Brocket 99: Over 23 years and still notorious

BrocketWhile certainly not the pride of Lethbridge (quite the opposite), Brocket 99 is one of those enigmas that started as an inside joke and ended up being an underground phenomenon. If you’re from Southern Alberta, or have spent any good amount of time here, you’ve probably heard of a phony native radio station called Brocket 99.

But before I continue, I’d like to add a caveat to this article. I don’t agree with its portrayal of our aboriginal community, and only offer this as an insight into a subject unfamiliar to many. For years I’ve heard mention of Brocket 99, but had never been exposed to it. That is until a few weeks ago, when my curiousity finally led me to downloading (discretion advised), listening and learning more about it.

Lethbridge is a multi-cultural community with a flourishing population of First Nations people, many from surrounding reserves in Southern Alberta. Brocket is a small town on the Piikani Nation Reserve, located roughly 70KM west of Lethbridge on Highway 3 (between Pincher Creek and Fort Macleod). Brocket 99 is a fake, satirical FM radio station (that broadcasts in mono) set upon this reserve.

There are many stories as to the origins of this recording. Some say it was a group of university radio students, expelled for trying to sell the tape in the U of L bookstore. More popular is the rumour of it being our local celebrity and former radio DJ, Mark Campbell. Mark, being interviewed on the Michael Anthony Show, was quoted as saying:

The tape sounded an awful lot like me so the people in Southern Alberta who had heard me, and they had only heard me because I was just here longer than anyone else because I never left. So people would automatically assume. (They would say) ‘Hey that tape there. That racy native tape. That’s Mark Campbell.’

Although Mark flat out denies any involvement in the production, it seems he does have some knowledge of those involved. In particular is one fellow who goes by the name of “Ernie Scar,” the main host for Brocket 99.

Back in 1986, a cassette tape of a fake radio show called “AIDS Radio” fell upon the ears of Ernie, a local DJ. A spoof of a gay radio station, it featured characters with names like “Hugh Jardon.” The tape provided inspiration for Brocket 99, a show hosted by “indians” that parodied the stereotypes of our aboriginal population, and radio stations in general.

A few copies of the 45-minute cassette were made for friends, who made copies for their friends. Going viral, it became notorious for being offensive and politically-incorrect. Even condemned as racist material, the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission once sought the public to come forward any information.

In an interview with Ernie Scar, he disputed its roots in racism and questioned the show’s popularity:

This is actually quite absurd, and to a degree even distressing that someone can be considered a star over an underground, infantile, profane gag.

Yet the tape still continued to surface over the years. Fast-forward to 2009 and it’s still talked about. There are even two documentaries – one produced in 2007 and the other in-development. The latter features Ernie Scar himself. But unfortunately, I was unable to get a hold of either. My hopes are that they do become publicly available, since there is a lot of insight to be gleaned from the people interviewed.

The question remains of why this thing has not died out yet? Is there some relevance to this day that keeps it going, and what is it? Or is it just entertainment, appealing to some sub-culture of Lethbridge?

So there’s a little background to Brocket 99 – I’ll leave you to formulate your own opinion on this subject. Let me know in the comments what your thoughts are.

Brocket 99

  • Hi,

    I am just curious if my two most recent posts made it or are lost as they did not show up. They said they were posted but did not show up, when I revisited this page.

    Anyway here are some music videos some Brocketologists may like.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/kangmedia

    Thanks!

  • Hi,

    I am just curious if my two most recent posts made it or are lost as they did not show up. They said they were posted but did not show up, when I revisited this page.

    Anyway here are some music videos some Brocketologists may like.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/kangmedia

    Thanks!

  • Hey Kang, they were automatically flagged as spam and awaiting moderation. All is well.

    I am very surprised at the amount of comments that has been brought to this post!

    Wasn’t Brocket 99 recorded at the U of L?

    I have not listened to the spin-off. Does Lenny Red-Nuts take any interesting angles or address any of the racist sentiments?

  • Hey Kang, they were automatically flagged as spam and awaiting moderation. All is well.

    I am very surprised at the amount of comments that has been brought to this post!

    Wasn’t Brocket 99 recorded at the U of L?

    I have not listened to the spin-off. Does Lenny Red-Nuts take any interesting angles or address any of the racist sentiments?

  • I am quite surprised as well for all of the activity here.

    No, Brocket 99 was not recorded at the U of L, but it does make a great story. If you listen to the Ernie Scar interview, it will fill in about 10 to 20 years of information, and clear out the misinformation that was and is still going around about Brocket 99. I know I continually refer back to brocket99.net, but it is is the most comprehensive information all in one place to date:

    http://www.brocket99.net/cdscar.

