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Feature article published in The Independent, as it appeared in the Independent’s website prior to the newspaper's sale to Northumberland News in 2007.

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October 27, 1998

Havelock fiddler adds movie credits to list of successes

Gerry Seaboyer has played fiddle in his country and western band for more than 30 years, performing in venues from barn dances to the Havelock Jamboree. Recently Seaboyer has also landed two Hollywood movie roles, including a part in an upcoming film starring Kelsey Grammer, photographed on set with Seaboyer below.

by Lorraine Dmitrovic
Special to The Independent

At 68 years of age, Gerry Seaboyer's star is shining bright. The 40-year Havelock resident, who makes his living selling furnaces and stoves, also helms the Gerry Seaboyer Band on fiddle, and he's garnered roles in two major Hollywood pictures in two years.

His first love is his country and western band, which has played for over three decades. Current members include Bob Caverly from Marmora, lead singer; bass player Barry Hebor from Hastings; Monty Mills, formerly of Trenton and now of Peterborough, on drums. Gerry's son, Ken, handles lead guitar, and also runs the family truck repair and towing garage. Newest member Sam Schlick, also of Peterborough, plays steel guitar.

Hailing originally from Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, Seaboyer is self-taught on violin. "Music has been a part of my life since I was 13. My main influence was Don Messer," he says.

Handling bookings and publicity himself, Seaboyer's main venues include oldtime and barn dances. He feels the band keeps alive a superb music style for a younger generation to enjoy. "We play down-to-earth music that doesn't need special effects to keep it on centre stage," he says.

Seaboyer personally financed the production of two cassettes. 'Traditional Fiddling' is down-home country music any Hants County belle could clog to. 'Alone Tonight' features vocals. Studio 29 in Warkworth did the mastering, and Seaboyer was impressed with the sound quality the technicians and equipment delivered.

Upcoming engagements are booked in Marmora, Harcourt, and Maynooth, with a 1999 Nova Scotia date also confirmed.

The same bus the band travels on brought Hollywood knocking on Gerry Seaboyer's door. The 70's vintage Greyhound-style bus has freight space and airplane seating.

Photographers investigated the filmworthiness of Seaboyer's bus for the upcoming film Rebound. Hollywood liked the bus and needed a driver in a non-speaking role to go with it, so two contracts were signed. Two stars were born.

This year brought Seaboyer another non-speaking part as driver, with his bus under the moniker of 'Gus Coachlines'. The production, with a shooting title of 'New Jersey Turnpikes', afforded Gerry the occasion to work with sitcom superstar Kelsey Grammer, and Hollywood living legend Robert Conrad. The six-day Canadian location shooting schedule wrapped on August 1st.

Seaboyer was thrilled to meet both stars. He recalls, "The first day on the set after we were introduced, Kelsey thanked me for the good safe driving during our scenes. Over 6 days shooting, I had supper with him several times. He's a bit older-looking than his TV character. In real life he wears glasses, and is quite bald. During our scenes he wore a toupee. But he was a real card, always joking."

Grammer was curious about the size and purpose of Seaboyer's bus, and was intrigued when Gerry told him about the C and W band. Seaboyer ended up handing out quite a few cassettes. "Many cast and crew regarded them as souvenirs, but for the life of me I can't remember if I gave a tape to Kelsey," he says.

"That first night I met him in Hamilton, we had police escorts on duty on the set, and one officer wanted one of my tapes. I felt pretty important, and it was kind of funny because he asked for my autograph, not Kelsey's!"

Seaboyer also had a few scenes on the bus with 71-year-old Robert Conrad. Being almost the same age was a natural icebreaker. "I was about the only person on the set he socialized with," he says.

"It was interesting to see how Conrad studied the script and rehearsed his lines, going over and over them again. I think I learned a lot about acting just by watching him."

Seaboyer has been told by film industry insiders to never get rid of his bus; a vehicle of that age in such good condition is a rarity and would serve as his ticket to future film work.

Seaboyer takes everything in stride, saying, "It's good old common sense and honesty that brought me to where I am today. I never thought I'd be in the movies. I've heard an eye is being kept open for a film where my band could be featured."

"I can't imagine anything more wonderful than that at my age...."

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