New Hamburg’s John ‘Beetle’ Bailey Celebrates Second JUNO Win

The champagne corks were popping on Shade Street on Monday, June 29, when New Hamburg’s John ‘Beetle’ Bailey learned he’d won his second JUNO trophy.

In a virtual award ceremony that was streamed online, the local recording engineer and producer was stunned when his name was read out. The Recording Engineer of the Year award is for his work with Toronto band Monkey House and singer-songwriter Alex Cuba.

“I was very surprised. I’m obviously super proud of the other guys who were nominated. I just fully expected that one of those guys would win,” admitted Bailey.

He’s not letting this success go to his head. “The whole thing about award shows in general, you do have to be very careful. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you’re never as good as they say you are, and you’re never as bad as they say you are.”

“I’m very comfortable being a behind-the-scenes person. I’ve never felt comfortable performing live – still don’t. I’m very happy to be facilitating behind the glass. That, for me, is a very great place to be.”

This is the second JUNO for Bailey, following his 2007 trophy.

The music industry may be facing tough times locally and nationwide, but the JUNO awards are still a time for celebrating Canadian creativity.

Bailey said, “Canada is such a great place for the arts, and we really do punch way above our weight internationally. You look at the Billboard chart in any given week, and there’s The Weeknd, and Justin Bieber, and Shawn Mendes. Sometimes the first four or five cuts are all Canadian artists.”

Bailey should have been celebrating the win in Saskatoon with his peers more than three months ago. In mid-March, he and his wife Heidi were in the air on their way to the planned live ceremony, but by the time they landed, the organizers had decided to cancel as a precaution due to COVID-19.

“Just when we got into our seats and I buckled in, I saw that one of the entertainment reporters I know made a Facebook post that there was an announcement coming. I put my phone into airplane mode and breathed calmly for the next few hours.”

After landing, Bailey said he turned on his phone again, and it “blew up” with messages.

“We were in Saskatoon for 40 minutes. We literally got off the plane, went straight up the ramp, got our boarding passes changed, and got right back on the plane again.”

The champagne will be flowing again when Bailey finally gets his hands on the long-awaited trophy.