Based in Toronto, Ontario, THE TREWS consist of vocalist Colin MacDonald, guitarist John-Angus MacDonald, bassist Jack Syperek, and drummer Gavin Maguire.
The band started their career Antigonish, Nova Scotia as One I’d Trouser, a line taken from a Monty Python skit, before changing their name to Trouser, and eventually The Trews. They released an EP as One I’d Trouser, and a second EP under the name The Trews.
In the early summer of 2002, the band won the 97.7 HTZ-FM Rock Search and landed a management contract with Bumstead Productions Ltd.
2003’s House of Ill Fame was produced by Big Sugar’s Gordie Johnson and contained the singles “Every Inambition,” “Not Ready to Go,” “Tired of Waiting,” “Fleeting Trust” and “Confessions.” “Not Ready to Go” hit number one on Canadian rock radio and was the most played song of 2004 in that format. The band was nominated as New Group of the Year at the 2004 Juno Awards (Canadian Grammys) and “Not Ready to Go” was nominated as Single of the Year in 2005. House Of Ill Fame has been certified Gold in Canada. It was also re-released with a bonus live disc called The Live Cut featuring live versions of songs taken from the album.
The band’s follow up, Den of Thieves, came in 2005 and was produced by legendary producer Jack Douglas (Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, John Lennon, New York Dolls). The first single, “So She’s Leaving,” was followed by the singles “Yearning” (which was their second single to reach number one), “Poor Ol’ Broken Hearted Me,” and “I Can’t Say.” In the summer of 2005 the band was invited to share the stage with the Rolling Stones at the Phoenix Concert Theater in Toronto as part of the Stones’ Bigger Bang Tour. The same year they were invited to open for Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant on his across Canada arena tour. Den of Thieves was certified Gold.
The Trews’ third album, No Time for Later, was released in February, 2008. The first single, “Hold Me in Your Arms,” premiered at the 2007 Grey Cup pre-game show. The video eventually went to number one on MuchMusic and won in The 8th Annual Independent Music Awards (US) for Best Hard Rock/Metal Song. In February 2008, the band added keyboardist Jeff Heisholt to their live line up. Other singles included “Paranoid Freak,” the ballad “Man Of Two Minds,” and “Can’t Stop Laughing.” They were nominated for two Juno Awards in 2009, Album Of The Year and Group Of The Year.
2009 saw the release of their second live album, Acoustic – Friends & Total Strangers, an acoustic session recorded over two nights at Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio in January 2009 for a live audience. It was released without any edits or overdubs and was produced by the band’s guitarist John Angus MacDonald. There is also a 23-song DVD of the same name available which captures the second nights performance in its entirety as well as candid interviews with the band. The release earned the band their fifth Juno nomination for DVD of the year in 2010. The album’s only single, “Sing Your Heart Out,” a new song written specifically for the performances, won Best AAA/Alternative Song at the 2010 International Acoustic Music Awards (US).
The “Highway Of Heroes” single was released soon after. It was inspired by the 2006 death of Capt. Nichola Goddard, the first Canadian female soldier killed in Afghanistan and a schoolmate of members of the band. It refers to the stretch of Highway 401 in Ontario, between CFB Trenton and downtown Toronto, where hundreds gather on bridges and overpasses to mourn soldiers killed in Afghanistan while the bodies of the fallen soldiers are transported from Trenton to the coroner’s office in downtown Toronto. The song was made available on iTunes in Canada only, with all proceeds from the sales of the song going to the Canadian Hero Fund, a charity that provides academic scholarships to the spouses and children of soldiers killed in combat. In October 2014, “Highway of Heroes” was certified Gold in Canada for sales of over 40,000 digital downloads. In November 2010 the band performed the Canadian National anthem at the 98th Grey Cup in Edmonton.
The band’s fourth studio album, Hope & Ruin was released in 2011. The album was co-produced by John-Angus MacDonald and the Tragically Hip’s Gord Sinclair and was recorded at the Hip’s own Bathouse Studio in Bath, Ontario. The album was mixed by Canadian engineer/mixer Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Franz Ferdinand, Aerosmith, Mother Mother). The singles, “Hope and Ruin,” “The World, I Know,” and “Misery Loves Company” all received significant radio and video play. Hope & Ruin was released in the USA, Australia and the UK and the band toured all these markets. “The World, I Know” was acknowledged in the Top Songs of 2011 by Classic Rock Magazine. In August 2012, the band supported Bruce Springsteen at Magnetic Hill outside of Moncton, New Brunswick. They were invited by Bruce to join him in his encore for a 10-minute rendition of “Twist and Shout.”
In 2012 the band issued a seven song EP entitled …Thank You and I’m Sorry. Co-produced by John-Angus MacDonald and Gordie Johnson, the EP featured guest appearances by The Black Crowes’ Rich Robinson as well as ex-Black Crowes Eddie Harsch. Ian McLagan of The Small Faces and The Faces also made an appearance. The EP’s first single “The Power of Positive Drinking” received extensive airplay across Canada reaching number one on the CBC rock chart the week of December 7, 2012.
In April 2014, the band released its fifth full-length studio album eponymously titled The Trews. It was the band’s highest charting debut to date reaching number one on the Rock, Alternative and Independent Album Charts and number three on the overall chart in Canada. The album’s singles “What’s Fair is Fair,” “Rise in the Wake” and “New King” all reached Top Ten on the Canadian Active Rock radio chart and received heavy video play. In September 2014, the band took part in the first ever CapeFest in Sydney, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia along with Slash and Aerosmith.
On July 14, 2015, drummer Sean Dalton stepped down from the band sending this message to fans via email: “To all the hard core Trewbadours out there: Well what can I say folks its been an amazing run. The years playing with the Trews have been best years of my life. Countless hours in the jam space and playing thousands of live shows all over the world have shaped me as a musician, and playing with such great guys has made me a better human being. I will miss it very much. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I’ve decided to step down from the drum throne. Nothing weird goin’ on here folks…just time to do what’s best for me and the family. I wish the Trews nothing but the best, and was so fortunate to play with the best friggin’ band in the Country. I’ll be hanging with you all in the crowd at the next show.” Gavin Maguire has taken over as the band’s drummer.