Buck 65

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Buck 65
Buck65 retouched.png
Buck 65 at Truck Festival in July 2006
Background information
Birth name Richard Terfry
Also known as DJ Critical, Jesus Murphy, Johnny Rockwell, Stinkin' Rich, Uncle Climax, Dirk Thornton, Haslam
Born (1972-03-04) March 4, 1972 (age 42)
Origin Mt. Uniacke, Nova Scotia, Canada
Genres Alternative hip hop
Experimental music
Occupations Rapper, producer, DJ
Instruments Sampler, turntables
Years active 1993-present
Labels Warner Music Canada, Strange Famous Records, Anticon, Murderecords, No Records, Hand'Solo Records
Associated acts Bike For Three!, Sebutones, Haltown Projex, 1200 Hobos, Len, Hip Club Groove, Anticon
Website www.buck65.com

Richard Terfry (born March 4, 1972), better known by his stage name Buck 65, is a Canadian alternative hip hop artist. Underpinned by an extensive background in abstract hip hop, his more recent music has extensively incorporated blues, country, rock, folk and avant-garde influences.

Terfry is also a radio host, hosting the weekday Radio 2 Drive show on CBC Radio 2 since September 2, 2008.[2] In addition, he once hosted a weekday program on CBC Radio 3's web radio station.[3]


Early career and influences[edit]

Terfry was born in 1972 and raised in Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia, a rural community 40 km north of Halifax. He was first exposed to rap music in the mid-1980s while listening to CBC Stereo's late night show Brave New Waves, and then by listening to Halifax campus community radio station CKDU. CKDU then broadcast at only 33 watts, and he had to climb a tree in his yard to hear the station's hip hop show on his radio. Fascinated by hip hop, the young Terfry taught himself how to rap, DJ, and, later, to produce records. His musical influences include MC Shan, David Lynch, Gitche Manitou and Kool Keith.

Using the moniker DJ Critical, he later hosted a hip-hop show on CKDU called The Bassment (later renamed The Treatment Program when he assumed the stage name Jesus Murphy), which aired for several years. This period overlapped with many of his non-major-label releases.

Stage names[edit]

Buck 65 has used a number of other stage names including Johnny Rockwell, Stinkin' Rich, Haslam, and Uncle Climax. These pseudonyms typically represent different characters in his raps (as in Uncle Climax, Johnny Rockwell and Stinkin' Rich) or different aspects of Buck's creativity (as noted above, DJ Critical was his DJ name on CKDU.)[citation needed]

He explains the origin of his main performance name as follows: "I was born with the name Ricardo Terfry. Where I come from, it's common when a boy is named after his father, for the father to refer to the son as 'Buck'. I don't know where that comes from or when it started. It might be a 'out-in-the-country' thing. Growing up I knew lots of sons who were referred to as 'Buck'. Sometimes even if they weren't juniors. So the joke became, I was one of 65 (a number picked randomly) 'Bucks' in my town."[4]

However when appearing on Andy Kershaw's radio show in the UK on August 8, 2004, he gave a totally different explanation: some of his earliest public performances were with an older blues musician who used to joke that Ricardo's regularity at showing up made him as reliable as a 1965 Buick. The nickname Buick 65 stuck until it was misprinted on a publicity poster as 'Buck 65' which he then adopted as his stage name.

Buck 65 has recorded an EP under the name of Dirk Thornton alongside Irishman DJ Flip, it was scheduled for release early 2007 but the date was not set. The first release under Dirk Thornton was a 7-inch vinyl single with the tracks "Yesterday's News" and "Catwalk."

Early releases[edit]

In 1993, he released his first cassette of rap tunes while performing under the alias Stinkin' Rich on the Halifax label No Records. The five song cassette was titled Chin Music, which was a reference to his interest in baseball. The release brought Stinkin' Rich to the attention of members of Halifax alternative rock band Sloan. Sloan signed him to their independent record label Murderecords and released a 7-inch single and a full length cassette called Game Tight, again featuring a reference to baseball. As Stinkin' Rich, he also appeared on numerous songs by Halifax hip hop band Hip Club Groove.

