With four albums in seven years, two of them gold; 10 Top-10 singles, two of them No.1; five Juno nominations; multiple awards, for best single, video and live group; and close to 800 live shows under its belt, including support slots for the Rolling Stones, Robert Plant, Guns N’ Roses, Nickelback and KISS, the Trews seem the Canadian rock band that never rests.
The band is comprised of lead vocalist Colin MacDonald, guitarist John-Angus MacDonald, drummer Sean Dalton and bassist Jack Syperek.
Their strong musicianship has been built over years of working together with the original lineup.
They formed as One I’d Trouser in 1997 in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, when the four were still in high school, and released a self-titled EP. Eventually truncating the band name to Trouser, in 2002 they signed with Bumstead Records and were about to release a second EP, when they received a cease and desist over the name. Thus came their final moniker change to The Trews.
In 2003, they released their debut full-length, House of Ill Fame, which yielded multiple hit singles. Moving next to Toronto, which is now their home base, the follow-up album, 2005’s Den of Thieves, was produced by Jack Douglas (Lennon/Yoko, Aerosmith), and again spawned several singles.
The Trews keep pushing themselves in the studio and onstage, always ready to give an intuitive and intense rock ‘n’ roll show of songs that have killer hooks, such as Hold Me In Your Arms from the album No Time For Later. The song, whose video rose to No.1 on national television station MuchMusic, achieved gold status for sales of 20,000-plus digital downloads. The U.S. Indie Music Awards declared it 2009’s Best Hard Rock Song.
“If you want to keep making records that are at all interesting or fun to listen to, you gotta go places,” says John-Angus MacDonald of how the band steadily increases its fan base year to year, album to album.
And go places they have. Following No Time For Later, The Trews decided to do something totally different — an acoustic CD/DVD. Released in 2009, Friends and Total Strangers reinvented their classic hits and interspersed previously unreleased songs. The DVD was nominated for a JUNO Award and the song Sing Your Heart Out was nominated for Best AAA/Alternative Song at the 2010 U.S. International Acoustic Music Awards.
Perennially recognized for their prodigious creative output but facing utter burn out, the band slowed its pace in 2010, thanks to an invitation from Gord Sinclair. The Tragically Hip bassist offered the Trews a little shelter at the Hip’s fabled Bathouse Recording Studio.
He said they could cool their jets, make some demos – “and I’ll hang out for a couple days, drink some beer, and listen to what you guys have got going on,” he suggested.
It sounded like a holiday to John-Angus.
“We were just looking to run away a little,” the guitarist admits. “And we wanted to do something fun, organic, be a band again, all that stuff.”
It worked. A couple months later the Trews had a new album – Hope & Ruin. If the Trews were tired when they walked into the Bathouse, they were rejuvenated by the time they walked out, having found ‘hope in ruin.’
This is the record where the Trews sound like they’re having a flat-out gas.
“It was like our first record again,” he adds, “When you make your first record, you don’t know who the songwriter is. Those roles aren’t established yet. The band is just trying to be the best band they can be. And we were back there.”
Reinvigorated, the Trews released the compilation in 2011 and are currently on an incredibly successful North American headlining tour for the Hope & Ruin album.