Music Spotlight: Crush

Music Spotlight: Crush

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Hit-makers of the early millennium, Cory Tetford and Paul Lamb give the fans what they want, reuniting after 12 years as Crush.

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King For A Day. Bad Enough. Justified. Each of these were radio hits for Newfoundland rock duo Crush during the early to mid 2000s. Their potentially game-changing album Face in the Crowd propelled the pairing of Cory Tetford and Paul Lamb to must-watch prospect status and a national breakout seemed inevitable as the decade neared the halfway mark.  Then, quietly and almost without warning, Crush vanished. Sure, Tetford and Lamb have never ceased to perform – both are tireless and well-travelled artisans – but the machine that had many calling the duo the next breakout act of Newfoundland and Labrador had all but been shuttered.

Some 12 years later and Tetford and Lamb are set to reunite under the Crush banner for the Iceberg Alley Performance Tent on September 17. In their first interview together with The Herald in over a decade, Tetford keenly recalls the final time Crush performed – October 16, 2004, closing out their Arts and Culture Centre Tour in St. John’s. Safe to say that this reunion has been a long time coming.

“Lambey and I had been talking about this for quite some time. Literally over the last bunch of years we’ve been saying ok, let’s do this,” Tetford began. “We still play together a fair amount. Whenever I’m home we’re playing together, but it’s just me and him with our acoustic guitars. We haven’t gone out and toured and played a Crush show, but we still play together, we’re still best buds. We just haven’t been able to put a Crush show together until now. We’ve been talking about this for at least five or seven years.”

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“Even though we’re not an active band playing or haven’t put an album out in a long, long time, we both felt there’s probably enough of a fan base out there where we could at least play once a year, maybe in St. John’s and Halifax and do a show and have it be successful,” Lamb adds. 

Family Over Fame 

So the big ticket question: why did Crush call it quits when it did? Was it a bitter spat? A declining of fan interest? Neither, says the duo.

“It was just personal family stuff,” Lamb explains. “When you’re in that part of your career, the first couple of albums with any band and you’re trying to climb up the ladder it takes a lot of work, a lot of touring and you’re gone all the time. A lot of bands when they start out they’re in their 20s and much younger and a little more free and not so committed to family, a house and all of those things, so it’s a lot easier to go on the road, stay on the road and work hard like you have to to create a bigger fan base and get better as a band. For Cory and I we were 30 when we started Crush and it was just a little bit later for us. Children, new babies coming along and being on the road so much was just so hard at that point in our lives.”

“That tour of the Arts and Culture Centres of October of 2004, my boy was  five months old and I left for six days,” Tetford recalls. “When I came back I damn near pulled my hair out to be honest with you, because he was so young. In order for Paul and I to keep climbing we had to keep releasing records and touring a lot and it just wasn’t the right time for us. Both Paul and I looked hard at it. I personally can tell you I didn’t have it in me to be away that much when my children were so small. They’re grown up now pretty much so they don’t mind when dad leaves now, so maybe we’ll start playing more.”

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‘Like Brothers’ 

No animosity, no declines in ticket sales. Two men made the conscious and united decision to derail a potentially prosperous project for the good of family. That kind of humility and selflessness is almost non-existent in such a step-on-shoulders industry. For Tetford and Lamb, over a decade later and their bond has only strengthened, as has their conviction in their decision 12 years prior.

“Paul and I have been through a lot together – the war as they say – in our humble opinion we came out stronger. We’re more like brothers than we are friends,” Tetford says. “I know that’s cheesy and Paul is sort of laughing at me as I’m saying it. We always maintained that connection and just because we weren’t out touring doesn’t mean we weren’t making music together. We’re constantly making music together and have been involved in multiple projects together.” 

Have there been previous talks, previous points where Crush have been on the brink of reformation? Both say yes to that claim, though there has been apprehension that the Crush brand would be greeted with crickets. That thought can largely be dispelled now thanks to early rabid anticipation for the reunion showcase, though the two men front and center on stage that night will be, arguably, the most excited of the bunch.

“I know that Paul and I have played together better now than we ever have. We’re more mature, we listen to each other, have played with each other for 24 years. We’re better, individually, I do believe. I mean that by after you get experience you find your voice more and we found our voice. Together I think we sound even greater, our harmonies are tighter,” Tetford says. “There will be a lot of smiles because we’re playing these songs that were written years ago when we were younger men and we’re now playing them with a little more maturity. I think it will be more satisfying for me and Paul.”

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Tickets for Crush with Timber are available at icebergalleyconcerts.com

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Dillon Collins is a writer based out of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Multi-time MusicNL nominee for Media Person of the Year. Lover of heavy metal, hoppy beverages and the loveable canine.

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