    I can requote my mini essay I wrote years ago when his album first was released:

    “”Tough Buck From Brocket” or “There and Back Again”

    Reminiscent of J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous novel The Hobbit or otherwise known as There and Back Again, Lenny Red-Nuts sings about his circular journey away from his hometown of Brocket, Alberta, to the big city of Edmonton, his life-journey of experience and learning, and his return to Brocket to be reunited with his true-love Perline Pricklybush. “Tough Buck From Brocket” is the most heart wrenching and the most intellectually stimulating of all of Lenny’s songs featured on his new CD Tough Buck From Brocket.

    The funeral and death of Lenny Red-Nuts’ old friend Clayton Magnet prompts Lenny to go on a journey of self-discovery to learn about himself and learn about the world around him located in Alberta, Canada. Lenny first encounters resistance with his knife fight in the seedy Edmonton bar known as The Cromdale. A man, the cousin of Johnny Gunn, insults Lenny’s true love Perline Pricklybush, so Lenny must defend her honor and his life. The RCMP and the Edmonton City Police are still investigating this knife fight. After the fight, Lenny runs from the police and aside from looking for a place to hide, he looks within himself to reconfirm his identity as a tough buck from Brocket. He also discovers the love that he once had for Perline Pricklybush, who is now married to Johnny Gunn, is still strong within him.

    Lenny goes from The Cromdale Hotel to the neigbourhood of Beverly. There he meets a young Native woman from Saskatewan. Lenny, trying to drown out the pain of love-lost, takes this woman to The Drake Hotel and has paid sex with her for twenty dollars. Lenny confirms his manhood by bedding the young prostitute and keeping her all night with some pot and his container of stinkweed.

    In the morning, Lenny realizes he has learned all he needs to learn from the big city and decides to return to his home in Brocket and be reunited with his true-love Perline Pricklybush. At the conclusion of “Tough Buck From Brocket,” this song leaves the listener understanding Lenny’s predicament and at the same time wondering if Lenny will be successful at regaining the love of Perline Pricklybush.”

    Moderator: *URL snipped*

    I think Lenny Red-Nuts looks at many interesting angles of Brocket 99 and about his own travels in Brocket and elsewhere makes a very entertaining and I suppose informative release.

    I hope this helps.

    Anyung!

  • I am quite surprised as well for all of the activity here.

    No, Brocket 99 was not recorded at the U of L, but it does make a great story. If you listen to the Ernie Scar interview, it will fill in about 10 to 20 years of information, and clear out the misinformation that was and is still going around about Brocket 99. I know I continually refer back to brocket99.net, but it is is the most comprehensive information all in one place to date:

    http://www.brocket99.net/cdscar.

    I can requote my mini essay I wrote years ago when his album first was released:

    “”Tough Buck From Brocket” or “There and Back Again”

    Reminiscent of J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous novel The Hobbit or otherwise known as There and Back Again, Lenny Red-Nuts sings about his circular journey away from his hometown of Brocket, Alberta, to the big city of Edmonton, his life-journey of experience and learning, and his return to Brocket to be reunited with his true-love Perline Pricklybush. “Tough Buck From Brocket” is the most heart wrenching and the most intellectually stimulating of all of Lenny’s songs featured on his new CD Tough Buck From Brocket.

    The funeral and death of Lenny Red-Nuts’ old friend Clayton Magnet prompts Lenny to go on a journey of self-discovery to learn about himself and learn about the world around him located in Alberta, Canada. Lenny first encounters resistance with his knife fight in the seedy Edmonton bar known as The Cromdale. A man, the cousin of Johnny Gunn, insults Lenny’s true love Perline Pricklybush, so Lenny must defend her honor and his life. The RCMP and the Edmonton City Police are still investigating this knife fight. After the fight, Lenny runs from the police and aside from looking for a place to hide, he looks within himself to reconfirm his identity as a tough buck from Brocket. He also discovers the love that he once had for Perline Pricklybush, who is now married to Johnny Gunn, is still strong within him.

    Lenny goes from The Cromdale Hotel to the neigbourhood of Beverly. There he meets a young Native woman from Saskatewan. Lenny, trying to drown out the pain of love-lost, takes this woman to The Drake Hotel and has paid sex with her for twenty dollars. Lenny confirms his manhood by bedding the young prostitute and keeping her all night with some pot and his container of stinkweed.

