Edwin’s Pressure rises 

Who: Edwin & the Pressure

Where: Merlin’s

When: Sunday, Feb. 2

It’s a jungle out there in the dark and dense world of mainstream music. It seems like these days any monkey with a microphone can throw on a backing CD, producing platinum hit after hit. Thank the Rock Gods though that bands like Edwin and the Pressure keep those who like their music with instruments and interactive energy inspired. For a fraction of the cost of some pop princess’s wardrobe, there’s still loads of talent out there that gets on the tour bus and heads across the country to a town like ours.

Edwin, from both solo and I Mother Earth fame, has been on the road for quite a few weeks promoting his new outfit, Edwin & the Pressure and their self-titled debut album. From Calgary to the Commodore Ballroom, Edwin is wowing the fans, old and new. And yet airplay? Fuggedaboutit! Ho hum, harsh reality.

Far be it for these boys to give two seconds thought to it though. Travelling across the Rockies on their way to Whistler from Banff, Edwin was only too happy to have a chat about the state of the industry, the new band and what keeps him going.

"Y’know, it’s frustrating not to get loads of radio rotation but we know that after we do a show we’ve still won the war. Even the people who were on the fence about us when they walked in, usually walk out with a smile on their face and that’s the most rewarding thing," said Edwin.

"I can honestly say that right now I think I have the best band I’ve ever had. It’s really encouraging to go up on stage and play with a group that is totally solid. I’m loving it," said Edwin.

"Yeah, yeah, whatever," I rebuffed.

"No, seriously, it’s kind of rare for everyone to get along – but it’s true."

He sounded convincing.

I guess the blonde and buffed performer should know a thing or two about bands. As part of one of Canada’s most successful rock ’n’ roll super groups, it was a shock to fans around the country when Edwin split at the height of the band’s fame in the mid-90s. After two albums and countless sold-out tours, Edwin just decided it was time to move on.

Edwin released his stunning solo debut in 1997, Another Spin Around The Sun . For two years he toured constantly, sweeping up numerous awards and accolades along his way. But something was missing. The bond and energy you get with being in a band could not be matched for Edwin, pressuring him to seek out his own dream team of musicians and back to the song-writing drawing board.

With the dawn of a new creation came Edwin & The Pressure, a group of solid professionals and a ripe-for-the-picking first album. The record cranks, captures his new band’s permeating strength and yet diversity, combining powerful riffs and beats with Edwin’s signature solid vocals. It’s an album Edwin and the Pressure are extremely proud of, but it’s the stage where it really matters.

"You really feel like you’re doing something for the people when you get yourself out there," he said. "Whether it’s 200 or 2000 people, it’s the expressions on the faces of the fans that gives you gratification.

"A studio album often means musicians play one at a time so there’s not that unification. You don’t see the fruits until it sits in someone’s stereo and even then I can’t feel it. Right now I’m very into the live aspect, the energy of the crowd and the camaraderie of the band members."

The Pressure are comprised of 2001 solo tour teammates, Ron Berchard on guitar and Kenny Cunningham on bass. Drummer Sekou Lumumba is renowned for his previous stints with Kardinal Offishall and Ivana Santilli, and guitarist Mike K comes fresh from a world-wide tour with Nelly Furtado. Their individual musical styles and personalities blend to form the hard-hitting new group so vital to deliver Edwin's new songs to the fans.

"As long as you leave the people who were at the show walking away feeling like they’re on a high and they’re going to go tell their friends about it then we’ve won the battle against the record business."

Tickets to see Edwin & the Pressure are $20 from Merlin’s or the GLC.

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