guitarist John-Angus MacDonald didn’t look too far into the future when he first helped form the band. “We were 15 year-old high school students trying to have a wicked show whenever we had one booked,” MacDonald says of his once-modest goals.
Flash forward to today and The Trews boasts two gold records, 10 top-10 singles and opening gigs for the likes of Robert Plant and The Rolling Stones.
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The hard-rocking quartet - lead vocalist Colin MacDonald; brother John-Angus, cousin, drummer Sean Dalton, and long-time pal bassist Jack Syperek - delivers uncomplicated rock that flies in the face of today’s electronica-saturated age.
The ascent has been gradual, the lead guitarist tells Big Hollywood, but with sign markers along the way.
“Hearing yourself on the radio for the first time … the tip of the hat from some of the older guard, like The Rolling Stones … selling out our own tours,” he says. “It’s an extremely special thing."
The Stones tour revealed the pragmatic side of classic rock.
“They’d invited us to play in an unannounced show in Toronto,” he recalls. “We spent about 15 minutes hanging out with them. Everything with them is orchestrated down to the minute.”
His rock ‘n’ roll dreams were better fulfilled by opening up for Plant.
“There were plenty of opportunities for [Plant] to give us old Led Zeppelin stories,” he says.
The Trews find inspiration from the usual sources, but their most recent single sprung from the loss of a very brave soul.
“Highway Of Heroes” mourns the 2006 death of Capt. Nichola Goddard, the first Canadian female soldier killed in Afghanistan.
Goddard was from Nova Scotia, where three of the four band members grew up. The more the band members learned of her life - and heroism - the more inspired they became.
“It’s a daunting thing to voluntary sign up for something that like,” he says.
The song took on a life of its own, becoming a fan favorite at live events. Proceeds from the single go to the Canadian Hero Fund which provides scholarships to the spouses and children of soldiers killed in combat.
“We’ve been blown away by how people have connected to [the song],“ he says. “We’ve received notes from soldiers all over the world, soldiers in general showing their appreciation for us writing [about it].“
The band always keeps tabs on its fan base, either through live performances or via the web.
“I think we’d be fools to ignore the tidal wave of Internet technology that swamped the industry,” he says of the band’s Internet savvy fan base. “It’s an integral part of the fan experience. They’ve come to expect it ... you can‘t stop,” he says with a chuckle.
It‘s why the band will post video blog entries up on its main site
MacDonald describes The Trews’ music as “good time rock ‘n’ roll that sounds great in a bar, or with a beer in your hand.”
The prolific band is deep into the recording sessions for an upcoming album, a process he describes as different approach from their 2008 disc “No Time For Later.”
That release “lacked the organic feel we bring to the table when we play live,” he says.
“It’s taking elements of what we learned touring with the  acoustic album ['Friends & Total Strangers'], but it’s a return to some of our heavier stuff as well,” he says.