Back in the game, knowing the rules

If success is sweeter the second time around, it doesn’t come without some barbs, the veteran rockers of Crash Karma are finding.

Crash Karma is made up of rock veterans who know how the music industry works.

Crash Karma is made up of rock veterans who know how the music industry works.

If success is sweeter the second time around, it doesn’t come without some barbs, the veteran rockers of Crash Karma are finding.

The Canadian “supergroup” made up of Edwin, former lead singer of I Mother Earth, Mike Turner, one-time guitarist for Our Lady Peace, Jeff Burrows, ex-drummer for The Tea Party, and lesser-known bassist Amir Epstein, formerly of Zygote, just released its first CD.

But Crash Karma’s first single, Awake, is already a Top-10 radio hit — and has been for the past 20 weeks.

Burrows, who’s embarked on a Western tour with the band that stops on Thursday at Wild Bill’s Sports Bar in Red Deer, said he can’t stop smiling about “this second kick at the can. . . .

“We all went into this with our eyes wide open, and we’re all feeling very blessed and fortunate.”

At the same time, he’s feeling somewhat miffed that the band has taken a few below-the-belt shots from music critics for being too old and “too ’90s” to be relevant.

“I don’t know why some journalists have to do that,” said Burrows of the media trend of trashing celebrities it once built up.

Instead of focusing on the fact that Crash Karma members are now middle aged — Burrows is a 41-year-old married dad with three sons instead of a 20- or 30-something musician — he wants reviewers to constructively judge the band’s music.

“Don’t pick on someone’s looks or whether they were in a band from the ’90s. . . . ”

Of course, most fans don’t care what reviewers think — consider the Nickelback phenomenon — and Burrows believes most bands get beyond caring, too.

He noted Edwin already doesn’t read what’s written about him because one trash-talking comment will negate 20 positive ones — it’s human nature to be self-critical.

But, by and large, Burrows believes playing with Crash Karma has been a positive experience — made the more so by the band’s own laid-back attitude.

“So far, everyone’s been keeping their head on straight and there are no egos. Everybody’s been pretty cool.”

This time around, there were no heavy expectations, he added. “We took our time to nurture (the CD), there was no rush because we had no record deal, no management — we didn’t even have an agent.”

All that stuff came together gradually over the last two years — Crash Karma is now represented by the world’s biggest Independent label, E1 Entertainment, the company that put out the Twilight films.

Six months ago Awake started climbing the charts. And it’s been near the top for so long that radio stations have been reluctant to accept a second single from the band until the first has run its course, said Burrows.

“I guess it’s a good problem for a band to have. . . .”

Crash Karma formed in 2008 after Epstein, a prolific music writer, got together with Edwin to write some songs. Epstein soon began a single-minded quest to make his dream band happen by recruiting Edwin, Turner and Burrows to play with him.

A couple of months into the new project, Edwin realized “we really did have something here. I could identify elements of all four of our previous bands, but they were uniquely gelling to form a new sound.”

Burrows describes Crash Karma’s CD as being “a very melodic, orchestral, powerful rock record.”

Of all the songs, he particularly likes Energy. “Musically, its a little more dark . . . but it’s universally themed about who am I? Where am I going?

“It’s about being middle aged and realizing that you have an awesome life. You’re feeling the energy, feeling the earth beneath your feet . . . and you’re realizing you can make a difference.”

Tickets to Crash Karma at Wild Bill’s Sports Bar at the North Hill Inn are $17 in advance or $22 at the door. Doors open at 8 p.m.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com