The Trews Biography
Colin MacDonald - vocals, guitar
John-Angus MacDonald - guitar, vocals
Jack Syperek - bass, vocals
Sean Dalton - drums, vocals
In keeping with tradition, we now present the second in a series of bon mots from our official biographer, professional Elvis impersonator & lover of animals large and small, Mr. Adrian Mack:
The last time we spoke, I believe I predicted two things: success for the Trews and my own miserable death. Regrettably, I was only half right, and here I am proselytizing for these eastern bozos again. Just to recap: House of Ill Fame was a surprise success that sold a mere ten billion copies one night when nobody was looking. The first single from that album, “Not Ready to Go”, ended up becoming the #1 most played track on Canadian rock radio in 2004 – in spite of a video that made children weep with terror.
This was followed up by a string of hit singles, more baffling videos, Juno and MuchMusic Video Award nominations, a Casby here, an East Coast Music Award there, some 400 shows in two years and the usual slots for bands you’ve never heard of like Big Sugar, Evanescence, Finger Eleven, Nickleback, Sam Roberts, The Offspring, Three Days Grace and The Rolling Stones.
Yeah, I know… who?
In spite of this inhumane schedule, the Trews managed to find enough spare time both to record the sophomore Den of Thieves album, and grow some kickass beards. What’s most surprising about all this is that singer Colin MacDonald can grow a beard at all, and much of the current industry “buzz” is focused on the rumour that it’s glued on. This simply isn’t true. I’ve seen Colin’s beard, I’ve pulled it, I’ve observed the beard in a wind tunnel, and under ultra violet light. I even set fire to it once. Colin – and I’ll never forget this – just stood there until the whole thing burned right off. The stink was unbelievable. Then he just shook his head and asked, “Happy now?” Boy, I felt like a real ass when I did that.
The album release was postponed until Colin could grow it back again, but it was a minor setback compared to the ongoing problems we have with drummer Sean Dalton. As you may or may not know, Sean wasn’t particularly well socialized by his parents, both of whom are bare-knuckle fighting champions in their respective age groups. Tooled at an early age to brawl, bite, pull, twist and half nelson, any talent Sean exhibits on the drums is powered by the anguish he feels whenever he’s required to hit something that doesn’t scream (such as Colin). To his credit, he’s looked into Scientology and other credible forms of self-improvement, and lately he’s taken to shopping for little man-shaped roots of fresh ginger, which he animates with cartoon voices before snapping them in half with a blood-curdling wail - to the delight of us all.
One of the great surprises of Den of Thieves is the work of guitarist John-Angus. His crackerjack ability to rip off Jimmy Page and Angus Young was already proven. Now he’s stealing from George Harrison and Jeff Beck, too! Indeed, the Trews as a whole have obviously taken my advice and expanded their musical palette in all directions, coughing up a much more baroque record than the first. Critics will have to work a little harder at conjuring humbuggery over Den of Thieves – the rest of us will take heart at the band’s musical growth spurt. It makes it so much easier to accept their complete lack of progress as human beings.
And speaking of spurts: Jack Syperek. The freaky man-child who gives a whole new meaning to the term “Jack Syperek” apparently doesn’t have a belly button. Make of that what you will. I’d just like to know how he got so funky, because I’ve looked into it, and there was a long time between James Jamerson’s death and Jack Syperek’s “birth”. So what gives? If bass players weren’t so terminally under appreciated, I’d say Den of Thieves is Jack’s album. Except that he’s the bass player, so that’s ludicrous. When asked to comment on Syperek, Den of Thieves producer Jack Douglas fell silent for a good hour or two before declaring, “He’s one of the most original characters I’ve ever worked with. One of the hardest to read and one of the most talented.” Douglas is right to keep his real opinions to himself. The up-and-coming producer has previously worked with Aerosmith, the Who, Jimi Hendrix, Cheap Trick, John Lennon – but nobody of any real note. Now that Den of Thieves puts him in the big leagues, Douglas will have to accept that circumspection is the only way forward. Let’s hope he’s grateful to the Trews for this incredible opportunity.
The rest of us, of course, are grateful for Den of Thieves. In my darker moments, I’ve hoped that the Trews would screw everything up, my violent envy would recede and I could finally come off the meds. I guess that’s not to be: even if the rest of it was crap – and it isn’t, goddam them – the hard truth is that “Poor Ol’ Broken Hearted Me” will shortly become a song that is played on the radio hour after hour until we all expire. It’s one of those songs: a mind-worm, viral, a new standard. It’s their “Honky Tonk Women.” Bastards. I can actually hear my doctor rubbing his hands together.
- Adrian Mack, August 2005.
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