COLIN MACDONALD: THE TREWS
LIFE AND TIME IN A BAND
The Trews have been one of Canada’s most successful rock bands for the past decade. To date, the Canadian rockers have played over 1,000 shows worldwide on their own, as well as supporting the Rolling Stones, Kiss, Robert Plant, Guns N' Roses, and Bruce Springsteen. They have also recorded seven albums, five of them in studio, with two live records, resulting in 16 top 10 rock radio hits in Canada.
Reaching the level of success that The Trews have had is no easy task. Thirteen years ago, they released their debut album, House of Ill Fame, and have been touring ever since. Colin MacDonald, The Trews’ lead singer and rhythm guitarist, talks to WATCH IT! about time spent on the road and why Fossil is his watch of choice.
WI: What are your most memorable times from the past decade?
CM: We played the Rock Boat in January. It’s a cruise ship, filled with bands, that leaves Miami to sail round the Gulf of Mexico. We had a blast. As well as lots of performing, we got to reconnect with old friends, some of whom we hadn’t seen for years. In 2012, we got to open for Springsteen in Moncton—we even got to play "Twist and Shout" on stage with him, such a great time. We’ll never forget playing with the Rolling Stones in 2005 at the Phoenix in Toronto. Also, so many great memories of playing the big, outdoor summer festivals.
WI: The band is made up of members of your family and friends. What are the dynamics of playing with such a close-knit group?
CM: We do have a few fights, but they’re quickly forgotten, just like when we were all kids. The band is always our priority. There are no agendas, and we don’t let egos get in the way. Like any other band, touring requires many weeks of forced closeness, with almost every waking minute spent together. It’s not like a regular job, where you can just go home at the end of the work day. Imagine a cross between the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Groundhog Day—it doesn’t matter how close you are to someone; after a couple of months of that, you need a break. But the experience of playing with people you’ve grown up with, and trust completely, is totally worth it. Even our manager is like family.
WI: How important is time in your life?
CM: On the road, time is everything. Not everyone in the band understands that, but we’re working on it ; ) You need to get dinner at the right time so you’re not too full and lethargic for a performance. You need to be at the airport on time, to actually get there for the gig. Everything, from when you open your eyes in the morning, to when you close them at night, needs to run like clockwork, or you’ll have a lot of disappointed people on your hands. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, a band’s life revolves around schedules. So a dependable watch is an absolute must. My personal favourite is my Fossil—it does the job while looking cool.