Bif Naked has stripped down. Oh, she’s bared it all before lyrically, writing about everything from abortion to self-esteem, but now she’s done it musically too. Bif Naked Forever: Acoustic Hits & Other Delights is the Vancouver rock singer’s first-ever acoustic album in a solo career dating back to the early 90s.
The idea to recut some of her best-known songs, such as “Spaceman,” “Lucky,” “Moment of Weakness,” “Daddy’s Getting Married,” “Supergirl” and “Chotee” actually came from her fans, for whom she and guitarist J.D. Ekstrom played on a special acoustic tour in soft-seater theatres. Afterwards, people asked her where they could get the album. Of course, they couldn’t.
So last summer, she got together with her long-time guitarist Doug Fury, at his recording studio and started laying down songs acoustically from her vast catalogue. “That’s how we wrote ‘em,” Naked recalls. “We just kind of wrote sitting on the edge of a hotel room bed with an acoustic guitar and me singing, so it really isn’t much of a stretch for me to perform them like this because they were all written like that.” Ekstrom also plays on the album.
[quote]I’m an old lady now and as soon as my makeup runs it’s like f**in’ ugly.[/quote]Although they recorded far more songs than the 14 that appear on Bif Naked Forever: Acoustic Hits & Other Delights — which includes three new songs too, the single, “So Happy I Could Die;” “The Only One” and “Nobody Knows” — she says the selection was picked “randomly” and not because one song is dearer to her than another.
“I think they all have that artistic relevance for me personally,” says Naked. “Unfortunately, I’m still as much of a suckhole as I was when I was 21. Nothing has changed for me in 20 years and I really have to disassociate when I perform material because I’m a jerk, you know, shit makes me cry.
“I have cried onstage before when I’m singing. I feel very stupid when I do it because we’re old punkers, and we don’t do that. And besides, I’m an old lady now and as soon as my makeup runs it’s like f**in’ ugly. So it’s nothing that I want to do, but I find that I still have potential to be on edge with every song. Even since the days that those songs were written, I can still feel exactly the same amount of sadness or introspection that I did when I wrote them.”
Naked, who battled and beat breast cancer in 2008, just months after her marriage to sports writer Ian Walker (they are now divorced), also had another major health scare right after she signed her deal with John Dexter’s Reliant label to release Bif Naked Forever: Acoustic Hits & Other Delights. Dexter produced Naked self-titled full-length debut back in 1995 and co-wrote a handful of those songs with her, including “Daddy’s Getting Married.”
“I think a week after I signed my contract with John, my kidney failed and I wound up in the hospital with heart surgery and I thought, ‘This is great. Now I’m gonna f**kin’ croak because everything in my life is full circle — my divorce was getting finalized. I had reconnected with people from the best parts of my life, the best era, and I thought, ‘This is just too weird, man, and now I’m down for the count.’
“So it was very ominous and very auspicious for me. I did recover and I got out of the hospital — which was its own kind of hilarious because the cardiologist was very aware that I was going through a lot of heartbreak — of course the tragedy of a marriage not lasting and, for me, it was just a devastating shock, especially after cancer — and he basically told me that he mended my broken heart.”
Now Naked is working on a book for Harper Collins, a collection of autobiographical essays about various parts of her life — from music to cancer — baring it all in another format.