Guitarist John–Angus MacDonald, and bassist Jack Syperek both official Hamiltonians for the last five years, with vocalist Colin MacDonald and drummer Chris Gormley, have made a few connections in Hamilton over the years but seem to be officially based out of Hamilton according to their Wikipedia page. Armed with jock jam staples like “Not Ready to Go” and more, it makes sense the Trews have been tapped to play the Hamilton Ti–Cats home opener this week.
“We left Nova Scotia in 2001, I was freshly out of high school, and we decided we were going to see Canada,” says MacDonald. “We had a couple of iconic shows at places like Toronto’s the Horseshoe and we were meeting with all of these managers, labels and more so decided that we were going to have to relocate to Ontario. We were able to find a four bedroom house for $700 a month in Niagara Falls so we lived together and just made music all the time. We paid the bills by doing residencies and one of those was at Mermaid’s Lounge in Hess Village. We did a weekly thing for like six months and those are really fond memories. I remember thinking back then that Hamilton had a lot going on when it came to the music community. There were all of these people that came out to see the show and everyone of them was a player. People like Brian Griffith, Frankie Venom, Dave Rave all of these other cool musicians and it seemed like a really warm and welcoming music community.”
With two indie EPs under their belt, the Trews entered CHTZ FM’s Rocksearch in 2002 winning and breaking through the din to establish themselves in the rock world and become a radio and festival staple for the next two decades. But things changed for the Trews recently.
“When we were exploring other options, I moved to Hamilton about five years ago and since that time we’ve moved our operations here,” says MacDonald. “We’ve got a rehearsal storage space in Hamilton and I do a lot more business from here now — I do a lot more work with recording studios locally so a majority of what we do is in the Hammer. Visting regularly is a lot different from living here and after five years, I’m definitely feeling local.”
MacDonald would record the Glorious Sons debut recording at Catherine North in Hamilton and has since developed relationships with many other notables. For their recent Civillionaires disc, the official music video for “Time’s Speeding Up,” was shot live at the Mule Spinner — directed by Bob Lanois, audio mixed by Glen Marshall. The band also worked alongside Max Kerman from Arkells, who co–wrote and co–produced the Trews’ Civillionaires second single, “Vintage Love”. The Trews garnered another Juno Award nomination for Rock Album of the Year for Civillionaires but the band remains an in demand attraction on the summer festival circuit. With a busy summer ahead including appearances at the Ottawa Bluesfest, Calgary Stampede and even a sold out show at the Kingston Penitentiary — this weekend, Hamilton gets a summer concert with a tease on new music and a potential return to Hamilton to perform before the summer is up.
Sports fans who plan to attend the Tiger–Cats home opener Thursday won’t have to worry about missing Game 6 of the NBA Finals. In celebration of the way Canada en masse is rallying for Toronto, the CFL has decided to move up the kickoff time from 7:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Following the football game, the gates to Tim Horton’s Field will be opened to the public so fans and community members can catch the rest of the NBA game on the team’s 3,400 square foot video board, for free.
“We probably have another record in the chamber, we’re just trying to figure out what to do with it,” says MacDonald. “I don’t know if it’s going to be the beginnings of a new album or just a couple of songs but we have some music finished that we want people to hear. You never know what we will play in our set list for the Ti–Cats and we don’t get a full show but we just want to carry on the excitement of the game. We’ve done the anthem at the Grey Cup before and other events — we want to keep the energy of the venue going and pump up the fans more. It’ll be a mix of new and old and that’s all I’ll say about our songs..
“I’m excited to hear that they’re going to broadcast the basketball game at the stadium as well because I’d love to stay and watch — there’s no place I’d rather be then there watching the Raptors win — and they will,” laughs MacDonald. “And stay tuned as there might be a fun show for the Trews happening in August but you didn’t hear it from me.”
The Trews are playing The Hamilton Tiger–Cats Home Opener against the Saskatchewan Roughriders Halftime Show on June 13.
Click on thetrewsmusic.com