Bif Naked is used to baring her soul on stage.
But that means singing about her tumultuous life — not reading the cold, hard facts aloud to an audience, said the Vancouver punk rocker.
“When I sing, I’m invincible, a tough, kick-ass girl,” explained the singer, more formally known as Beth Torbert, “whereas when I’m reading, it feels like I’m this quirky, nerdy girl, just like anyone else.”
But pushing all nervousness aside, she’s planning to do both when she appears on Monday, Nov. 7, at the International Beer Haus in Red Deer.
Her acoustic/book tour will feature some passages from her recently released memoir, I Bificus as well as related songs about her life that will be performed acoustically.
The memoir springs from her unusual beginning — Torbert was born in New Delhi, India, to a Canadian diplomat’s teenage daughter and her private-school English boyfriend who gave her up for adoption.
She was adopted by missionaries, who moved the family between Lexington, Kentucky, and Manitoba, where she grew up in The Pas, Dauphin, and eventually Winnipeg.
Before becoming a Canadian rock icon, social advocate and breast-cancer survivor, Torbert went through some sexual traumas, substance abuse, romantic woes, eating problems and other struggles.
“When I’m reading, sometimes I cry and sometimes we laugh,” said the singer, who compared writing about her life to “ripping all your band-aids off” — but not much more painful than her personal songwriting.
As a lyricist, she feels she’s already raked over her past and reconciled with events from her adolescence. “I’m so far past it…
“What’s still fresh is my dogs dying. I cannot read those parts. I would just sit there and cry,” added Torbert, who had her ovaries removed during cancer surgery, and calls her dogs her “babies.”
The memoir also deals with her marriages. Torbert was diagnosed with breast cancer a month after her 2007 wedding to Vancouver Sun sports writer Ian Walker. They divorced in 2011.
Her new husband, Steve Allen, is a fellow musician she met through a mutual friend three years ago. He’s such a good person, said Torbert, that she had no problem inviting his mother and her friend to join them in France during their honeymoon. “I will always be grateful to her because she raised him!”
A wonderful honeymoon was had — until it was time to go home. Torbert and Allen failed to hear a gate change notice and nearly boarded a plane bound for Algeria. “I was wondering, why are there all these women in burkas?” she said, with a warm laugh.
The singer, who devotes time to martial arts and yoga, plans to record a new album next year. In the meantime, she enjoys meeting and mentoring new cancer patients to make them less fearful of the process. “I talk too much and make jokes…”
“It’s funny. When you’re a rebellious kid, you think, I’ll never be like my parents,” said Torbert. “Then you grow up and find you’re just like them!” She feels she learned everything about volunteerism from her missionary mom.
For more information about the show,with pop singer Jordan Alexander, please contact the venue.