Nova Scotia rock band the Trews are one of Canada’s hardest working bands.
Since their 2003 debut album, House of Ill Fame, the group has played more than 1,000 shows, headlining their own tours of Canada and the United States while also supporting the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones.
To date, the group has racked up a pair of gold records here at home, as well as an impressive 15 Top-10 radio hits, including “Not Ready To Go,” “Tired of Waiting” and “What’s Fair Is Fair.”
Following an extensive fall tour that took them across Canada, the band decided a short break was in order. Their show at Casino New Brunswick this Saturday night is one of only three performances currently on their schedule through August of this year. Trews guitarist John-Angus Macdonald is quick to note that is completely by design.
“We spent the latter part of last year touring across Canada, the United States and even made it over to the United Kingdom for a run of shows. Things are pretty low-key for us at the moment, but it was something that we had actually planned out,” he said.
The group has been busy promoting their latest studio record, a self-titled effort released independently last April. With it, the Trews decided to venture into new territory – undertaking a crowd-sourced Pledge Music campaign, and offering their fans a chance to get involved in the making of the album in the process.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of crowd-sourcing campaigns, bands or artists provide rewards in return for their fans pledging money to support the group. While the rewards vary from band to band, the rewards offered by the Trews were impressive. They ranged from a copy of their new record through exclusive soundcheck parties, an acoustic house concert and more.
Given the proliferation of crowd-funding campaigns, however, the decision to wade into these waters wasn’t something they took lightly.
“Going the crowd-funding route was something that was suggested by one of the people that works with our social media team,” Macdonald recalls. “We ended up meeting with Benji Rogers, the founder of Pledge Music, who helped us see that, rather than a campaign like this being a matter of asking your fans for a handout, it served as the ultimate fan club experience.
“I know that if these types of campaigns existed when I was growing up, I would have jumped at the chance to jump on board to support my favourite groups.
“It’s a win-win for all involved but especially for the band. We are now a decade into our recording career, so it was particularly exciting to do something special for our latest album.”
Despite the musical trends that have come and gone over the last decade, the Trews have remained comfortably ensconced in rock ‘n’ roll. While there have been occasional detours into acoustic territory, as heard on 2009’s Acoustic: Friends & Total Strangers, the band has otherwise been faithful to delivering what their fans have come to expect.
Macdonald attributes their longevity to the fact that they have insisted on working with a dynamic list of producers, including Gavin Brown (Metric, Billy Talent) and Jack Douglas (John Lennon, Aerosmith).
“While we would never be in a position to be able to take 10 years between studio albums, I like to think that we shake things up via those we choose to work with in the studio. We have been the same core members since the outset of the band but have never worked with the same producer for two consecutive records,” Macdonald says.
“We have never really lost our enthusiasm for the creative process. It really is what drives us to move forward. Seeing a song grow from the first time a guitar riff is thrown out to the final product is an awesome journey. ”
Over the past decade, Macdonald has also become comfortable donning the producer’s hat. In addition to serving as a co-producer on many of the Trews’ albums, he has also branched out to working with other bands, including The Glorious Sons, Molly Thomason and Autumn’s Cannon.
“I have always wanted a career in music but realized that music is a multi-faceted business. Branching out to learn different trades or aspects as to what encompasses the business is pretty much a must for everybody these days.”
What: The Trews
When: Friday Jan. 30, 8:00 p.m.
Where: Casino New Brunswick, 21 Casino Dr., Moncton