ERIC'S TRIP INTERVIEW ARCHIVE March 14, 1996 - Moncton, New Brunswick

Gene Kosowan
Chris Thompson
Publisher Title Transcript
The Vue Weekly Issue 24 Blue Trip for Substers Yes

One gets the feeling being in the first Canuck band ever signed to Sub Pop, the label credited most with unleashing the grunge movemnt onto the unsuspecting mainstream in the early '90s, isn't going to leave much of an aftertaste in the annals of Canadian pop trivia.

For openers, grunge's groundswell died when Kurt Cobain, the volatile leader of plaid pioneers Nirvana and Sub Pop's one-time meal ticket, killed imself a year after the Seattle-based record company inked a deal with an unknown Moncton, N.B. band in 1993.

Somehow after that, being on Sub Pop didn't seem so cool anymore, despite sharing a roster with ex-Galaxie 500 alt-rockers Damon and Naomi and swillbilly rednecks The Reverend Horton Heat.

But for Eric's Trip guitarist Chris Thompson, any pandemonium surrounding his group scoring that contract would have been lost on him anyway.

He's grateful the band can still get its van gassed up everytime the road beckons. And then there's something called artistic freedom as an extra incentive.

"We're just happy that someone wanted to put our records out," said Thompson on the phone from his Atlantic home. "As long as we can do it our own way."

That means no big-shot producers trying to scrape the fuzz away from the band's low-fi, sappy sludge. Or ditching the occasional acoustic number that would be at home with any Rankin Family hootenanny.

That sonic combination can be heard on Purple Blue, the band's latest CD and third full-length recording for Sub Pop. Aside from the wonky, ethereal four-part intro, the bulk of the recording is pure buzz-saw hooks complemented by spaced-out vocals courtesy of Thompson, bassist Julie Doiron, and guitarist Rick White accompanied by solid polyrthmics by drummer Mark Gaudet.

For Purple Blue, Eric's Trip decided to use producer Bob Weston (Superchunk, Drive Like Jehu) in a larger studio instead of recording it themselves in their own eight-track facilities.

"We wanted to make it sound like we were playing on stage," said Thompson. "The other records that we did we kind of pieced together as we went along. It was really fast. We were ready to start recording in an hour. We set up everything really fast."

So far, the only other "fast" experience of late was a tour with the Tragically Hip last summer. And ironically, the Maritime iconoclasts got along amazingly well with the flamboyant Kingston rockers.

"They were really nice," recalled Thompson. "We were one of their favourite bands, I guess. They're all pretty shy people like us, so it was kind of nice not to have rock stars around."

To keep their heads straight, Thompson and the rest of the band have their own side projects going. Thompson plays in Moon Socket, while White tinkers with Elevator to Hell. Doiron passes time with Broken Girl and Gaudet bangs the skins in Purple Knight.

So far, these extracurricular activities haven't jeopardized the cohesiveness of Eric's Trip.

"It helps with the momentum actually", said Thompson, although their label was alarmed when an Elevator To Hell recording sold 1,000 copies the moment it was released.

"They were worried that the Elevator To Hell record would be better than the Eric's Trip record."

Touring would normally remedy that sales situation, but those plans are out of the question for now. Doiron recently went the domestic route by having a baby and getting married. She also has to complete a university term before any notions of hitting the road are entertained. White also tied the knot recently and is adjusting to his change in lifestyle.

Just the same, staying put in Moncton suits Thompson just fine.

"It's so cold and snowy, we'd probably get killed on the road", he said.

© Gene Kosowan, 1996