By Alex HudsonThis summer, '80s folk rock favourites the Grapes of Wrath reunited for a handful of shows, marking the first time that founding members Kevin Kane, Tom Hooper and Chris Hooper had played together in 18 years. With several BC shows under their belts, the Canadian trio are now getting set to bring their poppy stylings to Ontario, booking a run of five shows that starts today (November 16) in Waterloo.
Speaking on the phone with Exclaim! while fumbling with Ikea furniture in his new Toronto home, Kane explains that the band's reunion hasn't been fraught with the same tension that first drove them apart in the early '90s. "There's certainly different levels of acrimony, and I guess [in the '90s] we were probably at Code Orange," the singer admits. "But coming into this, we just went, 'Let's just be positive about it.'"
Kane and Tom Hooper had played acoustic shows together in recent years. Reintroducing Chris into the fold, Kane says, was an easy adjustment. "Our first practice that we had, by the second song in, it was kind of hilarious how it totally sounded like we always sounded," he notes.
Fans have noticed the band's chemistry during recent performances as well. "Several people who had seen us back in the day said, 'I think you guys actually sounded better tonight than I remember you sounding,'" Kane says of fan reactions at recent reunion shows. "It's not like we're this reasonable facsimile of what we once were. We're actually pulling it off."
Response for the shows, the singer enthuses, has been overwhelmingly positive, and the veteran rockers have noted that their fanbase includes a younger generation of supporters, along with the old diehards. "When we're up on stage, the hair tends to get greyer as you look further back from the stage," Kane observes.
The response has been so positive that the members of the Grapes of Wrath might consider recording a new album. This would be their first since 2000's Field Trip (a record that didn't include Chris Hooper). "We never thought this [reunion] was going to happen, so we're certainly not about to say 'Oh, that'll never happen,'" Kane says of a new Grapes album.
While the upcoming shows won't include any new material, Kane hints that some of his latest songs might be a good fit for the Grapes of Wrath. "There's one that I got that I thought, 'Wow, this sounds like it would be a Grapes of Wrath song,'" he says."So who knows."
See the currently scheduled tour dates below. The band are already in the process of lining up festival shows for next summer, so expect more announcements from the Grapes of Wrath in the near future.
11/16 Waterloo, ON - Starlight 11/17 Hamilton, ON - This Ain't Hollywood 11/18 Ottawa, ON - Ritual Nightclub 11/19 Toronto, ON - The Horseshoe Tavern 11/20 London, ON - Call the Office