    In the morning, Lenny realizes he has learned all he needs to learn from the big city and decides to return to his home in Brocket and be reunited with his true-love Perline Pricklybush. At the conclusion of “Tough Buck From Brocket,” this song leaves the listener understanding Lenny’s predicament and at the same time wondering if Lenny will be successful at regaining the love of Perline Pricklybush.”

    Moderator: *URL snipped*

    I think Lenny Red-Nuts looks at many interesting angles of Brocket 99 and about his own travels in Brocket and elsewhere makes a very entertaining and I suppose informative release.

    I hope this helps.

    Anyung!

  • Every day in western Darfur thousands are murdered, raped, starved.and displaced. In Angola dozens step on forgotten land mines daily. Across Africa women are sexually mutilated. In Iran thousands of men and women accused of homosexuality are publicly executed. Where is your outrage? But when a comedian in Canada crosses the invisible line of political correctness and its about you and your little feelings you are outraged. You make me sick with your self centered little bitch fests about who was aggrieved by who said what. How dare any of you even suggest that you have the right to censor Ernie Scar,Lenny Red Nuts or anyone. FREE SPEECH!!! If you dont like it move to North Korea.

  • Every day in western Darfur thousands are murdered, raped, starved.and displaced. In Angola dozens step on forgotten land mines daily. Across Africa women are sexually mutilated. In Iran thousands of men and women accused of homosexuality are publicly executed. Where is your outrage? But when a comedian in Canada crosses the invisible line of political correctness and its about you and your little feelings you are outraged. You make me sick with your self centered little bitch fests about who was aggrieved by who said what. How dare any of you even suggest that you have the right to censor Ernie Scar,Lenny Red Nuts or anyone. FREE SPEECH!!! If you dont like it move to North Korea.

  • Hey Jonathan,

    I thought I’d throw my hat into this discussion. I really believe the issue here is two fold. First and foremost it is about free speech. Does someone have the right to “parody” or stereotype a group of people even when those words are hurtful? The answer simply is yes. But the author must then accept that they will receive the criticism and views of others. Is Brocket 99 offensive to Blackfoot people or Aboriginals in general? Yes, some are hurt and offended by it. Others think it’s a funny piece of material and go their merry way. Amazing! Different schools of thought on the same issue. That my friends is called individuality. And in the end we MUST allow for both.

    Secondly, what do we do about the anguish that may have been inflicted on the folks who were the brunt of the joke? I suggest that a person who really cares about this, find out more concerning the big picture. Anyone who has a brain knows that not all Indians (for that matter, not even the vast majority) are drunkards and bums. So who are these people? How about finding out about them Something simple like where they live and how they speak – http://www.native-languages.org/blackfoot.htm – And then maybe you might like to get to know people in the community on a personal level. I mean it’s not rocket science.

    I think that Brocket 99 is still viable now because it’s still funny. It holds up. It’s ridiculous but it sounds like it could have been a real radio station. It makes people smile. And laugh. And yes, it does this at someone else’s expense. But isn’t that comedy?

    Brocket 99 was made in response to what was seen on the surface. That’s bad news. We all should know that you can’t judge a book by its cover. I know however that this is not always the case. Some of the individuals that write me about Brocket 99 are stuck in that “drunkards and bums” mentality. And a few Natives hate all those f’n whities. We can’t make people see reason here. They have to do that themselves. But at least we can let Brocket 99 make for great conversation and hopefully that will lead to understanding, acceptance and self improvement.

  • Hey Jonathan,

    I thought I’d throw my hat into this discussion. I really believe the issue here is two fold. First and foremost it is about free speech. Does someone have the right to “parody” or stereotype a group of people even when those words are hurtful? The answer simply is yes. But the author must then accept that they will receive the criticism and views of others. Is Brocket 99 offensive to Blackfoot people or Aboriginals in general? Yes, some are hurt and offended by it. Others think it’s a funny piece of material and go their merry way. Amazing! Different schools of thought on the same issue. That my friends is called individuality. And in the end we MUST allow for both.

    Secondly, what do we do about the anguish that may have been inflicted on the folks who were the brunt of the joke? I suggest that a person who really cares about this, find out more concerning the big picture. Anyone who has a brain knows that not all Indians (for that matter, not even the vast majority) are drunkards and bums. So who are these people? How about finding out about them Something simple like where they live and how they speak – http://www.native-languages.org/blackfoot.htm – And then maybe you might like to get to know people in the community on a personal level. I mean it’s not rocket science.

    I think that Brocket 99 is still viable now because it’s still funny. It holds up. It’s ridiculous but it sounds like it could have been a real radio station. It makes people smile. And laugh. And yes, it does this at someone else’s expense. But isn’t that comedy?

