Sam was the first Masterton I ever met. I saw him walking down the side of the road outside Ft. Langley, British Columbia. He had a guitar-case in hand, Desperado-style, but I guess I didn't put two-and-two together, because I pulled my peeling-paint Volkswagen Jetta over and offered him a ride. He didn't shoot or knife me or anything, but when in time I came to know the rest of the crazy Masterton clan, I had to wonder how I'd missed the signs.
Sam lived in a house cram-packed with three certifiable brothers, a mustachioed, eye-twinkling father, and one extremely harried, long-suffering mum. There was Tom (aka: "Chip"), who liked to hop trains and later, when we were installing natural-gas fireplaces together, tended to run around on the roof-ridges of multi-story homes without a harness. And Pete, the goofy-grinned hockey-star. Or Andy, who at one time or another hung out with a lot of Hell's Angels,* and famously defended his big-brother Tom from a near-certain beating by dropping to one knee and sucker-punching the groinal sub-region of some guy who'd been operating under the misconception that he was the baddest mofo in the room.
The Mastertons were nuts, but there was another side, too. An artsy side.
Their big-grinning father loves to paint and draw, for example, and nearly every square inch of the walls of their home is plastered with both his artwork and the impressive collection of paintings they've amassed over the years.
Then there's Sam -- the best slide guitarist I've had the pleasure to know. I finagled him into playing an ex tempore concert with my friends Chris and Jesse from Stabilo (check out THIS VIDEO I wrote for them!) at my wedding reception up in Maple Ridge, and I gotta say their rendition of "Rocky Raccoon" still sometimes runs through my head.
All of this, I suppose, is a lead-up to expounding on the importance of picking up crazy-looking hitch-hikers. Either that, or to get you to watch this recent jam-video of the (gloriously bearded) Sam Masterton -- shippin' it... as usual. Oh, and check out his Myspace for more (my favorite song is "You Keep Well").
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*Did you know that the Value Village chain of thrift stores is a money-laundering front for the Hell's Angels? That's a word of truth, straight from the mouth of Masterton.