Volume 95, Issue 86

Friday, March 15, 2002
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Lowest of the Low begins rise back to the top

Thrilling Digressions

J. Dee's a fantastic burger voyage

Sector Seven quarantine London

Hot Water heats it up onstage

Shits and Giggles

Lowest of the Low begins rise back to the top

By Aaron St. John
Gazette Staff

Ron Hawkins – lead singer, guitarist and principal songwriter for the once more reunited Lowest Of The Low – has an unsettling memory of London.

"London was the first of the last three shows when we knew we were done," he explains, referring to the band's tumultuous times in 1994. "It was the show where we were the angriest and the most sad."

Soon after, the band split up, citing a number of reasons, including infighting.

Eight years later, Lowest Of The Low is back, touring in support of their new live album Nothing Short Of A Bullet, recorded during a short reunion tour in 2000.

It's a great record, one that aptly captures the spirit of the band's work and serves as kind of a "best of" package, showcasing some of the band's classic material.

"We think the live record vindicates a lot of those songs," Hawkins says. "We have problems with how both of our albums [1991's Shakespeare My Butt and 1993's Hallucigenia] were produced and we think this captures what the songs should sound like."

Gazette File Photo

Hawkins says this current round of touring has been a wonderful reminder of his love for Lowest Of The Low. "It's been awesome," he enthuses. "The original reunion shows were a bit too much of a religious experience for me. It was pretty overpowering because it was a matter of not only revisiting an artistic place, but also burying the hatchet. This time around it's been more about remembering why I used to like this and not why I started hating it."

As much as Hawkins and his bandmates (drummer David Alexander, bassist John Arnott and guitarist Stephen Stanley) have been enjoying themselves on the road, it is not clear if they will continue after this tour is completed.

"That's the big $50 million question right now," he concedes. "What's going to happen from here? We're committed to getting this record out there the best we can, but it's a big step to go 'OK, this was fun, let's see where it goes.'"

Hawkins adds, "where the Low is right now is an unusual place, one that I don't think a lot of bands get to. We call our own shots and do as little or as much as we want. We're taking it in three-month blocks. Right now it's about supporting the live record."

And support it they have – playing a series of shows over the past few months that have received copious amounts of praise. But Hawkins says these recent shows serve a dual purpose: promoting the new record and thanking fans for years of support.

"Over Christmas, we did a Toronto club crawl. We played smaller clubs that we used to do back in the day. It was fun for us and it was kind of a present to the people who have been supporting us for so long, cause a lot of them like smaller venues. It was a nice chaser to the Molson Amphitheatre show last summer, which was a huge ego stroke and a total love-in. But I think we all know down deep that we're a club band."

Whether Lowest Of The Low ever releases a new studio album or not, it seems their music will endure. "We've been really surprised by just how many younger fans there have been," Hawkins says, bemusedly.

"I really expected everyone in the audience to be in their early 30s. It's nice to know that somebody is passing on the music to the younger generation."

Lowest Of The Low invade Call the Office tomorrow night with Alun Piggins and the Quitters. Tickets are $13 and doors open at 9 p.m..

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Copyright The Gazette 2002