The Tragically Hip
with Special Guests Arkells
The Tragically Hip’s infectious songs, catchy melodies, inspired lyrics, and solid musicianship have secured their place as the kings of rock in Canada. Formed in the early ’80s in Kingston, Ontario, they are: Gordon Downie (vocals), Paul Langlois and Rob Baker (guitars), Gord Sinclair (bass) and Johnny Fay (drums).
The group met while at Kingston Collegiate Vocational Institute (KCVI) and all attended Queen’s University in Kingston. They started as a cover band playing Rolling Stones and Doors covers, and were first represented by a local Kingston agent named Bernie Dobson.
They were signed by MCA in 1987 when Bruce Dickinson saw them perform live at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, Ontario. Later that year they released the EP The Tragically Hip, though they were largely unrecognized until 1989’s Up to Here. Up To Here established them as one of the best and most influential bands in Canada. In 1992, they created the Another Roadside Attraction festival, which tours Canada to promote small, unknown bands.
The band is immensely popular in Canada. They have never found great success in the United States, but have never specifically sought it. When touring in Canada they typically play to sold-out arenas; when touring in the United States they will play smaller venues and clubs. Performances abroad are usually attended by Canadian expatriates. In Europe, the Hip have their greatest following in the Netherlands.
The band permit recordings of their performances, so an active trading community thrives. The tone and content of much of their music is a paean to the Canadian experience and touches on such themes as small-town life, geography, and hockey.
The Tragically Hip received a star on the Canadian Walk of Fame in 2002, and they were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the 2005 Juno Awards. They have performed at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, and played a three-song set at the worldwide broadcast Live 8 benefit concert on July 2nd, 2005 to help make poverty history for the poor African nations.