back 20-year-old.

When he’s not playing “Hotel California” to eager tourists Bakowski works part-time in a local eatery. Like many young musicians he wants to break into the industry and play music full-time: “I’m the kind of person who wants to be on everyone’s T.V., in everyone’s house....and” he says, a mischievous grin on his face, “girls like the guitar.”

This is all too apparent when partway into “House of the Rising Sun” a pretty young blonde in yoga pants joins in. She doesn’t know all the words but then, when you look like that, you don’t need to. After the song she trades smiles with John then walks away and turning to me he says humbly, “I think that had more to do with you taking pictures.” The hell it did.

A smile and a guitar go a long way in this world and as I take my leave of John, just as he launches into a tastefully edited version of Sublime’s “What I Got”, I can’t help but envy him just a little bit.

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