After a brief break, Terfry returned reconstituted as Buck 65, releasing Language Arts on cassette and the 12-inch single Wildlife Trilogy, followed by Vertex, which included his popular song "The Centaur." He recorded "Sebutonedef" (released in 1996 by Funtrip Records) as a collaboration with fellow Halifax artist Sixtoo. Other releases by the duo, known as Sebutones, are Psoriasis and 50/50 Where It Counts. While still far from mainstream success, he received several odd jobs in Canada's entertainment industry, including making soundtrack music and providing narration for a TV commercial for NBA apparel, and song lyrics for the popular children's program Sesame Street.

Man Overboard, originally released on Anticon, was a significant turning point in his career. The record, and the entire Anticon collective (of which Sixtoo was also a part), were considered hallmarks of a new avant-garde movement in underground hip hop. It was at this time that Buck met Cincinnati DJ Mr. Dibbs who inducted him into the 1200 Hobos, a loosely-knit hip-hop collective named for their proficiency in manipulating the Technics 1200 turntable.[5]

Critical acclaim[edit]

Buck 65 at Storsjöyran in Sweden in 2007

Many of his early projects attracted attention after they were re-released, first on the independent Metaforensics label and subsequently by Warner Music Canada.[6] While Buck 65 has gained critical acclaim and worldwide exposure through his major label deal, commercial success has escaped him.[7] Although Warner's worldwide affiliates distribute his records, Warner USA does not. After a deal was signed with V2 USA, This Right Here Is Buck 65 was released in the States, a sort of "Best of" that was marketed as an introduction to his work.[8] However after V2 chose not to release his next effort, Secret House Against the World, the deal was amicably dissolved. Since then Buck 65 was signed onto Sage Francis' Strange Famous Records, from which he has released Situation in 2007.

Buck's most recent albums have gradually moved away from his original 'pure' hip-hop sound into territory influenced by folk, blues and electronica, with some even comparing elements of his sound to Tom Waits.[9] Some of Buck 65's music is used on the Canadian show Trailer Park Boys, frequently in the character Julian's car. He gained additional recognition in 2006 when he appeared at the national Juno Awards with Pamela Anderson.[10]

Dirty Work[edit]

Buck 65 released a 5-song digital EP called Dirty Work. It was released over a month long campaign, adding one song per week for free download via his Myspace page. All five tracks are still available for download on his official website. The EP comes with artwork drawn by Buck himself, and the tracks are all outtakes from the album Situation.

Situation to present[edit]

Buck 65 released the album Situation on October 30, 2007 on Strange Famous Records in the United States.[11] and Warner Music worldwide. The album is a concept album based around the year 1957, and is a return to a more 'pure' hip hop sound than the previous blues, country and avant-garde influences in Secret House Against the World. It was produced by fellow Halifax DJ Skratch Bastid, aimed at making a "classic hip-hop record that pulses with joy and clarity of purpose".[12]

He was a host of CBC Radio 3's web radio in 2006 and 2007, and recently accepted daily hosting duties on CBC Radio 2's Radio 2 Drive beginning fall 2008.[13]

He played with Symphony Nova Scotia in the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium on April 18, 2008.[14]

In late 2008, Buck 65 released three one-track albums for free download. The three Dirtbike albums featured guest production and verses by Cadence Weapon, Emily Wells, D-Styles, Skratch Bastid, Serafina Steer, Jorun, Moka Only, Mia Clarke of Electrelane, Doseone among others.[15] Dirtbike 1/3 signified a return to Buck 65's pre-Talkin' Honky Blues hip hop roots that was expected in Situation;[citation needed] in Buck 65's own words "it's a lot like the original versions of Vertex and Man Overboard."[16]

