Our friend Bernie doesn't go out paddling much anymore, mostly because he's focusing on his new music career. He creates music either under the Leaves on Trees moniker or his own name, and he recently branched out and created an album of kayak-related Beatles covers. He calls the project Abbey Cove, and he recently gave us a quick interview on the subject.
The Beatles were known for their witty and often cryptic lyrics. You’ve chosen a more straightforward approach here. If I can quote one of your versions of a popular Beatles’ classic: “When I find myself in times of trouble my instructor comes to me, speaking words of wisdom...drop your knee.” Why did you decide to record a collection of kayak-related Beatles songs?
I was looking for a new project and I thought that this would combine my two great loves, kayaking and pop music. Originally I came up with an idea for a concept album about a long distance kayaking expedition. I wrote one song for it, With a Little Help From My Sponsors, but I couldn't make the idea work. So I decided to broaden the approach and use the entire Beatles oeuvre as source material.
This is a unique project. No one’s ever done anything like this before.
That wasn’t necessarily a compliment. What, if anything, have The Beatles had to say about this?
I haven't heard anything from them. Although the tires on my car got slashed last week and the police said it was done a by drum stick. Which is weird.
Tell us about some of the songs on the album. Can’t Buy Me Glove?
I have large hands. It’s a struggle to find any kayaking gloves that fit. And they're so expensive. Never mind that annoying extra finger on my left hand.
You’ve Got to Edge Your Boat Away?
It helps avoid the rocks.
Don’t Let Me Drown?
I was kayaking alone without a float plan in the ferry traffic up near Portland Island when I suffered an appendicitis attack on the water. Then my GPS batteries croaked, the fog rolled in, my paddle snapped in half, I hadn't taken my spare, my VHF radio was tucked in my rear hatch in a bag so I didn't hear the tsunami alert, my PFD was with my radio, a shark attacked me, and my compass fell overboard. Naturally, this was the one time that I didn't bother packing my charts or checking the weather forecasts or the posted tidal information. And I struck an iceberg. Fortunately my laptop was still working so I started writing it up as an article for Sea Kayaking Magazine right there on the water.
Fixing A Hole?
That one’s pretty self-explanatory. Thank goodness for duct tape!
All My Shoving?
Have you ever tried packing the front hatch on a Tahe Marine Greenland?
While My Paddle Gently Sweeps?
I think this is the highlight of the album. It's a very quick kayaking strokes lesson set to music. I go through the major strokes, and explain how to do them, all in 4/4 time. Do you know how hard it was to come up for a rhyme for "bow draw rudder"?
You used "cow's flawed udder." It doesn't really seem appropriate.
Do you have any other questions?
I understand your next project will be an album of kayak-related Who covers called Paddlephenia?
Yes, that’s right. I’ve already recorded one song called Won’t Get Pooled Again, a song about indoor practice sessions.
Finally, what kind of kayak do you paddle?
I have a sixteen foot Charlescraft that I built myself.
Hand made? We’re impressed! What is it made with?