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The Tragically Hip Biography

thehip5Over the course of its career, The Tragically Hip has forged the sort of potent creative chemistry that can only be achieved through time and experience. “We’ve always felt that the strength of the group is that it is a group,” says bassist Gord Sinclair, “and it’s increasingly rare that bands are given the time to develop the kind of working relationship that we have. That’s allowed us to create an atmosphere where all five guys can feel like they have an equal voice in what’s going down, rather than relying on one or two songwriters, and that allows us to avoid repeating ourselves.

“We’ve developed a great system,” Sinclair continues, “where we all write on our own, and then we sit down together and each guy throws out ideas knowing that someone else is going to have something to complement them. That’s a great environment to work in, and it really frees us up and allows us each to concentrate on our strengths. No one’s wrapped up in the covetous your song/my song approach.”

It’s in the live arena that The Tragically Hip first built its reputation as a band to be reckoned with, and the group’s stage performances continue to be a rallying point for its impressively devoted fan base. A recent headlining gig at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom prompted The Village Voice to note, “Their live rep is on par with ‘70s Springsteen.”

Personally I need to be different every night and I need to figure out a way to reinvent it every night,” Downie says of The Tragically Hip live experience. “I think that creates an explanation for the fans, that it’s worth the effort to come to more than one of our shows.”

“We’re a collective, and everything we do is a reflection of the five of us,” concludes Downie. “A lot of it’s unspoken, and that has a lot to do with having been together for fifteen years. All of our decisions are basically built around that, and everything flows from that.” Over the course of its career, The Tragically Hip has forged the sort of potent creative chemistry that can only be achieved through time and experience. “We’ve always felt that the strength of the group is that it is a group,” says bassist Gord Sinclair, “and it’s increasingly rare that bands are given the time to develop the kind of working relationship that we have. That’s allowed us to create an atmosphere where all five guys can feel like they have an equal voice in what’s going down, rather than relying on one or two songwriters, and that allows us to avoid repeating ourselves.

“We’ve developed a great system,” Sinclair continues, “where we all write on our own, and then we sit down together and each guy throws out ideas knowing that someone else is going to have something to complement them. That’s a great environment to work in, and it really frees us up and allows us each to concentrate on our strengths. No one’s wrapped up in the covetous your song/my song approach.”

It’s in the live arena that The Tragically Hip first built its reputation as a band to be reckoned with, and the group’s stage performances continue to be a rallying point for its impressively devoted fan base. A recent headlining gig at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom prompted The Village Voice to note, “Their live rep is on par with ‘70s Springsteen.”

Personally I need to be different every night and I need to figure out a way to reinvent it every night,” Downie says of The Tragically Hip live experience. “I think that creates an explanation for the fans, that it’s worth the effort to come to more than one of our shows.”

“We’re a collective, and everything we do is a reflection of the five of us,” concludes Downie. “A lot of it’s unspoken, and that has a lot to do with having been together for fifteen years. All of our decisions are basically built around that, and everything flows from that.”