Like the slick-talking block of smarm he played while pushing the Super Bass-O-Matic '76 to first-generation viewers of "Saturday Night Live," Dan Aykroyd is all shtick, a fusillade of facts about the product delivered in a nasally, rapid-fire staccato.
"I am purveying to the people — those who can afford it, because it is a premium beverage — the world's cleanest vodka. We run completely flat on the gas chromatograph. We are completely free of additives. ... There's no glycerides, any kind of citrus oil, or any kind of lemonine at all, no sugar. ... Our tasting notes are just what a vodka maker would dream of: sweet vanilla, dry, crisp, with a kick of heat off the finish."
And that is just the beginning of his soliloquy. The effect is at once frustrating, entertaining and disarming: A guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do to move product. But at least we can have fun with it.
Perhaps adding to Aykroyd's hyper delivery is the fact that he's speaking from the ice-encrusted family farm, a "frozen glacial pool" in the Thousand Islands area of Ontario, where he is bunkered while being a good son to his parents, both older than 90. And the Super Bass-O-Matic character is handy, thanks to his reprise of the bass-in-a-blender routine on the recent "Saturday Night Live" 40th anniversary special.
Aykroyd is on his way to South Florida for appearances on Friday, March 20, to promote his top-shelf Crystal Head Vodka (every skull-shaped bottle costs $40 to $50) with meet and greets at ABC Wine and Spirits in Sunrise and later at Stache in downtown Fort Lauderdale, an evening that will include a performance by the South Florida-based Blues Brothers Soul Band.
He is not ruling out an impromptu performance.
"Anytime there's a great band and I can hop up and sing a couple of songs, I still get the joy of playing fun music," the 62-year-old actor says. "I haven't formally been invited. I don't think there's any official commitment, but if there's a nice band in the room, I may be persuaded to break one or two [songs] out."
Another product Aykroyd is enthusiastic about is Blues Brothers Records, launched this week with Judy Belushi, widow of Blues Brothers partner John. The goal of the label is to nurture new artists.
Aykroyd the salesman goes off for several minutes, seemingly without a breath.
"This is exciting. We're able to service the new artists, you know, like Homemade Jamz and 24th Street Wailers and Carolina Chocolate Drops, the Shuffle Demons, Ana Popovic. And I think we can help the veterans, too," he says. "That's what we've been doing [on his radio show] 'BluesMobile' for almost 25 years. Many artists have credited us with keeping their careers alive. If there's a 'mission from God,' it's that."
Dan Aykroyd will do two meet and greets on Friday, March 20: 2-4 p.m., at ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, 2611 NW 124th Ave, in Sunrise, 954-846-2414; and 9:30 p.m. at Stache, 109 SW Second Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. The appearance coincides with a performance by the South Florida-based Blues Brothers Soul Band. Doors will open at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $9 via Ticketmaster. Call 954-449-1044 or go to StacheFTL.com.