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INTERVIEW –­ John-Angus MacDonald, The Trews, November 2012

| 1 December 2012 | Reply

By Shane Pinnegar

Hey John -Angus -­ thanks for taking time out to answer a few questions!

JAM – No problem

How did the Aussie tour go this time round?

JAM – Good, had a few good sets at Sydney Blues and Roots and the other shows also went well.

You’ve spent a lot of time and effort trying to crack Australia over the past few years: how’s the campaign going?

JAM – It’s building. I definitely get the sense that the word on the band is growing.

The new EP is fantastic.  Was this recorded especially to be an EP, or were these tracks part of a larger session for another album?

JAM – It was intended as an EP. These songs were left over from a writing session that took place in Austin, TX while we were in the process of recording our last album “Hope and Ruin”. We found that, for the most part, they didn’t suit that vibe of where that record was headed so we never recorded them.  It’s kind of good that we didn’t because they make a nice cohesive set on their own.

You roped Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson in on a few tracks ­have you been mates for a while?

JAM – Yes, we first met through a mutual friend in 2006. We’ve been in touch on and off ever since.

Shannon Noll also turns in a great performance on a reworking of Poor Old Broken Hearted Me -­ how did he become involved?

JAM – We met him on our last trip. He came to see us play at the Brass Monkey in Cronulla and we hit it off. The recording session took place a few weeks later.

I believe you supported Bruce Springsteen a few months ago and were invited up to jam in his encore ­ that must have been a dream come true almost?

JAM – It was a very surreal moment. The song was Twist and Shout and it went on for about 10 minutes. I could have played it for an hour, I didn’t want it to end!

You’ve also supported and toured with some amazing names – The Rolling Stones, Kiss, Cheap Trick, Ace Frehley, Guns ‘n Roses, Robert Plant, Kid Rock and many more. With so many ticks off any band¹s ‘dream list’ ­ are there any really big artists you would just kill to play with?

JAM – AC/DC. I love them so much and would love to play with ‘em.

I read a story somewhere that Robert Plant told (drummer) Sean off after you played Bohemian Rhapsody at a show in Alberta – did he not dig your version?

JAM – I don’t think he dug the standing ovation we got as his opening act!  That was all smoothed over very quickly and wasn’t that big a deal. He was a really nice guy to tour with in fact…

So in the past ten years you’ve released 4 albums, hit the Canadian top ten a bunch of times, supported legends, and performed hundreds of shows… do you ever get sick of each other, being on the road and in the studio so much?

JAM – All the time…weed helps!

With an album tentatively scheduled for next year, can we expect to see The Trews back in Australia touring it?

JAM – Not sure when that will be. We have to write and record it all first.  Certainly we’ll be back at some point.

And this time round ­will Perth be included (please)?

JAM – I hope so. We went there on our very first trip and had a great time.  It’s beautiful out there.

The thing, I think, that sets The Trews apart from most current bands is the songwriting, something that I believe you guys take very seriously and are constantly working to improve. How do YOU rate your songwriting nowadays?

JAM – Personally I feel it’s getting better. You gain confidence as you go and, at least in my case, you learn to “kill your babies” so to speak. You become less afraid of tearing something down so you can build it back up again.

Who are the songwriters that you most admire and take influence from?

JAM – I think Rich Robinson is a great songwriter. I also love the way bands like the Tragically Hip write as a group – we do a lot of that. Then there are the legends like John Lennon, Keith Richards, Paul Simon, Lou Reed who are also a source of inspiration.

In the finest Celtic musical tradition, you¹ve written a few drinking songs ­do you write them sober or drunk, generally?

JAM – The best one, in my opinion, is Ishmael and Maggie which was written during a time in our lives the hangovers were only painful interludes between piss ups so there’s definitely an authenticity to it!

If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the making of any one record what would it be?

JAM – “Pet Sounds” – The Beach Boys. I’d love to be a fly on the wall while they were arranging those vocals. It’s intense genius…

Finally ­ what does ROCK N’ ROLL mean to you?

JAM – Endless possibility!





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