In 2009, Buck 65 contributed "Blood Pt. 2" to the AIDS benefit album, Dark Was the Night, produced by the Red Hot Organization. It is a remix of Sufjan Stevens' take on the song "You Are the Blood", originally by Castanets.[17]

Buck 65 formed Bike for Three! with Belgian producer Greetings from Tuskan (born Joëlle Phuong Minh Lê).[18] Their debut album, More Heart Than Brains, was released on Anticon on May 26, 2009.[19] The album features "sharp lyrical details and storytelling" by Buck 65, combined with Phuong Minh Lê's production creating a "exquisite, shimmering landscape that rarely plays by the rules."[20]

Selected discography[edit]

Main article: Buck 65 discography

Buck 65

Bike for Three! (Buck 65 with Greetings from Tuskan)

Sebutones (Buck 65 with Sixtoo)

  • Psoriasis [EP] (1996)
  • 50/50 Where It Counts (1997)


  • Kunga 219 - Returned from "Tharpa's Transcripts...A Time And A Place" (2000)
  • Kunga 219 - Things Of Beauty ('98 Revisited) from "Tharpa's Transcripts...A Time And A Place" (2000)


  • 2003: Square - Nomination for the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year
  • 2004: Talkin' Honky Blues - Winner of the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year
  • 2005: Nomination for the Juno Award for Songwriter of the Year
  • 2006: "Devil's Eyes" - Winner of the Juno Award for Video of the Year
  • 2011: "What's Wrong With That?" from the film Year of the Carnivore - Nomination for the Genie Award for Achievement in Music - Original Song


  1. ^ "Buck 65 – Secret House Against The World". ChartAttack. 
  2. ^ "CBC Program Guide: Radio 2 Drive". CBC News. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  3. ^ "CBC Radio 3 Launches Brand New Web Radio Station". CBC News. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  4. ^ Lunny, Hugo (January 2003). "Buck 65 Interview with MVRemix Urban". MVRemix.com. Retrieved October 18, 2009. 
  5. ^ Wheeler, Melissa (May 2004). "Sixtoo And Change". Exclaim!. Retrieved April 17, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Warner Music Canada". 
  7. ^ Jonathan Ringen (February 24, 2005). "This Right Here Is Buck 65- Review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  8. ^ "This Right Here Is Buck 65: V2 Records". V2 Records. Retrieved December 18, 2008. [dead link]
  9. ^ Scott C (September 18, 2003). "Ramblin' Man- Haligonian Buck 65 hasn't been bored in years". Montreal Mirror. Retrieved December 18, 2008. [dead link]
  10. ^ Kristen Brown (March 8, 2006). "Final acts named for Juno Awards". CTV.ca. Retrieved December 18, 2008. 
  11. ^ "Buck 65 Explains New 1957-Themed Album, Situation". Pitchfork Media. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Love and a Buck 65". Retrieved July 27, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Buck 65: Love Letters". June 18, 2008. Archived from the original on April 1, 2008. Retrieved October 18, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Concerts On Demand: Buck 65 with Symphony Nova Scotia". CBC Radio 3. April 18, 2008. Retrieved October 18, 2009. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Buck 65: Love Letters". October 25, 2008. Archived from the original on April 1, 2008. Retrieved October 18, 2009. 
  16. ^ "Buck 65: Love Letters". September 4, 2008. Archived from the original on April 1, 2008. Retrieved October 18, 2009. 
  17. ^ "New Buck 65 - "Blood Pt. 2"". Stereogum. February 5, 2009. Retrieved July 3, 2009. 
  18. ^ "More Heart Than Brains Bike for Three!". Allmusic. 
  19. ^ "Buck 65 Announces Bike For Three Album Details". CBC Radio 3. May 5, 2009. Retrieved May 28, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Bike For Three!: More Heart Than Brains". Pitchfork Media. April 28, 2009. Retrieved May 28, 2009. 
  21. ^ http://thechronicleherald.ca/artslife/1218006-buck-65-to-play-halifax-s-marquee-on-nov-29

External links[edit]