A Trew-ly worthy cause

Colin and Jack of The Trews show the stage who’s boss.
Colin and Jack of The Trews show the stage who’s boss.
Photo: 
Colin makes sweet love to the mic.
Colin makes sweet love to the mic.
Photo: 

East Coast rockers The Trews are among the acts slated for the Across the Causeway benefit on Sept. 12. Originally hailing from Nova Scotia but now based out of Niagara Falls, The Trews have been enjoying increasing popularity over the past year, thanks to singles like “Not Ready to Go,” videos like “Tired of Waiting,” and rave reviews of their live performances. Guitarist John-Angus MacDonald took a moment with the
Journal to chat about the upcoming charity benefit.

JOURNAL: Are you looking forward to the Across the Causeway gig?

JOHN-ANGUS MacDONALD: I can’t wait, it’s going to be great.

What prompted you to sign on to perform?

What prompted us to sign on was a personal invitation from the band ... they contacted us, and we actually had another show booked that day, but it was a great cause and we are huge Tragically Hip fans, so we couldn’t pass it up. We can’t wait!

Have you ever played with the Hip before?

No, we’ve never had the opportunity to play a show with them. It’ll be our first time.

The three charities that are benefiting from the concert are The Community Foundation of Greater Kingston, the Joe Chithalen Musical Instrument Lending Library, and Camp Trillium. Do you have a personal connection with any of these charities?

I think that pretty much everybody in this day and age has had someone in their lives that has been affected by cancer ... it’s one of those diseases that a lot of good can be done [for] if the money for the research is there for it. That’s how I’m connected to the cause ... it’s something that affects everybody, and we’re happy to contribute some money to the cause.

The other acts on the bill, besides The Hip, include The Sadies, Matthew Good, the Hugh Dillon Redemption Choir, James McKenty and the Spades, and Chris Koster. Have you played with any of these artists in the past?

We know Hugh Dillon from when he was with the Headstones—we did some shows with them. I’ve seen The Sadies and The Hip, but we haven’t played with anyone else.

What do you think about Dan Aykroyd hosting the benefit?

I was at SARS Stock last summer, and he has good concert hosting chops. He’s certainly done it before. I think it’ll be cool. I grew up in the ’80s watching SNL and I just watched the thing he was doing for the Democratic presidential candidate, talking about all of the sexual affairs that’ll happen ... he’s pretty funny. Yeah, he’s great.

The last time I saw you perform, I was in a venue so small that I nearly went deaf. With crowd estimates around 30,000, have you ever performed for this large of a crowd before?

We’ve done some big outdoor shows this summer, and we’ve also opened for the likes of Nickelback, but I’m not sure if those shows were ever this big. But it’s The Hip in Kingston, you can’t really get much bigger in Canada than that.

You’re frequently referred to as “those East Coast rockers.” How does it feel sharing a bill dominated by Kingstonians, like The Hip, Hugh Dillon, Chris Koster, and Aykroyd?

We’ve got some Kingston ties—we’ve played A.J.’s a lot, we’ve played the Elixir, the Scherzo ... and our soundmen and monitor guys are [affiliated with] Kingston. But like any event, it’s good to have some representation from all over the country.

Your video for “Tired of Waiting” has been all over Much Music this summer. Do you find yourselves on the crest of a wave of popularity at the moment?

I can’t say for sure ... We’ve certainly had a lot of success this year, with “Not Ready to Go” being the number one tune, so we’re sort of just riding this out. It’s exciting to go from empty bars to some radio play and a lot of people at shows.

I think this is a good time to mention that you’re gaining quite a following here at Queen’s. I’m sure many readers would like to know when and how often you intend to play Kingston in the future.

We have a show coming up in September, right on the heels of this show, at Stages. But I hope to have greater attendance at the benefit, because it’s for such a good cause. But don’t worry, we love Kingston, we’ll be back. [Laughs.]

Let’s close by returning to the main topic. What do you hope to gain from Across the Causeway?

I’d like to see a good show, and I know I will. I haven’t seen The Hip in a couple of years, so I’m looking forward to checking that out. And I’m sure the fans won’t go away disappointed. It’ll be a good show with everyone enjoying themselves and having a good time, and that’s all you can really hope for. We’re happy to be a part of it, and every little bit that anyone can do helps. Go out and buy two tickets, and give one away!

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