Jon McKiel Grew Up in a Tough Maritime Town

On being barred from bars, playing music on trains, and super human strength.

If you pissed away tens of thousands of dollars on an English degree, as some freelancer writers foolishly have, you may recall that opium-addled poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge coined the term "suspension of disbelief" in the early 19th century, describing the way we allow ourselves to temporarily believe the unbelievable for the sake of enjoying literature. Back then, that meant reading a story involving ghosts without going, ''Pardon me, my good fellow, but the ignoble proposition that I shall concede to your notion of supernatural beings is splendiferously preposterous.'' Today, that means watching porn without going, ''Dudebro, there's NO WAY she's a virgin, I can see her C-section scar!''

Nobody likes pricks who, while watching Gravity or Star Wars, all too smugly edify everyone around them with unnecessary factoids, like, "ACTUALLY, an explosion like that would literally make no sound in outer space, literally." Point being, if you're the type of person who refuses to suspend your disbelief, then you're a fucking asshole.

Jon McKiel's new video for his unreleased ''I Know (I Know)'' is a mash-up of footage from the 1977 made-for-TV movie Mad Bull, put together by Halifax's Ryan Delehanty. Although most pro wrestling fans are unaware of Coleridge—sorry, but Romantic poetry takes a backseat to wearing pajama pants all day in public while rockin' six dollar haircuts—wrestlers represent perhaps today's best example of Coleridge's suspended disbelief: I know (I know), pro wrestling is fake—but it's still real to me dammit! Anyway, we'll accept the wrestling fiction prima facie, but we decided to pull back the curtain on the man responsible, McKiel himself, who told us about the amateur wrestling circuit in his hometown of Amherst, Nova Scotia, and explained why you're fucked if you get banned from one of the bars in town.

Noisey: I think Honky Tonk Man wrestled in Moncton a few days ago.
Jon McKiel: I heard about that.

I'm surprised he's still going.
Yeah me too. But also, the Iron Sheik is still going. He's always in Toronto. He kinda goes on these tirades and gets himself on the news sometimes.

Have you ever been to an amateur wrestling night?
Some of those would come to town when I was a kid. It was called the Grand Prix, I think. There was this guy called the Cuban Assassin who ruled. And when he died, his son started wrestling too. Incredibly, he was called Cuban Assassin 2.

2?! That does rule. Where was that?
In Amherst, Nova Scotia.

What was it like growing up there?
It was cool. It was pretty mundane, I guess. It's a small industrial little town. It's also a pretty rough town. The Maynards have a song about it called ''Fight Town.'' There are definitely some pretty unsavoury characters.

The bars are rough?
The pizza shop there has a list, and if you get kicked out of one bar, that means you get kicked out of all the bars. Your name is published right there. And published in the newspaper as well. It's called the Barred List. I remember going back home to visit my family and I'd say to my friend, ''Ok cool, let's go out and get a beer.'' And he'd be like, ''Fuck man, I can't. I'm on the Barred List." In Amherst, the best thing though is to read in the court news in the paper, 'cause it's mainly people you know in there. I mean… well, it's actually really sad. But it can be entertaining when someone you grew up with gets in some small amount of trouble, maybe.

Anything off the top of your head?
Probably the funniest was this kid who stayed with us when I was going to high school. He was a skinhead, but not like a racist skinhead. He wasn't a typical student or whatever. He was a freak to the faculty probably. Anyway, he ran for school president and won, I don't know how, he was just like, "Vote for me! I'm crazy, not the norm!" And he won. And within a couple weeks of his inauguration, he robbed my neighbour and went to jail for I don't know how long. But, obviously, he wasn't president anymore.

Does it take a lot to get barred from an Amherst bar?
I think it's pretty easy. I think it's kind of fun for the barmen to fuck with people. I mean, some shitty stuff happens for sure, but bars are just disgusting places sometimes.

Did you play music growing up there?
I had a band, or, I guess, was in another guy's band. It was called Malicious Attempt. It was straight punk music. Someone actually just posted all our old songs on Bandcamp recently. We basically just toured around Nova Scotia, way back in high school.

I read somewhere that you've played on trains?
Totally. That's right. We had a really great deal with VIA Rail where we played for half an hour twice a day and we you'd get free travel, free meals, free sleeper cars. And we could get off the train and back on the train basically wherever we wanted. I've done it twice on more folky tours.

Someone told me VIA Rail did that but I assumed they were exaggerating about how good of a deal it is. One of my favourite videos of yours is "Monster of the Miriamichi" about the maritime serial killer Allan Legere, who ended up escaping while in custody only to end up killing more people.
He must be really old now. Apparently he has super human strength. One of the craziest things I heard about him was from some guy I was talking to at a wedding. He told me he saw Allan Legere running away from the cops one night, and he was running off a bungalow—a one-and-a-half story house—and he was on the roof, and he ran off the roof, landed on the ground and just kept on running. Didn't even faze him.

Greg Pike has pissed away thousands of dollars on an English Degree and is also on Twitter.


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