A&E » Arts

Treble Charger


WHO: Treble Charger

WHERE: Garfinkel’s

WHEN: June 17

The last nine months for Ontario’s Treble Charger have been fast and furious. It’s a wonder the quartet didn’t suffer oxygen deprivation as their album — Wide Awake Bored — skyrocketed to Canadian gold in just nine weeks. A major cross country tour was followed by a little downtime for the boys, but this week’s show in Whistler marks the start of a three-month summer circuit for this rock band in demand.

"Whistler is a warm-up show for us before we head out on tour with Matthew Good," says vocalist/guitarist Bill Priddle. "It’s always nice when you’re gonna do a big arena tour to warm up with a few club dates to get your feet wet. It’s fun for us and hopefully fun for Whistler too."

This is, in fact, about the fifth time Treble Charger has returned to the resort, almost enough attendance to make them honourary locals. And, locals do seem to embrace the band. Rumours over the last year or two have had Treble Charger playing at private parties in the valley.

"Hmmm," muses Priddle. Apparently no truth to that. The closest connection he can figure is a Vancouver friend who owns a home up here.

"Our first ever tour though, we were at The Boot," he recalls. "The (Whistler) crowds have always been really into it."

That first tour was in 1994. Yep, nearly seven years ago. It seems to surprise a few fans that Treble Charger has been plugging away since 1992, when Priddle and longtime friend, Greig Nori, got the notion to throw their musical talents together. Make that ‘new’ fans. The success of the song American Psycho exposed Treble Charger to masses who believed them to be a hot new act. The misconception didn’t surprise the band.

"That’s just happens when you sell records to people who have never heard you before. It’s natural."

The album sales Treble Charger has been racking up since last fall also didn’t come as a complete surprise. After all, Wide Awake Bored combines over 30 years of industry knowledge between the bandmates as well as the experience of producer Matt Hyde.

"(Matt) wanted to make sure all the songs were up to a standard, so he really pushed us harder. When we first demo-ed American Psycho after Matt worked with it, we kinda thought ‘wow, this may be the best thing we’ve ever recorded’."

That confidence, however, was a while in the making… as was the album. Wide Awake Bored was recorded in L.A. with unabashed intentions of cracking the U.S. market. Treble Charger was stalled, and a little shaken, from the get go by a deadlock with their previous American label.

"It took a while to make this record when we were on RCA. It was a long process of doing demos and sending it to them, and them saying ‘no, this is no good’. It’s always a weird time between records. You don’t know if everyone has forgotten about you."

Their Canadian label, BMG, had the foresight to move on it, however, and voila! Enter Nettwerk Records a few months later, and Wide Awake Bored was released in the States in April. The single, American Psycho, put in a respectable showing on charts south of the border, and Treble Charger is looking forward to boosting that with some U.S. dates later this year.

"There’s a new excitement about ourselves. It’s fun to play shows. We can afford a good crew. It’s not so grueling being on the road. And when other people are consistently excited to hear us, the shows are great… When you’ve worked this long for success, this is what we were hoping for. It seems everything has been lining up really well with this record."

Which brings us back to how long Treble Charger has been working for that success. Priddle is quick to point out that longevity on the Canadian music scene is important, but not easy.

"The first rule of success in music, and maybe everything, is if you stick around long enough, you’re gonna be successful. Without a doubt. So many bands, from when we started out, are gone now. We’re still around. It’s difficult though. The first big cross country tour we got (including that date at The Boot), we were getting maybe $150 - $200 a night. How do you afford to go across the country like that? But you have to go through those times to get to the times when you actually make money."

Even after this fruitful winter, Treble Charger won’t be applying for their status in the Millionaire’s Club anytime soon. Admittedly, they won’t sell as many records in Canada as Nelly Furtado or gain the popularity Barenaked Ladies enjoy in the States. But Priddle seems quite content with his nine-year career. The commercial hype may even be a little uncomfortable for Priddle who’s been quoted as saying, "I’m an indie rocker trapped in a modern rocker band." Anything left to check off on the to-do list?

"Spontaneously combust on stage … perhaps a party with midgets!"