Soaked in Secrets

by R L Armstrong

Soaked in Secrets by R L Armstrong
The day is November 9, 2019, and I live in Calgary Alberta, Canada. I grew up in Stratford, Ontario, Canada, the same town as Justin Bieber. Belieber it or not I actually babysat him once and played music with him a few times before he became the hugely famous, hated, loved, etc etc .etc .superstar kid-adult that he is now. That being said the youth culture that I grew up in that town a few years before he was not at all like what you would think a town that Justin Bieber partly grew up in would be…

Listen to the album while reading the text.


Stratford is partly an actor’s town with 3 theaters and every other street is named after a Shakespearean play or a character in one. To the annoyance of many locals, thousands of tourists would come every summer to watch plays on those theater stages. Other than that though, Stratford was actually a factory town with like 20 of them scattered in and around it.

I was a kid of one of those factory working people and grew up an only child with a lot of time to myself because my mom was on shift work. The kids I met in Stratford growing up were completely crazy, totally against the grain (for the times). Kind of like the cast of Jack-ass meets the nerdy kid who does Magic or plays on his computer all day… They were just always doing crazy shit that could get them hurt or make them look really smart…

As I got older, all these kids played sports just as much as they would be making art or causing shit… Usually, with most people in most places, they do one or the other. Not in Stratford though… I don’t know if it was the fact that there was so much emphasis on acting that made kids always have that crazy side, but it was noticeable. Once we had cars we went to other towns and everyone would say you’re from Stratford, aren’t you? We just stuck out.

Against the Grain

I personally started to make music around the age of 15 and played with any kid who had a drum kit cuz they usually had a house for us to get loud.

I, like Bieber, grew up in apartments around Stratford. As I got older, I dated a girl that was friends with Bieber’s mom Patti. She asked us one night to babysit Justin, so we did… He was like 3 and he just loved running around pretending to play guitar and bang a bongo. As he got older, I was playing in bands, and every once and a while he would be around with his mom and we or others would let him play drums… He really was talented.

The Stratford youth culture in my high school years was so vibrant and connected and you could listen to anything from symphonic music to noise music to pop music and at least one person would know what it was… growing up in this I kind of got the feeling that we were against the grain compared to say, regular kids.

This Creative Bug

I know for me it seemed like this youthful freedom slightly went to my head, and I felt liked because I was able to be respected and understood on so many levels, I was extra special. I mean I thought I was a cool kid with nothing to lose and I could listen to odd music or regular music and just do what I wanted to do all the time…

But as I got older I realized a lot of other humans in the big bad world do not take kindly to people that do things their own way and are open to a lot of things. I found that I had to change a bit in order to feel comfortable in the real world. Deep down though I have this creative bug that does not go away, and this urge to be a little different and at the same time be normal.

A Little Bit of that Spark

To get to the topic of the music that I am posting on here, I think there is a little bit of that spark in it from back in Stratford when I was a kid. And, if so, I love that!

Anyway, once I saw that Justin Bieber was getting so big in the world, I often would see people react to his antics and think, man, some of that crazy Stratford (something in the water) rebelliousness was still in him, and I’d laugh to myself… Even when you’re uber-famous, the place you come from never goes away.

So here is this new music project I’m working on called Soaked in Secrets… It’s all written on drums first (it’s electronic drum sounds, but I physically play them), then I add bass vocals or whatever… I’m going to play live as a duo .. two drummers with vocals and I will (strategically, lol) also play bass… I wrote the parts so that it is easy to switch between the two. I’m still looking for another drummer now that likes to play a more breakbeat style rather than a big rock sound style, we will see…

Thanks for reading.



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