In the music world, where stars come and go, three decades is a long time.
Yet despite celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Canadian rock staple 54-40 has found ways to keep things fresh.
“When we make new records, we’re really hesitant to remake the previous record,” drummer Matt Johnson told Metro Ottawa earlier this week.
“We like the idea of changing it up and having a new idea going into the next record. Our fans expect the unexpected rather than another record that was a variation on the one prior.
“It possibly could have hurt us, but it gave us creative licence to do what we wanted and in the long run, we’re not tied to a certain sound or a certain period of time.”
Known for songs including I Go Blind and Ocean Pearl, the B.C.-based band will be bringing its constantly evolving, yet timeless sounds to the stage at this weekend’s Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival at Mooney’s Bay, where they will be performing as headliners Sunday.
The band, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of its first major label release, The Green Album, this year, has been playing its debut album in its entirety at shows, and such is the plan for Sunday. They’ll also be playing “a smattering of material from the rest of our records,” as well as new songs from their latest album.
Playing at the festival is like a homecoming for 54-40, who play Ottawa at least once a year, said Johnson. “It’s always been a strong market for us,” he said.
The music industry has seen some major changes in the last 30 years, said Johnson — there’s more engagement with fans and it’s now about getting music in the hands of fans as soon as possible — but “the Canadian music scene has been good to us.
It’s given us a career and we feel very lucky and blessed to be able to be a part of the fabric of the Canadian music scene over the last 30 years.”