Canadian bands from the ’90s enjoying digital era freedom

Newly reunited Big Wreck will hit the road for a Canadian tour to support their new record this April


Looking at upcoming Canadian concert listings might give music fans an acute case of déjà vu.

Canadian bands that first gained prominence in the 1990s are turning up again — both Treble Charger and I Mother Earth are playing at Canadian Music Week, which runs in Toronto until March 25.

Meanwhile, Big Wreck recently scored its first number one single (Albatross) – 15 years after releasing its debut album.

A casual observer might dismiss these reunions as a simple cash grab, but the artists themselves would tell you that they feel much freer now creatively than in the ‘90s, when radio pressure and record companies dictated the terms of their success — and that this freedom is a big part of their return.

“When you’re making a record and realize that you have to have three or four songs that are made for [radio], it boxes you in,” said Jeremy Taggart, drummer for Our Lady Peace, who first emerged in the early ’90s, but have continued to release new music into the 2000s.

“Now, there isn’t necessarily a radio to cater to. And we can just make a record for the sake of performing it.”

Bands that emerged in the ’90s were among the last to feel the oversight of major labels, radio play and music television. The internet revolution has made those cultural gatekeepers increasingly irrelevant, as fans go straight to iTunes, streaming services like Grooveshark or an artist’s BandCamp page to hear their favourite music.

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