Econoline Crush Biography
Econoline Crush, one of the hardest touring bands in rock music has revamped and redefined its sound with Brand New History---it's first record in four years. This CD is a giant leap forward. It's a mature work that consolidates the heavy alt/rock of the The Devil You Know with a vast number of influences that bring passion, edge and soul to the music.
Alternative Rock, Stadium Rock, Glam Rock, New Wave, 80's Rock, Motown, R&B, Soul, Pop, Gospel, Rap, Ambient, Dance, Techno.. It would be easier to talk about what hasn't influenced Econoline Crush.
Blame it on the radio. Blame it on Econoline leader Trevor Hurst's friends-the punks and the rockers-back home in the small farming community of Virden, Manitoba. Blame it on the 80's, or on the enormous amount of touring that the band did in the four years since it's last release, The Devil You Know.
"I had a really clear vision of where the music had to go on this record", says Hurst. "The goal was to incorporate all the great music I listened to growing up in a way that was hip and exciting and current."
This is no small mandate from a guy whose taste in pop music is so all encompassing that he talks about Gordon Lightfoot and Anne Murray one minute, and Outkast, Korn, Limp Bizket, Macy Gray, Dr. Dre and Snoop the next. Throw in eighties groups like INXS, U2, Simple Minds, and some classic R&B , soul, southern gospel and a little Marvin Gaye and Otis
Redding, and you have the idea.
But when asked to define what the bottom line is, Hurst doesn't hesitate. "It's rock music." "I see the great bands that have come before us almost like a universal standard," says the affable Hurst, clearly warming to the subject. "This is how they approached making records then, this is how we can achieve those same goals now. The Stones have always been a big
influence on me and this band. To me they have never ignored the world around them, and yet have somehow always managed to make their music timely and relevant. That's really all you want to do. Hold up a mirror to the world and let them see themselves through your eyes."
"I really feel like this is an exciting time for music", says Trevor, talking about the band's adventurous philosophy. "Music is so diverse right now. I think that if you do what you want and do it well, it will be accepted."
Joining Hurst in this mission are three versatile musicians who bring their considerable talents and spirit of camaraderie to the mix. Veteran Econoline guitarist Ziggy sends out a veritable encyclopedia of sonic waves, with performances that range from a subtle-almost-ambient wash of sound to psychedelic to full out big stadium rock guitar-hero licks. Powerhouse drummer John Haro lays down a solid bottom end. The rhythm section is rounded out by Danny Yaremko, who also contributes in the writing process.
One listen to the new CD and you can hear the way the band members bring all their musical inspirations together. But, as Trevor explains, it's not just music that's influencing them, "It is virtually impossible to go through life without being affected by the vast media saturation. Music, politics, social issues, movies, television, personal issues all come into play when a band goes in to write an album. Brand New History is an album that encompasses the changes in the world and the changes in our personal lives, without looking back but instead looking ahead at the opportunity to make our mark and leave some sort of soundtrack to what we see as 'here, now, and beyond'."
Brand New History was recorded in Los Angeles, where Hurst has lived for the last couple of years. It is produced by John Travis whose credits include Sugar Ray, Kid Rock, and Buck Cherry.
"We were so fortunate to have worked with not just one, but two great producers for this record. In between the last and new album we flew to Maui and recorded the track 'You Don't Know What It's Like' with Bob Rock (Metallica, Aerosmith)," raves Trevor. This experience ultimately also led to Bob's involvement with the track "Make It Right," that would ultimately become the first single.
"Initially we had recorded demos of the song several times, but we couldn't seem to capture that fine line of combining a new sound in the verse with a more classic rock feel in the chorus," says Trevor. "As we were looking for this song to seize the same 'rock pedigree' accomplished on 'You Don't Know What It's Like,' Bob came to mind. He is a producer that is really able to hear where you are going with things and helps you get there."
Shortly after Bob heard a demo of the song, Trevor was on his way to Maui to record "Make It Right." As Bob was already in the middle of working with Billy Duffy (who Trevor had met in LA a few times), Matt Sorum and Martyn LeNoble, they gladly jumped in to play on the song.
In the four years between albums, Econoline Crush has spent an enormous amount of time on tour in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Brand New History captures the blistering often euphoric energy of the band's live show.
"We really wanted to capture that live energy ," says Hurst. "I know people say that's a cliché, but we love playing. And when we play the songs live, the metaphor is like watching a prize fighter! We dance around. We strike and we hit!"
But it's not just about a wall of sound. Brand New History is more subtle, and textured thanks to touches from some talented guests including, programmer Steve Duda, (Trent Reznor), DJ Swamp (Beck) and singer Liz Constantine (Mick Jagger).
Trevor's attention to craft really comes across when he's talking about the words. "There are songs on this record for which I wrote the lyrics four and five times while in the studio trying to get it exactly right where it needed to be."
Wanting to stretch creatively, Hurst also sought out collaborators. "I worked all through our down time with outside writers. I wrote with TONS of different people," Trevor explains "The only ones that stuck were Chris Vrenna, who used to be the drummer in Nine Inch Nails and Paul Raven, a close friend who played bass in Killing Joke". Two of the songs the gritty
"Go Off" and the hooky song "Riverside" ended up on Brand New History. The songs encompass a variety of styles and subjects, but the qualities that run through all of the material are commitment and passion.
"Econoline Crush relies on a steady supply of emotion to fuel our creative machine", says Trevor. "For better or worse this has worked for us, and although at times some of our behavior may seem illogical it all has it's place and it is all for the cause. We really believe that with this album (Brand New History) we have captured the essence of that emotion and that drive to be the best we can be."
When all is said and done Brand New History is the continuing story of Econoline Crush. But it's also about the coming of age of that kid from Virden, Manitoba, with his AM radio and the belief that rock'n'roll could be everything you wanted it to be.
FEBRUARY 2001 - EMI MUSIC CANADA