Alex Juskovic is among the many mourning the recent loss of Canadian rock poet Gord Downie. Downie, best known as the frontman of the Tragically Hip was a musician, writer, and activist. He passed away on October 17 after a lengthy battle with glioblastoma, an incurable form of brain cancer.
Juskovic is originally from Kingston, the same town the Tragically Hip hail from. He moved to Revelstoke this past summer. He says was inspired to sit down at the piano and write a song when he first found out about Downie’s illness.
“I read about it on CBC I think. I was sitting at the piano and my fingers just started playing. It was pretty close to my heart when I heard,” Juskovic said in an interview with The Mountaineer.
Juskovic, a musician who performs under the stage name Alex Kingston, co-wrote the song Today with bandmate Rob Bennett. The song can be played on the YouTube link above.
When Juskovic was 17 a band he was in called Thin Ice shared a rehearsal space in Kingston with The Tragically Hip.
“When I was a young fellow starting out in music my band and The Hip shared a rehearsal space before they were signed,” said Juskovic. “Back in those days we hated them. We made fun of them, they had this saxophone player who was 30 years older than the rest of them. We were rivals, we would play the big bars in Kingston. They would play there one Saturday night and we would play there the next Saturday.”
The Hip eventually ditched their saxophone player and got signed, but life had other plans for Juskovic and his bandmates. At 22, Juskovic was working at Milhaven Penitentiary. He was sitting in the guard tower when Never Kissed A Girl came on the radio.
“So there I am sitting in the Milhaven Guard Tower when this song comes on,” he said.
It wasn’t until he was in his 40s that Juskovic truly began to appreciate The Tragically Hip’s music. 38 Years Old is now his favourite Hip song.
Like many others, Juskovic said he has been truly impacted by Downie’s passing.
“I’ve never felt this type of … mourning before,” he said.