The Tragically Hip’s singer Gord Downie died in 2017, and as any of his fellow Canadians will tell you, his passing was a national tragedy. Although TTH were and remain critically respected and commercially successful outside Canada, their domestic status was immense, equalled in their home country only by Rush. The fact that their 13 studio albums released since 1989 have sold 10 million copies in Canada, but only 1.5 million in the USA, is revealing. When Downie’s death was announced, the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an emotional speech in his honor, and the country’s House of Commons observed a minute’s silence.
All this indicates why so much attention has been focused on Saskadelphia, a new album by The Tragically Hip. It contains six previously unreleased tracks written in 1990, five of which were recorded the same year during the sessions for the album Road Apples; the sixth is a live track, ‘Montreal’. The line-up will be familiar to fans—Downie plus Rob Baker (guitar), Paul Langlois (guitar), Gord Sinclair (bass), and Johnny Fay (drums)—and the energy and enthusiasm emitted by the young band gives the songs a ton of appeal.
BP talked to bassist Sinclair just after the now-quartet received the 2021 Humanitarian Award at Canada’s annual Juno Awards, presented to them by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush.
I’ve been watching the video of you receiving the Juno Award, Gord.
Yeah—it was really quite something. My first concert was Rush in Kingston, Ontario when I was 14 years old, so the 16-year-old me keeps pinching the 56-year-old me. When we were invited to support Rush back in 1991, after touring Road Apples, we honestly thought it couldn’t possibly get any bigger than playing with them at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. It was a watershed moment for us.
How did you get started on bass?
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