Kevin Shea:

The Cat was a metal head

As told to: Dave Bidini

I was working at Attic Records, a large independent record company based in Toronto. We distributed Roadrunner and MetalBlade, two metal labels. I had been introduced to Felix Potvin through an acquaintance and learned that he loved punk and metal. Bad Religion was his favourite band and he and the vocalist were pals. Whenever I’d go to a Leafs practice in the fall of 1993, I’d bring a collection of harder rock and punk CDs for Felix, and he was always most appreciative.

One day, he asked if there was any way I could get him a guitar. I had no leads that way, but thought that if I contacted Roadrunner they might be able to help. I asked my pal Scott, who was a manager at the label based in New York, if he could assist. He thought for a second and said, “I’ll get back to you.”

As promised, he called me back with good news. Max Cavalera of Sepultura had a guitar deal, and as it turned out, he was willing to get a guitar for Felix. Max was also a hockey fan. Who knew? I had no idea that Brazil was a hockey hotbed.

With Scott serving as the intermediary for Max, and me serving as the intermediary for Felix, we struck a deal. Max would get Felix an electric guitar, and in return, Felix would provide a signed Maple Leafs sweater and good tickets for an upcoming Leafs game against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, as well as a meet and greet after the game.

The guitar took quite a while to arrive, and Felix was impatient. Each time I saw him, there was the inevitable question: “Any news on the guitar?” I’d ask Scott who simply told me that it was on its way. Weeks and weeks and weeks passed. Candidly, it was getting uncomfortable to see Felix, as I had made a commitment to him but was unable to deliver on my promise.

Finally, Scott called me and told me that the guitar and case were on their way to Toronto, and I was to pick up the guitar at the airport. I did, and of course, had to peek into the case. It was gorgeous. Beautiful black lacquered guitar. Then it dawned on me why the guitar had taken so long to get to me. It was autographed by everybody in the metal and punk worlds. I mean everybody. Signatures in Sharpie all over the body and neck of the guitar.

I called Scott, and he simply chuckled. “Yep, Max couriered the guitar all over North America at his expense to get autographs from guitarists Felix would know and love!”

It must have cost Max a small fortune.

I met Felix at practice the next Saturday. “Do you have the guitar?” Finally, I could say, “Yes.”

He opened the case and it was like Christmas morning. Felix’s eyes just about popped out of his head.

I saw Felix about a month later. With a huge grin, I asked how he was loving the guitar. But I never expected the response I got:

“It’s amazing, but it took me so long to sand all those autographs off the damned thing!”



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