Arts Club brings Buddy Holly back to life
Published: October 19, 2011 9:00 AM
Zachary Stevenson doesn’t just play legendary rock-n-roller Buddy Holly?. He lives him, despite Holly’s very vibrant yet tragically fleeting career and life span.
Stevenson and the Arts Club musical Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story play at Coquitlam’s Evergreen Cultural Centre from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4.
The show has taken off as part of a series that opened last month and tours through November at various B.C. cities, just as Holly’s music career was doing before his untimely death.
“The day the music died,” as Don McLean wrote in his 1971 tribute song, American Pie, was Feb. 2, 1959, when the chartered plane in which he was travelling crashed in a Iowa farm field and claimed his life of a mere 22 years, along with those of other rising singers: Ritchie Valens?, 17, and 28-year-old J.P. “The Big Bopper?” Richardson.
While Stevenson, 29, is far too young to remember Holly firsthand, his own band, Human Statues, has its music infused with duo harmonies similar to The Beatles, who made it no secret in their early days they were inspired greatly by Holly.
It is said that Holly set the template for the standard rock and roll band: Two guitars, a bass and drums. He was also one of the first of his genre to write, produce and perform his own songs.
“I really only know the basics about Buddy… and maybe a little more for someone my age,” Stevenson, a Parksville native and current Vancouver resident, told The Tri-City News on Monday. “I didn’t even realize before he was from Texas. I didn’t hear that [accent] in his voice. He was an interesting character. He was polite and of Baptist religion, yet kind of rebellious at the same time.
“His music was really kind of punk rock for its day,” Stevenson said.
The play also involves Holly’s love interest, Maria Elena Stantiago, whom he proposed to after a whirlwind romance and was left a widow after only six months of marriage.
She was pregnant at the time of Holly’s death and miscarried shortly after, reportedly due to pyschological trauma.
“There’s only so much we know about him,” Stevenson said of Holly, who perished only 18 months after his biggest hit, That’ll be the Day, was released. “What we do have is his music itself and the energy it reveals… about life and love and all that stuff a young man goes through. But, at the same time, it’s cutting edge, too.”
Elena Juatco, who plays Holly’s wife Maria, says everybody in the play has a true and timeless connection with Holly, whose other hits include Peggy Sue and Not Fade Away.
“I think it’s important to say we all love music and this show’s about Buddy Holly and his music,” Juatco says in an interview on the Arts Club’s website (www.artsclub.com). “Everyone on our cast plays an instrument and when we have breaks everyone picks up a guitar or gets on drums and we just start jamming together.”
On Sept. 7 and what would have been his 75th birthday, Holly received a star posthumously on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And he has a star like Stevenson, paying him a live tribute well-worth watching.
• For tickets, call Evergreen at 604-927-6555.