Getting back together is extra sweet when there’s no nasty break-up to get over.
Like the good friends they are, members of Canadian band Moist immediately found common ground when they reunited in 2013 after spending years working on solo projects.
“It’s like we were never apart,” said guitarist Mark Makoway, who performs with the reformed band on Saturday, July 23, at Red Deer’s Westerner Days along with special guest USS.
The Vancouver-based group that ruled the Canadian charts for much of the 1990s with songs such as Breathe, Push and Silver, had taken a break after former drummer Paul Wilcox left in 2000 due to back problems. Everyone was exhausted by that point from constant touring, recalled Makoway.
“We had gone from one thing, to the next thing, to the next thing. It never stopped… and it was finally time to take a breath.”
But time away from the band gradually became a 12-year hiatus.
Makoway, who started producing other people’s music (Great Big Sea, Sarah Slean) during this period, explained,“We were talking about playing together for years,” but for various reasons it never materialized. “Then suddenly, it came together really fast.”
Moist is now made up of three original members: Makoway, as well as singer David Usher (who had made some solo albums in the interim), and keyboardist Kevin Young, who had been touring with Usher. As well, there’s new bassist, Louis Lalancette, who’s taken over from Jeff Pearce, who bowed out of the reunited band for family reasons, and new drummer Francis Fillion. Also on board as guitarist is Jonathan Gallivan, who co-produced some of Usher’s solo material.
The mix of new and original musicians gelled so well original music poured out of their jam sessions. The tunes, including Black Roses and Comes the Sun, were rolled into a well received 2014 album, Glory Under Dangerous Skies, which led to the band signing a new deal with Universal Music Canada.
Makoway admitted many changes have transpired in the world (and the music industry) over the last decade, but he believes his the group members are focusing on positive developments, such as YouTube opportunities, over negatives ones, such as slower CD sales.
“For all the bad things there are also some excellent things,” added the guitarist, who feels this common theme runs through the new album: “Let’s find a light in the darkness.”
God is in the White Rice is a tune about recognizing the divine in the mundane. “The meaning of life, the beauty of life, is in everything,” said Makoway. Despite the philosophical message, Glory is more of a rock album than the group’s previous one, the introspective Mercedes 5 and Dime.
The musicians wrote all the tracks collectively. “You never know where the ideas are going to come from,” added the guitarist. “We all put our two cents into it.”
Makoway, now in his 50th year, feels more appreciative of everything that comes with the touring process. “Put a group of musicians together on a tour bus and it’s surprisingly similar to how it’s always been… We have the same in-jokes, there’s the same quirky vibe…”
If there’s one difference between then and now, he said, “Everybody’s more chilled out. Everybody has more perspective and is more relaxed.”
The Centrium show is free with gate admission to Westerner Days. Rush seating. Doors open at 7 p.m., concert at 8 p.m.