As one of Canada’s most successful rockers, The Trews made their appearance at the CNE’s Bandshell this past weekend. We wanted to provide coverage that lasted longer than the stage lights. We spoke to John-Angus MacDonald to touch on his musical beginnings, his not so ‘ Plan B’, and what has made The Trews so unique.
Being any sort of artist, the music playing in your childhood home can make a massive impact on the quality of writing and tunes you produce for the world. Thriller, by Michael Jackson, was just that for John-Angus. He remembers dancing and spinning around the room, but that wasn’t his parents’ exact flavor or recipe for John’s futuristic success. John states the possibility of them purchasing the record was simply because he was MJ. His playlist list is a long script of legends including Jimmy Hendrix, The Beatles, and Bob Dylan, which he states is what he really grew up on.
Artists like Johnny Cash have made a massive impression on my life for certain healing experiences. With, The Trews latest album coming out September 14th John-Angus hopes that his listeners will feel the same moving forward. “I would love our music to do something for people. Just the stories I have heard over the years, and how our songs have helped people in a particularly rough patch is the most humbling thing you can hear as an artist.” From a personal standpoint, John said it would be tough to chalk up that one artist for him. His family moved to the Caribbean when he was just 13 years old, leaving the east coast of Canada. He remembers bringing a few cassette tapes with him that featured John Lennon’s “Imagine” and The Beatles “Sargent Pepper.” John-Angus states more than one of those songs off those cassettes has saved his life on more than one occasion.
Music being a massive inspiration lyrically, can also save inspire one to stay on the right track and continue what their heart leads. “I never had a personal Plan B.” states John-Angus “I had my eyes set on making music and touring. I didn’t know how I was going to make money doing it. You learn all of that stuff down the road if you are lucky to learn a thing or two about the business.” John-Angus did think about branching out within the business such as writing for other people and producing which he successfully accomplished with 10 years under his belt. Of course, at this stage of the game and level of success, he could never see himself as an accountant. Which we couldn’t see him as that either.
With John-Angus’s longstanding career, we no doubt believed he had some solid advice for those that don’t have the support of family members. Just know John-Angus is cheering you on but make sure you want it badly enough. “It’s a long road if your goal is to set yourself up for a career in music, there is a lot of disappointments along the way, as well as lucky breaks. We have had a bit of both. You have to ride it out and be in it for the right reasons. If you are not prepared for that journey, I would say don’t start. It’s only going to lead to heartache.”
Speaking of The Trews long road, it also comes with standing out and uniqueness. So from his standpoint, we wondered what characteristics that each member bring that propelled them to where they are now. “Colin is very driven, ambitious, and sort of workmanlike in his approach. When we are in the song-writing mode he is writing a song or two every day. Regardless of the results, he always wants to be in that creative frame of mind. Jack is quite the opposite, he is more whimsical and classic artist type. He might not write for a month and not do too much, but when he does, he will strike out in a flash of brilliance. Chris, the new replacement member of the band is a lot of fun, keeps it light, and feeling new. On the other hand, Jeff on the keyboard – is the reality crusher.” He jokingly stated. John-Angus believes he is more of the moderator or level-headed of the band. He handles more of the business aspects, touring, and considers himself to be the guy to know what’s going on everywhere, which he states he is the shoulder The Trews sometimes need.
For those that may have not seen The Trews live as a teaser to some new music, (which I was fortunate to have heard before the release..ps.. you’re going to love it) their new album’s personality to John-Angus is like a fresh coat of paint, on a good ol’ house. He feels like it’s bells and whistles of youth that is harder to get back as you age in this business. Though the band defiantly should take major credit on our belief, John did state they didn’t go it alone without the help of producer Derek Hoffman.
Keep up to date with The Trews touring schedule HERE and as well pre-order their album, you won’t regret a thing!
Written by: Sadie Kromm