In anticipation of the release of the new Tragically Hip album, In Between Evolution, and the Hip’s big Canada Day Concert at Toronto’s Molson Amphitheatre, ChartAttack is declaring June 25 – 30 “Tragically Hip Week.”
For the next four news days, we’ll be posting stories culled from a recent interview with Hip singer Gord Downie. Here’s the first installment:
The last nail may have been hammered into Lollapalooza’s coffin with the recent announcement of its tour cancellation, but The Tragically Hip’s leadman Gord Downie says Another Roadside Attraction, their personal travelling festival/caravan, will some day get revived.
“We’ll do it again,” he says. “We’ll do something like that for sure.”
The band have convened the Attraction twice in the last 10 years. The ’97 edition of the Roadside tour spanned eight dates (seven Canadian, one American) and showcased Sheryl Crow, Los Lobos, Ashley MacIsaac, Wilco, Change Of Heart, The Mutton Birds, Ron Sexsmith and Van Allen Belt. In ’95, the tour featured Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers, Matthew Sweet, Blues Traveller, Spirit Of The West, The Inbreds, Eric’s Trip and The Rheostatics.
Considering that Crow and Wilco are now super-duper stars and that Ron Sexsmith is an internationally-touted singer-songwriter of the highest order, the ’97 class turned out mighty fine. The Inbreds and Eric’s Trip disappearing and Blues Traveller still existing puts a bummer spin on the ’95 event, but still, a new Attraction would be something to dig regardless.
Of course, when you slap your name on top of a fancy festival, you’re the ones finding the bands, making sure their schedules all jive, finding the venues and making sure they’re all available and generally have to be the dudes responsible for making sure everyone has a good ol’ time. Downie figures the intense organizing that something like Roadside requires is the main reason they haven’t done one in awhile.
“It sort of hasn’t been in our plans the last few years,” he says. “I think we know how to do it. It’s not without its drawbacks. It’s sort of like planning about 10 weddings or something — all that happening in a row over two weeks, cuz it’s big. But we sure had a great time, met great people doing that. Saw some greaaaat music over the years.”
Of course, Hip fans yearning for that communal festive vibe will still get an opportunity to revel in some hot blues-rock action. The band have rather strategically set up a July 1 Canada Day concert at Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto.
Says Downie: “I’m sure it’ll sell out and be a good ol’ time… I think it’ll be good.”
This story was originally published June 25, 2004 via Chart Communications.