The Trews - Colin MacDonald, John Angus MacDonald, Jack Syperek and Sean Dalton, have quickly gained a reputation as Canada’s hottest live band. The Trews have spent the past couple of years touring across the country, performing in every city from St. John's to Victoria.
Although, The Trews have now performed over 400 shows since recording their debut album, House Of Ill Fame (released August 2003), they did manage to find some time during their crazy touring schedule to write numerous songs for their sophomore release entitled, Den of Thieves. “A lot of the tracks on this record were written and developed on the road at sound checks or in hotel rooms,” explains guitarist John-Angus MacDonald. “Other songs came from jam sessions we were able to fit in during our hectic touring schedule.” These songwriting sessions also took the band to Austin, Texas in December 2004, during a break from touring, to write with Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar). “We brought along six or seven unfinished song ideas to Austin that had been kickin’ around and Gordie helped bring them to fruition,” explains vocalist Colin MacDonald. “We have a great chemistry with Gordie, having worked with him on our last record, and some of those songs are among the strongest on the album.” In January 2005, the band spent four days recording demos at The Tragically Hip’s studio in Bath, Ontario.
Following these songwriting sessions, The Trews began recording Den Of Thieves in Toronto in early 2005 with Grammy Award winning producer Jack Douglas (Aerosmith, New York Dolls, John Lennon). “Jack is a legend who still has an edge. His unique, organic approach has captured the energy of our band perfectly. He allowed us the artistic freedom to bring our sound and performance to new levels,” explains Colin. The band spent numerous months locked up in the studio working with Jack Douglas. During these sessions, the band focused their energy on capturing the magic of their legendary live show. The band would record each song between two and ten times and then decide on the version that they felt best captured their signature sound. “We recorded twenty songs for this new album. It was a difficult process narrowing down which tracks would make the album. We basically put it to a vote and we ended up deciding on fourteen songs for the final album,” says drummer Sean Dalton. Jack Douglas also introduced the Tracy Bonham song entitled, “Naked” to the band. “Jack first heard the song when he was producing the last Aerosmith album Honkin’ on BoBo. Jack suggested that we try recording a version of this track. It ended up sounding so great so it made onto the final album,” comments bassist Jack Syperek.
During recording sessions for Den Of Thieves, The Trews made a conscious effort to introduce many different musical styles that were not present on their debut last album. The songs that make up the Den Of Thieves include everything from their trademark dark, raunchy rock’n’roll sound to tracks that feature horn sections, string sections, some harmonica, harmonium and even some banjo playing made an appearance during the studio sessions. Vocalist Colin Mac Donald also explains that his lyrics have gone through a transformation over the years. “There are a lot of personal themes addressed in the new songs. The lyrics are based upon personal accounts, but relayed through stories and different characters,” explains Colin.
Since the release of their debut album, House Of Ill Fame, The Trews have headlined their own gigs in Canada and have shared the stage with Big Sugar, Default, Evanescence, Finger Eleven, Nickelback, Sam Roberts, The Offspring and Three Days Grace. “Performing over 400 shows over the last two years has made us a pretty tight and connected group,” comments John-Angus. “We learned a lot about the business and a lot about ourselves. Playing that many shows is a lot of hard work, but it pays off. Although at times the constant touring can wear you down mentally and physically, it is worth it in the end. We all have learned to get along better, the relationship of being in band is a strange kind of marriage and it takes effort to make it work. We’ve had our ups and downs, but I think we emerged a stronger band, both as friends and musicians.”
The band’s debut album; House Of Ill Fame has surpassed Gold certification and has garnered 4 hit singles. “Not Ready To Go” hit #1 on the Canadian rock radio charts and was the #1 Most Played Track on the Canadian Rock Chart in 2004. The video for this single hit #1 on MuchMoreMusic and #5 on MuchMusic. The other 3 singles, “Tired Of Waiting,” “Every Inambition” and “Fleeting Trust” topped the charts at radio.
Following the release of their debut album, The Trews were recognized with nominations at the 2004 East Coast Music Awards, 2004 Juno Awards and the 2004 MuchMusicVideo Awards (MMVAs). The Trews were awarded "Best Contemporary Recording" at the COCA Awards (Canadian Organization of Campus Activities). Toronto radio station listeners at Edge102 voted The Trews as Favourite New Artist at the 2004 CASBY Awards (Canadian Artists Selected By You) and the band won “Group Of The Year” at the 2005 East Coast Music Awards. The Trews were also nominated for “Single of the Year” at the 2005 Juno Awards.