    Brocket 99 was made in response to what was seen on the surface. That’s bad news. We all should know that you can’t judge a book by its cover. I know however that this is not always the case. Some of the individuals that write me about Brocket 99 are stuck in that “drunkards and bums” mentality. And a few Natives hate all those f’n whities. We can’t make people see reason here. They have to do that themselves. But at least we can let Brocket 99 make for great conversation and hopefully that will lead to understanding, acceptance and self improvement.

  • Thanks for your insights, everyone. This has become very interesting!

  • Thanks for your insights, everyone. This has become very interesting!

  • Guest

    “There are even two documentaries – one produced in 2007 and the other in-development. The latter features Ernie Scar himself. But unfortunately, I was unable to get a hold of either. My hopes are that they do become publicly available, since there is a lot of insight to be gleaned from the people interviewed”

    You can purchase “Brocket 99-Rockin the Country” from this site apparently
    http://www.filmwest.com/Catalogue/itemdetail/3508/

  • kt

    “There are even two documentaries – one produced in 2007 and the other in-development. The latter features Ernie Scar himself. But unfortunately, I was unable to get a hold of either. My hopes are that they do become publicly available, since there is a lot of insight to be gleaned from the people interviewed”

    You can purchase “Brocket 99-Rockin the Country” from this site apparently
    http://www.filmwest.com/Catalogue/itemdetail/3508/

  • Pingback: The True Brocket 99 Wikipedia Article « Brocket 99 News()

  • I talked to George Gallant recently, and he has indefinitely put his documentary on hiatus.

  • I talked to George Gallant recently, and he has indefinitely put his documentary on hiatus.

  • Wow, Kim Siever posted the stripped down Wikipedia page. If you want the full information then go here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Brock

  • Wow, Kim Siever posted the stripped down Wikipedia page. If you want the full information then go here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Brock

  • Andrew

    I think that tape is shameful.

  • Andrew

    I think that tape is shameful.

  • Howdy
    ,

    great

    day.
    You
    have

    garnered

    a
    brand
    new

    supporter
    .

  • Kelly-Mattea

    My dad is Ernie Scar. I am his youngest of three daughters. Having recently passed away in February 2011, keeping his identity a secret by his request is no longer of importance. I personally dont have an opinion firmly in any manor for my father’s parody work. But I would like to set a few things straight about who he is and how Brocket 99 started.
    He was a white man originally from Calgary, and one of the things he hated the most about Lethbridge was the number of first nations people he saw in the area that seemed to do nothing but waste their lives in the streets. He didnt have any kind of hatred for the people personally, but instead of leaving his thoughts at a simple disliking in his head, after coming across AIDS Radio, he did infact use it as inspiration for Brocket 99. I do not condone the offences that clearly exist in the tapes, but like most information known to the public about Brocket 99, it’s true that it was made just to be a joke between friends.
    They are not basement tapes made by students at the university. My father was a grown man working in a few different radio stations and also as a night club DJ when he and his friends sat down to make Brocket 99.
    The first documentary mentioned above is absolutely in existance, I have a copy. But the second is completely false. My father wanted nothing to do with being recognized for his connection to Brocket 99. That way the “fame” and the hate and everything in between stemming from Brocket 99 did not phase his life style – exactly the way he intended it to be when it started as a spoof between friends.

  • Kang Chul-su

    As Ernie Scar’s indentity has been released as Tim Hitchner, a new wikipedia page has been created:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Hitchner

  • nevermind

    I was given a copy of the cassette tape in 1991. My boyfriend had a friend who worked in Alberta doing sound for a band or two. He was given the tape from the people who actually made it. Since the founder of Brocket seems to want to maintain annonymity, I’m not saying anything about what I know. I’m sick to death of our overly politically correct culture. Noone’s going to tell me what I can and cannot find humourous. I like the original; imo, all the wannabes who tried and failed miserably to duplicate the original, should be shot. “Every Squaw I Screw,” for instance WAS not on the original tape. I’d like to add that in 1995, my boyfriend was 100% pure blooded native canadian. At Thanksgiving, he, myself and his entire family sat around and listened to the tape. For the record, they laughed their asses off. They didn’t take offense, so no white man should be entitled to be offended. I never thought I’d be sitting around listening to Brocket 99 with an entire family of natives, but it was so cool they all had a sense of humour. “Political correctness is the language of cowardice.” ~ Billy Connolly

  • nevermind

    Anguish? Get a grip. Read my comment about spending Thanksgiving with an entire family of native Canadians listening to Brocket. They all loved it. I never imagined I’d be in that situation. They have a sense of humour; looks like you need to find one, too.