Going off the cuff with the Dukes of Oshawa

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Barry Hertz
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Cuff the Duke’s Wayne Petti never went to university, but if he had, he probably would have gone to Ryerson.

“I was too smart to go, but I’d love to attend one day and take something like photography or film,” says the lead singer and guitarist for the Oshawa-bred country group. “If I could give any advice for students, it would be just learn how to party.”

Petti hopes incoming first-year students will be quick studies this year as Cuff the Duke, who are rapidly gaining popularity for their brand of alternative-tinged country, play a set at the campus pub, the Ram in the Rye, Sept. 7. The show is part of RSU’s Week of Welcome.

“We’ve never played Ryerson before, but we’re planning something really special,” says Petti, taking a break from promoting the band’s new sophomore, self-titled album. “Toronto is a great city with amazing musicians who are always willing to help out. There may be some special guests coming with us too.”

The band’s stop at Ryerson is just one of the many shows Cuff the Duke have lined up over the year as part of their bid for Canadian cult status. After releasing their critically acclaimed debut Life Stories for Minimum Wage two years ago, the quartet have toured with Hayden, the Sadies and Sloan.

“We’re trying to get that cultish following, and playing to university students is always a great way to get that going. Everyone wants to be the one who discovered a band in university, then introduces it to all of their friends,” says Petti, who has also opened for Gord Downey.

RSU hopes the concert, to be held on the Ram in the Rye’s new patio, will draw shy first-year students.

“We’ll have the wristband policy, so students who can’t drink can come and listen,” says Alam Ashraful, vice president student life and events.

Petti doesn’t care whether students are drunk or not, but hopes they just enjoy the show.

“Playing for students is always a guaranteed good atmosphere. They really feed into the music onstage and, well, are just ready for a good time, anytime,” says Petti.

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