Volume 92, Issue 95
Friday, March 26, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Hermits thrush themselves into spotlight
Photo by Ingram Barss
By Shawn Despres
The story is a common one.
A critically acclaimed indie band signs a major label deal, the major label does little to promote the band and, usually sooner than later, the band finds itself as an independent artist again. As a result of these events, 1999 brings forth a more developed Thrush Hermit.
The Halifax quartet released a slew of 7"s and two indie albums before being wined and dined by the majors. In 1996 they signed with Elektra/Warner and released Sweet Homewrecker. Although the album received much critical praise, the band grew frustrated with the support from the label and after some time, the frustrated lads and Elektra/Warner decided to go their separate ways.
Instead of sitting around and thinking about what to do next, Thrush Hermit decided to act and headed back to the studio to make another record. Without a label and financing the project with their own money, the band decided to make an album for themselves.
"When we signed to Elektra, we were too concerned with being a pop band. We got stuck in the mind frame of just creating all of these three minute pop songs," relates guitarist Rob Benvie. "After things fell through, we decided to use our new found freedom to make the rock record that we had always wanted to."
As a result of the events which had transpired, the band found themselves more mature and focused as they entered the studio. "We decided that we didn't want to be huge rock stars anymore. This allowed us to try out new things.
"When we were younger, we had dreams of being the biggest band in the world. As we've grown older we've come to realize that there are more important things in life than that, like having a life for instance," Benvie says. "We still love making music, but it can't be the only thing you live for."
Their new album Clayton Park was released in February by Sonic Unyon. It's filled with big '70s guitar riffs and hardcore rock anthems. The record was added to commercial radio play lists and its first single "From the Back of the Film" is presently in regular rotation on MuchMusic.
Thrush Hermit is currently in the midst of a five-week tour, spending four weeks in Canada and one week in the United States with a full U.S. tour later in the spring. Included in its Canadian dates is a show this Monday at Call the Office. Despite their newfound maturity, Benvie is quick to add Thrush Hermit is still young enough to rock out on stage.
Adding fresh life to this tour is new drummer Benn Ross. After the band finished recording Clayton Park, drummer Cliff Gibb decided he no longer wished to live the hectic rock 'n' roll lifestyle.
"Cliff decided that he didn't want to tour anymore. So after him, Benn was our first choice. He is used to playing softer stuff, so we've been teaching him how to hit the drums hard," Benvie says laughingly.
As for the time being, the band's only concern lies in Clayton Park. "Right now we just want to focus on the new album. We want to use it to help make our presence more known in Canada. In the past we started to focus on making a new album as soon as we released an album."
Rack this one up to experience. Thrush Hermit is older, wiser and ready to rock.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999