After more than 20 years apart, Canadian hard-rock trio Triumph reunited in 2009 for a, well, triumphant pair of shows: One in Sweden, the other at the popular Rocklahoma Festival in Oklahoma.
The shows were a victory of sorts as the trio had parted on less than amicable terms when guitarist Rik Emmett left the band in the late 80’s. Emmett remained estranged from his band mates until approximately 2007 when the group was inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame. By the time the trio was welcomed into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame a year later, bridges were mended and plans were being made for the group to perform once again.
On the heels of their 2010 hits retrospective, Triumph have released a CD/DVD set of their June 2008 performance in Sweden. Live At Sweden Rock Festival was released this past August and is sure to be a sought-after item for fans of the band while also exposing them to a new generation of listeners.
Triumph’s Mike Levine recently chatted with The MusicNerd Chronicles with respect to Triumph’s past, present and their future.
Was it hard to get back in the swing of things, playing together for the first time in more than 20 years?
Levine: To an extent, I think each of us had a learning curve in re-learning these songs collectively and individually. It is probably safe to say that we worked as hard as we had ever worked to get these songs ready for performance. It was probably toughest for Gil; it is a very physical thing to play the drums and sing. Gil is going on 60 years old and hadn’t played at all after Triumph dissolved. For me, I spent a good hour a day rehearsing on my own once we made the decision to do the shows. I really had to hone my chops again. Of the three of us though, I think Rik probably had it the easiest because he had been playing some of these songs on his own.
Why the three-year lapse between the concert and the release of the DVD?
Levine: Because we’re slow and nothing is important to us [laughs]. There was an edit of the concert done when we got back and frankly, it was terrible. We knew that we could get a better edit so we tucked it away in the vault. Nobody really wanted to attack it. Gil and I got together last December, hired an editor and got the project done.
Seeing how the shows in Sweden and Rocklahoma were so well received, why hasn’t the band mounted a full-fledged tour?
Levine: We did have a tour booked for 2009 but early that year, the economy kind of fell apart in the United States. It was going to be too cost prohibitive to mount the production necessary for the tour, never mind playing it. The promoters got really nervous and rather than play to houses that were 60% full, we figured we would wait it out. Frankly, we’re still waiting it out.