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Home » Rock n Rolla

On the road again

Submitted by on February 11, 2010 – 9:48 amNo Comment


There’s only one downfall to touring with Ace Frehley: He doesn’t get hammered anymore.

“It was a totally sober tour because Ace has been on the wagon for like 16 months,” says Trews frontman Colin MacDonald. “We couldn’t have any booze backstage or anything so his band would come on our bus if they wanted a drink.”

A few months ago, The Trews travelled the U.S. Midwest with Frehley. In March the boys from Antigonish, Nova Scotia, rocked the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood with KISS’s former shredder. The tour was a short trip south of the border, six weeks away from a place the Maritimers call the homeland.

The Trews have attacked Calgary clubs and Charlottetown pubs nearly every second night for the past five years. MacDonald credits the country, and its musicians, for the success the band has had packing venues.

“Things started to take off in Canada for us. Then the next thing you know every band wanted us to come open for them,” MacDonald reflects over the phone from home in Antigonish. “We started to headline ourselves, and before we knew it we did an insane amount of gigs.”

Between 2003 and 2005 the band played 400 shows. The Trews have been tearing across Canada’s countryside like John Diefenbaker on the campaign trail. They’ve been called the hardest working band in Canada.

The band’s tour schedule reads like a minor hockey team’s tournament itinerary. Last week MacDonald, his brother John-Angus, cousin Sean Dalton and bassist Jack Syperek played shows in Sault Ste. Marie, Brantford, Sudbury, Kingston and Grand Bend, a town of 2,000 on the eastern shores of Lake Huron. MacDonald calls the gig a privilege.

“We’re really fortunate to play a place like Grand Bend and be able to get 1,000 people out,” MacDonald says. “There are a lot of great people in this country and we would play every place in Canada if they brought us in.”

For the boys from Antigonish, playing north of the 49th parallel isn’t just an honour, it’s a safety precaution. After a show in New York on the Frehley tour a guy told MacDonald that he should “leave his politics at home.”

Apparently the guy’s sister wanted to kick MacDonald’s ass for playing Gun Control, a jam off The Trews’ latest record, No Time For later. The song was written in response to the Virginia Tech shootings last year.

“I just thought it was a really weird thing for a guy to say to another guy,” Macdonald jokes. “But you hear everything in this business.”

The business has so far been kind to The Trews. Since first appearing on the scene with their breakthrough record, 2003’s House of Ill Fame, the band has been living the Canadian Dream.

In 2004, Not Ready To Go was the most played track on the country’s rock chart; the band has been nominated, and won, a whack of ECMA’s, Juno’s and MuchMusic Video Awards; the first single off No Time, Hold Me In Your Arms, knocked Britney Spears from the top spot of the MuchMusic Countdown, a fine accomplishment by Canuck retro-rock standards.

MacDonald says that “without video and radio I don’t think we’d be in as good of a position as we are in this country,” but credits the band’s live show for the bulk of their success. “We love playing live and that’s really what we’re best at. Our songs come alive when we’re live.”

Remi L. Roy

 also appeared in XPress-05/22/08

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