The ’90s weren’t exactly the golden age of Canadian rock.
A few bands, however, did make an impact. Among them were I Mother Earth, The Tea Party, and Our Lady Peace.
So when former members of those three bands get together to create a new one, it’s probably worth having a listen.
That’s exactly what rock radio programmers did late last year when a new song, Awake, landed unexpectedly on their doorsteps.
Awake was by an unsigned band called Crash Karma, but it sounded familiar — a bit like all three of those previously mentioned bands, as a matter of fact.
Which makes sense since Crash Karma is comprised of Edwin, former singer for I Mother Earth, Mike Turner, former guitarist for Our Lady Peace and Jeff Burrows, former drummer of The Tea Party. The bass and much of the songwriting duties are supplied by Amir Epstein, a former member of the lesser known Toronto band, Zygote.
Familiarity bred popularity, and Awake quickly achieved Top 10 status on Canadian rock charts.
When Awake first hit the airwaves, the four members of Crash Karma had been handling things pretty much on their own. They had entered Turner’s Toronto recording studio with some song ideas from Epstein and worked them into an album’s worth of music. They hired a guy to shop Awake around the radio stations, but still didn’t have a manager, let alone a recording contract.
Former Canadian Idol judge Jake Gold offered the band his managerial expertise after hearing the track. Record labels soon followed.
Earlier this week, Crash Karma released its debut full-length on the E1 label and is getting ready to head out on a cross-Canada tour intended to hone the band’s live act in outlying clubs before taking on major centres like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
“Sometimes in life you just put things in motion and they have a charmed way of working out themselves,” Edwin says.
The story of the band’s formation is just as happenstance. Edwin was working as a celebrity bartender at the Tattoo Rock Parlour in downtown Toronto when he got a call from Epstein, asking if he was interested in co-writing some songs.
At that first meeting, Epstein started talking about getting together with Burrows and Turner, with whom he had done some studio work. Epstein suggested — perhaps, a bit deceptively — that Turner and Burrows were already on side. He then went to Turner and Burrows, suggesting Edwin was already on side.
“It wasn’t really deception,” Erwin says. “He was just hoping that he could make it happen. It was his confidence that pulled it off.”