You only have to see Kris Demeanor perform one song live before you label him a spazz. Over the past decade, the Calgary born and raised singer/songwriter/performance artist has gained a legion of devoted weirdoes and nuts who take joy in seeing him flop around on stage like he just got tazed.
"I'm pretty spazzy," he says. "I'm starting to worry a little about my health. I worry about having a stroke. Sometimes my heart just beats like a rabbit and I can't stop hopping around."
Demeanor's frantic live sets leave audiences with a just-slapped-for-no-reason-but-kind-of-liked-it-in-a-kinky-way-and-want-more feeling. He prides himself on getting a reaction from the crowd. Audience participation is key for Demeanor, even if it is negative.
"I have one song called 'This Old House,' where I refer to a novelty license plate that says 'jack me off' and I remember doing that at a community centre in Cochrane and seeing about five people stand up and walk out and I thought, 'Yeah, this is what Cochrane needs,' " he recalls.
To compliment Demeanor's spazzy stage theatrics, his incessant knack for writing obscure, often hilarious lyrics gives him a verbal arsenal that is just as threatening.
If Demeanor were to have a "hit single," it would be "I Have Seen the Future," which tells the tale of a father and son tennis match interrupted by a trio of teenagers from south Calgary who begin to poke fun at them for no reason. He has a rap song about allergies, a song about how the beavers think it's spring and how the right amount of weed, caffeine and booze will give you the perfect buzz. He credits his eclectic verbal overkill and ability to raise people's eyebrows through years of being his family's spokesperson.
"It was expected of me growing up to write birthday, Christmas and anniversary cards for all my relatives," he says. "I was the go-to guy. By the time I was six or seven that was a big responsibility and sometimes very trying. I ended up writing 10 to 12 thoughtful, pointed poems with lots of detail every year for many years."
Being the go-to guy and a household tradition of making your own holiday cards paid off for Demeanor, as his transition from family speechwriter to musician was a natural one.
"It seemed not too difficult to string a shit load of words together and hopefully make them funny and obtuse enough that people can get into them," he says.
Despite Demeanor's freak-out rate -- which is high-- he does try and find time to calm that heart rate of his.
"It's better to shut down certain parts of the cerebral cortex and just take pleasure in the simple things like walking my cat, cheese and bread and the sun on the leaves at 4 p.m.," he says.
His downtime should relieve fans with the knowledge that he will not burn out as he has surpassed that rock star killing year of 27. But as each year passes, one can't help but keep an eye on the beads of sweat that trickle down his face and wonder, "will this be his last performance?"
"People would say it would be romantic to die on stage," he says. "I think it would be kind of depressing."