A big goodbye from the smalls 

WHO: the smalls, Farewell Tour

WHERE: The Boot

WHEN: Sunday, Aug. 26

One of Canada’s premier touring bands is calling it quits after 11 years, but not without one last party.

The smalls have gained a reputation as one of the hardest working bands on the road… a road that stretched as far as Europe, but one that just didn’t lead to the front door of major record labels.

Aside from the ups and downs of their career, the smalls couldn’t retire before saying goodbye to their fans and have hit the road again to reminisce and create a few lasting memories.

The announcement that the smalls had decided to disband came as a bit of a surprise this summer considering the Edmonton quartet had been making plans to relocate to Texas, a move they hoped would expose them to a wider audience. However, one member changed his mind, deciding the plan was not in his best interest.

"We did briefly discuss replacing him," says bassist Corby Lund. "But we’ve had the same guys for our entire run, so it was really difficult to imagine it any other way. And that’s not only personality-wise, but musically too. Our band is a little unique in that all four of us are really big parts of the creative process. We thought it would just be classier to retire."

Lund stresses there are no hard feelings between members. Of course the first few weeks of the goodbye tour have been a little sad as they begin to dissolve the band and the relationship with their audiences. After 11 years, the smalls had developed an extended family with their regular venues, recognizing the same faces each time they rolled into town. Whistler and The Boot are no exception, a venue Lund says has always been kind.

What hasn’t been so kind is the record industry. While the smalls have managed to sell over 25,000 of copies of their four independent releases, executive types just never seemed to catch on. What advice would the band offer up-and-coming musicians about record sales equalling a successful career?

"I’d have to agree with them," comments Lund honestly. "The fact that we didn’t all agree about Texas is the obvious reason for the split, but the underlying reason is that we’ve been doing this for so long with no help, the booking, the touring, the merchandise, the recording. After doing that every day for so long, it just became too much. We feel that we really haven’t moved forward in the last four or five years. Our last album was much better musically, and I’m really proud of it, but we’re not getting any bigger in Canada. You really need to feel like you’re growing or your career can stagnate."

So it’s time to bow out gracefully. The present two-month tour will keep fans happy from coast to coast. There’s also talk of a live recording from the road, including a session in Whistler, a thank you to the big fans who have supported the smalls.

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