Over the course of the band's career, The Tragically Hip's Gord Downie has had his share of strange between-song (and mid-song) banter. But in trying to stall for time Friday night during a thunderstorm at a Buffalo show, Downie might have outdone himself with an anecdote about Rod Stewart, semen and science.
The group was only a handful of songs into their show when the weather forced the group to stop, leading Downie to entertain the audience while the situation was trying to be resolved. As heard on the audio-only YouTube clip, the singer dove into the rock myth of Rod Stewart having a quart of semen pumped from his stomach. The myth seemed to nag at Downie who said he conferred with a doctor friend who said the rock group 10CC was named after the average amount of ejaculate a man produces.
Downie then said he did the math using that amount and the amount Stewart allegedly had removed. "It's something like 243 ejaculations to make a quart of semen," he said. "I mean that's 243 guys in a room with Rod Stewart. That didn't happen! He'd have to have them lined up down a very long hall. That didn't happen! His mouth would be chafed by about 76, c'mon!" Downie jokingly added he brought the issue up in Buffalo because "in Canada they don't believe in science anymore."
Stewart himself explained the myth's origins in his 2012 autobiography, which was excerpted in The Daily Beast, claiming it was the result of firing his publicist Tony Toon.
"Toon's revenge was absolutely inspired. He fed the press a story in which, as a consequence of an evening spent orally servicing a gang of sailors in a gay bar in San Diego, I had been required to check into a hospital emergency room to have my stomach pumped ... I have never orally pleasured even a solitary sailor, let alone a ship’s worth in one evening. And I have never had my stomach pumped, either of naval-issue semen or of any other kind of semen. With minor variations ... this story has stayed with me ever since. Say what you like about Tony Too — and God rest his soul — but he was good at his job."
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Despite the storytelling Downie and the band had no answer for the rain which pelted the stage and fans. "Oh god we're trying here folks, these guys are the best in the business and they're working so hard," he said. "It's like this stage was picked up by Pacific Rim and dropped into Lake Erie and run across the shore on the rocks and put back in place sort of haphazardly. And they're trying to wring the water out of every goddamn thing, and it's mostly electrical." Downie and guitarist Paul Langlois closed the show with stripped down versions of "Wheat Kings" and "Scared" before calling it a night.
According to the band's site the group's gear was damaged from the Buffalo rain, forcing a Saturday gig in Aurora, Illinois to get nixed also. The Tragically Hip are slated to play Thursday night in London, Ontario but it's unknown if the condition of the gear will have any effect on the gig.