Try, try and try a few hundred times more. Call it a Trew-ism — or a bad pun. Either way, The Trews’ John Angus MacDonald says he and his band mates have taken that message to heart, “Persistence is as important as talent,” says the laid-back, scruffy guitarist. “You work hard enough at anything and it’ll come. If I didn’t believe that, I’d have stopped long ago.”
It was almost three years ago when the Nova Scotia residents packed up and left home. “We wanted to get out of our own backyard,” explains John Angus. The band, whose members include Colin MacDonald, Jack Syperek and Sean Dalton, now resides in St. Catharines, Ontario, attracted by the cheap rents of the Niagara area and its proximity to Toronto’s many music venues.
In 2003 The Trews played a staggering 250-plus shows and surpassed that tally in 2004. In fact, they spent so much time on the road that John Angus says the band’s St. Catharines residence has become a mere “postal address.” Much of that time has been spent touring with Sam Roberts, Big Sugar, and Nickelback among others.
John Angus speaks casually about The Trews’ success but it’s been a gutsy ride for the band whose mildly blue lyrics are whisked along by a high-energy styled rock. In addition to picking up and shifting westward, The Trews decided they wouldn’t take part-time jobs while pursuing their artistic dreams, relying on gigs to pay their way. “If you have to have a part-time day job, you can’t be a full-time musician,” says John Angus.
The gamble appears to be paying off. Their second single from House of Ill Fame hit number one on radio charts. The disc also earned a 2004 Juno nomination nod. John Angus says “the band now wants to concentrate on producing a ‘quality’ follow-up album.”
Interview/article by Stefan Norman
Photo courtesy of Sony Music Canada