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The Hip hop on stage in Tempe

photo courtesy of richard beland
The Tragically Hip will triumphantly rock Tempe's Marquee Theater on Tuesday. Neither their old age nor their Canadian-ness will stop them.
By Djamila Noelle Grossman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 30, 2004
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Anyone who has listened to their newest album, In Between Evolution, has probably gotten a good impression of how The Tragically Hip might sound live. It is a step back in time for the Canadian rock band, who have been in the business for 15 years. Focusing on a raw, intense live sound, they tried to get back to the roots of the band, when they spent a great amount of time playing gigs before actually recording the music.

Despite their great live show, The Tragically Hip have never gained success in the states like they have in their homeland.

"We've never really been expecting huge success on that big commercial level down here. It would be nave to come out here and expect the breakthrough," bassist Gord Sinclair said. "Our band is really not set up to operate that way - we have a small, more independent-oriented record company."

After so many years, The Hip are still working on their style. Trying to come up with new ideas, they are far from reducing themselves to a certain sound.

If you go...

What: The Tragically Hip with Sam Roberts
Where: Marquee Theatre, Tempe
When: 8 p.m. Monday
All Ages

"We have played countless shows and the band has always undergone this process of evolution. I think that whole process of our career is spent to question and to refine our style," said Sinclair.

Singer and songwriter Gordon Downie has given the album a political and hopeful message, but did not focus on a main theme. Even though he writes the lyrics, all band members create their music together, influencing every aspect of the finalproduct.

"A lot of songs show who we are as people in a larger sense and also the hope of redemption in the end. A lot of that stuff is written from a very Canadian perspective. Like Canadian guys recording down in Seattle, watching CNN for a long time; you can't help being affected by it," said Sinclair.

The band never planned their success - most members were in college when they started and just stepped into it as a job upon graduation. They have been the same group since then. A factor, according to Sinclair, that makes them hip.

"Yeah, we're very hip. There's much more hipness than tragedy, that's for sure. I think we're a group of guys who've been friends for most of our lives, grew up together. We have been traveling the world, writing and performing music for people. If I look back, it's been great. We stepped from one project to the next, from one record to the next, one tour to the next. And here we find ourselves 15 years later and we're still together. It's pretty amazing," he said.

The Hip still enjoy being on tour and making music. They are working in a two-year schedule, allowing them to spend time with their families, to go on tour and put a new record out.

"We're at a stage where we wouldn't be doing this if we weren't finding it creatively satisfying and if we weren't having a lot of fun. It's an irresistible force to it to get out and perform your music in front of people. And it's really satisfying to play music with these guys after all those years. It's what drives us on," Sinclair said.

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