The Band. The Background. The Music. The Love.
come from from small rural towns of Alberta Canada
. Vocalist Mike Caldwell and bassist Corb Lund are from the town of Taber
. Guitarist Dug Bevans is from Leduc
and drummer Terry Johnson is from the northern Alberta
town of La Glace
The four attended Grant MacEwan Community College
, where Mike, Corby and Terry were taking classes in music, and Dug was taking art courses. They soon met and discovered shared influences
from many genres including speed metal
, classic rock
, and jazz
, soon after they formed "the smalls
they released their self-titled debut, followed in 1992
with the sophomore release, 'To Each A Zone
's very successful 'Waste & Tragedy
', and have now released their much-anticipated fourth album 'My Dear Little Angle
'. The Smalls
sound cannot be simply classified as fast
, or heavy
, (which they certainly are) because they play with a musical discipline
and style that includes jazz
, and many other influences. As the members of The Smalls
grew so did their music.
This is the first smalls album, it was originally released in 1990
on cassette and re-released and then remastered in 1993 with three extra songs, Controlling Melanie, Two Pigs In A Gunny Sack, and Toughest Times. All songs produced by the smalls,except for the three newer songs which were produced by Cecil English
and assisted by Ken Mcdonald
To Each A Zone
This is the second record made by the smalls, and what a record it is. Marked by incredible songs such as On The Warpath, Horse Thief, and There's No Question, the album is opened the powerful song that has become a Smalls classic, Payload. This album features improved production quality by Cecil English
Waste & Tragedy
This album has what fans have always wanted, possibly the strongest line-up of songs to date along with absolutely invincible sound quality, thanks to the efforts of producer Joel Van Dyke
. All the songs on this album are pure Smalls such as, Never Be Ready, and the riveting Easter, to the beautifully written title track Waste and Tragedy.
My Dear Little Angle
The long awaited fourth album from the smalls had finally been released. With producer Glenn Robinson
- (Tori Amos
, Tea Party
) The Smalls have made the best album of their nine year career. With a greater diversity than previous albums and sound quality second to none, the smalls are poised to celebrate their most successful album yet. Songs to look for: My Dear Little Angle, Fistfull of Powder, Tell us About it. They also do a surprising cover of 'Natural Woman
That's all, Smalls!
By MIKE ROSS
The Edmonton Sun
Friday, October 19, 2001
Expect a lot of tears over a rock band at Red's
tomorrow night. You don't see that every day.
Of course, the Smalls aren't just any rock band and this isn't any ordinary gig. They're Edmonton
's own beloved underground rock gods
, and after 11 years going hard they're calling it quits
. The end
. See ya
. Tomorrow will be the last show ever (at least untill the 2010 reunion tour). Farewell
. Are we fairly clear on this?
There may be fans who take it personally. "How dare they break up our favourite band? What are we going to do now? Wait for welcome to get it's act together?
No hard feelings, says drummer Terry Johnson
"Thanks for everything
," he says. "It was a good run. The fans supported us. We worked hard to get our fans and they gave it back to us. We walk away without any bad feelings - maybe towards the music buisness in some ways, but were not a bitter bunch of guys. We feel like we accomplished something".
At least they're going out on a high point. The band's latest album, Dear Little Angle
is supurb, including the errie lament My Sattlehorse Has Died
("and with him goes my pride/for without a charging steed beneith me/I can hardly call myself a knight") and laconic lead singer Mike Caldwell singing a power ballad version of Natural Woman.
Artistry wasen't the problem. Stagnation was, Johnson says.
The Smalls went as far as an unsigned band could go in Canada
- and there weren't to many record companies chomping at the bit to sign them (the one deal with Cargo Records ended in disaster). As a fiercely indipendant band from rural Alberta
whose unique skirted the boundaries between country
, The Smalls weren't tempting from a marketing point of view. Not exactly the next Moffatts
(who may also be on the verge of breaking up, speaking of tears for a rock band; what is this world coming to?).
The Smalls just weren't "safe" enough, Johnson says. "We couldn't be pigeon-holed into one type of music, so I think they were scared. They never took our past sucesses into account."
And they did it all themselves for nearly 12 years, selling thousands of their self produced recordings and tourin every small town in Canada
where a venue could be found. The reward was some of the most loyal fans you'll ever see. And once The Smalls hit that ceiling, there were big complications - bassist Corb Lund
started to see comparable success with his psychobilly country solo project, although no one in The Smalls will admit this was a factor in the breakup. Johnson, in fact, plays drums for the Corb Lund Band
, filling in for Ryan Vikedal
, who's on tour with Nickelback
"Corby always put The Smalls fiirst," Johnson says. "But there was some talk about it. What if he got a real big hit single, a record deal, out of the blue? You never know in this business."
Like ... how long till the reunion? Guitarist Dug Bevans
is off to school and/or India
. Caldwell's got a "money gig
" in a local counrty band called the Whiskey Boys. It seems a shame to see one of Edmonton's finest rock bands ride off into the sunset.
"It's pretty final," Johnson says, but adds as a consolation, "Buy the next 10 greatest hits albums."
Tomorrow's concert is sold out.
Writer's note, the last show rocked!!!!