Lowest of the Low

Lowest of the Low


Ron Hawkins [vocals, guitars],
Lawrence Nichols [guitars, vocals, harmonica, keyboards],
David Alexander [drums],
Greg Smith [Bass],
Michael McKenzie [guitar/vocals]


Sonic Envy Music


It’s been six years since bassist Greg Smith (The Weakerthans) and guitarist/vocalist Michael McKenzie joined core members Ron Hawkins (vocals, guitars), Lawrence Nichols (guitars, vocals, harmonica, keyboards), and David Alexander (drums), and frontman/principal songwriter Hawkins couldn’t be happier at how this unit has gelled.“Not since the early days of The Low 1.0 has the band felt so tight as a unit, all cylinders firing in the same direction,” Hawkins stresses. “It is just a great hang. Everyone has the freedom to play what they want to play and arrange together, and in our regular Monday rehearsal sessions we are now writing songs together. We go, ‘let’s just fuck around and act like teenagers!’”

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The previous LOTL album, 2019’s Agitpop, was recorded at elite Toronto studio Union Sound with heavyweight producer David Bottrill (Peter Gabriel, Tool), but the band seized the recording reins this time around. Building upon the momentum of rehearsals at Green Door Studio, the intimate Toronto space run by John Critchley (13 Engines), The Low laid down bed tracks there, as well as at Red House (Michael McKenzie’s space) and Ron’s house. The engineering credits are shared by Critchley, Hawkins, McKenzie, and Nichols.

Ron notes that, “this is the first time we’ve really produced a record together, and I’m thrilled at the results. I feel this is the perfect blend of capturing the energy of the band on the floor then adding a sprinkling of beautiful touches, like the horns.” A judiciously-employed horn section of top local players dubbed The Legitimizers adds vivid colours to many of the album tunes.

LOTL built a faithful following and a very full dance card on the strength of their joyous live shows, where they perfected their mix of clever wordplay, razor-sharp hooks and airtight harmonies. In 1996, 2000 and again in 2005, Chart Magazine honoured LOTL’s 1991 landmark, platinum selling debut album, Shakespeare My Butt, with spots in the top 10 of the Top 100 Canadian Albums of All Time. The debut became the best-selling independent release in Canadian history at the time. In 2008, Lowest of the Low was inducted into the Canadian Indie Rock Hall of Fame.

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Photo credit: Russell Styles

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