After serving as manager of the Tragically Hip for over half of the Canadian rock band’s career, Jake Gold is returning to the position after a 17-year absence.
Gold, the president and CEO of Toronto-based The Management Trust, said his return was finalized Monday. He has since been busy getting up to speed while looking ahead to a variety of potential Hip projects.
“I think of it as this is like the Beatles of Canada,” Gold said Wednesday. “You have this massive amount of catalogue. There’s tons of unreleased tracks, there’s videos, there’s footage, there’s just a lot of stuff and there’s a lot to do.
“This is where you can get really creative.”
Gold started working with the Hip in 1986 and managed the band as it built a strong following thanks to a stream of rock radio hits and classic albums like ”Up to Here,” “Road Apples” and “Fully Completely.”
The five band members: singer Gord Downie, drummer Johnny Fay, bassist Gord Sinclair and guitarists Paul Langlois and Rob Baker, quickly moved from clubs and theatres to sold-out arenas. The Hip went on to become one of the biggest bands in the country.
Gold’s first run as manager lasted until 2003. The Hip continued to release albums and tour regularly until 2016, the year that Downie’s terminal cancer diagnosis became public.
The Hip had one final tour that summer and capped it with a hometown show in Kingston, Ont. Downie died the following year.
Gold, 62, succeeds co-managers Bernie Breen and Patrick Sambrook, who spent the last 15 years with the band. The former “Canadian Idol” judge will also be working with the Downie family on the late singer’s unreleased solo material.
“In the words of Peaches and Herb, ‘We’re reunited and it feels so good,’” the band said in a statement. “We are all very happy to be back working with our original dance partner and architect, Jake Gold and The Management Trust.”
Downie’s brother, Patrick, also issued a statement.
“The Downie family is very happy to be reuniting with Jake. We see no better person to serve the legacy and future works of Gord Downie and of The Tragically Hip. We are truly excited for everyone, especially for the fans.”
Under Gold’s management, the Hip also released hit studio albums ”Day for Night,” “Trouble at the Henhouse,” and “Phantom Power,” during a remarkable 1990s run that locked in their status as Canadian music heavyweights.
“I think in a lot of ways it’s pretty obvious for me,” Gold said of his return. “You know, it’s part of my legacy. So when I heard that the former managers resigned, I was like, ‘There’s only one guy that should be taking this over.’
“I went to the guys and I said, ‘It should be me.’”
A voicemail message left with Bernie Breen Management was not immediately returned.
Gold, who said he always stayed in touch with the band members and attended several shows on the final tour, described his current duties as an “archaeological dig.”
“There’s a lot of getting up to speed and at the same time trying to keep things moving forward too,” he said.
The Hip have issued new vinyl editions of older records and released commemorative re-issues over the last few years.
Gold said one of his immediate special projects will be seeing what can be discovered for the 30th anniversary of “Road Apples” in 2021. He added there is a lot of unique content from the sessions for that album and throughout the band’s career.
“Johnny and I were going through a lot of it last night,” Gold said. “Even we’re discovering stuff. To put a number on (the recordings) I think would be unfair right now.
“There’s also a lot of different versions where they demoed the song four different times and then it finally made it on a record, or they demoed it five different times and it never made it on a record.”
Sinclair, whose debut solo album “Taxi Dancers,” came out in February, recently released a new version of a popular Hip bootleg track “Get Back Again” as a charity single.
It’s just one example of an unreleased Hip tune that may be considered for a potential fresh release in the future.
“We certainly did a demo version of it. And it is kicking around somewhere, we just haven’t been able to find the actual version of it,” Sinclair said in a recent interview. “So it does exist. It would be great to revisit a lot of that old Hip stuff that never saw the light of day. There’s quite a bit of it.”
Gold said there’s much more than just music to be explored. He added the amount of Hip memorabilia — old photos, posters, T-shirts and the like — is significant.
“The stuff I love to do is to get creative and work with the guys,” Gold said. “You can do a lot of things, especially with their catalogue. Their catalogue is cemented in the Canadian fabric.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2020.