40 AT 40: SOOK-YIN LEE HAS FLOWN HER FREAK FLAG FOR DECADES

The former MuchMusic VJ reflects on her whole career through two NOW covers from 1990 and 2006 and talks about her new album, jooj two

Sook-Yin Lee has been a creative presence in Canada for decades. If you’re of a certain generation, she might be your paragon of cool – something that continues to this day with her new album, jooj two, with her late ex-partner Adam Litovitz.

As a MuchMusic VJ in the mid-to-late 90s and the best-known host of the “alternative” music video show The Wedge, she was a champion of music rarely seen on TV. She kept up that spirit even when she moved to the more staid state broadcaster, CBC Radio, to host Definitely Not The Opera.

But when she was on the cover of NOW for the first time, it was six years before she ever became a broadcaster or even moved to Toronto. It wasn’t even her name on the cover, but her band Bob’s Your Uncle – though hers was the only face on the front page.

“Toronto was a real working Hogtown at the time,” says Lee, looking back. “There were bands like Fifth Column that were up to some really great stuff, but by and large, it was a pretty conservative, black leather, hard rock dude scene. And so when we came here [from Vancouver], dressed as martians with eyeballs painted on my head, people were like, ‘Whoa, who is that?’”

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