Canadian industrial-infused rock band Econoline Crush will be performing at the Cranbrook Hotel on June 11. Originally formed in 1992 and best known for their platinum-selling album “The Devil You Know”, which features two of their biggest hits “Sparkle & Shine” and “All That You Are”, the band is now touring for their forthcoming record: “When The Devil Drives.”
Lead singer, band founder and only remaining original member Trevor Hurst said that fans can expect to hear the new stuff, including new single “No Quitter,” plus at least a song or two from every album they’ve ever recorded, all the way back to their debut EP: 1994’s “The Purge.”
Hurst said he’s “happy to report” that fans have come up to him after gigs on the tour, which kicked off in Powell River on June 1, and said the band sounds just as good as it did when they saw them back in the ’90s.
Hurst said this is because, whether it’s playing hockey or playing music, he’s never been one to phone it in.
“It has to be everything I’ve got,” Hurst said in a phone interview with the Kimberley Bulletin.
“Now, I’m not 20 anymore, but it goes as hard as we can make it go, it goes as fast as we can make it go and it’s as slamming as we can make it be, because that’s who we are as a band. This band was never about subtly giving you the message, it was about hitting you over the head and being really, really, really in your face and we still are.
“I take a lot of pride in that.”
Much has changed in the three decades since Econoline Crush was formed, in the music industry, in the world and in Hurst’s life.
“You worried about what was cool back then, or you wanted to be cool,” he said. “Now I want to be authentic.”
In the early ’90s Hurst moved to Vancouver from Manitoba with a band called One Big Union, which then got management with Harris Music Group out of Seattle, where the grunge scene was beginning to flourish.
“When one Big Union broke up, I tried to form a band down there, but it was the height of that whole grunge scene and it was insane,” Hurst recalled. “I would put and ad in the paper: guitar player wanted, and you’d get guys from Atlanta, from Boston, Long Island — there was nobody from Seattle because all the musicians in America moved there en masse to take part in this scene that was just exploding.”
That’s when he saw an ad in a local zine from a guy named Tom Ferris from the band Moev in Vancouver looking for a singer, with influences including industrial heavyweight bands Ministry and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult.
Hurst moved back up to Vancouver, but when Ferris said he didn’t want to tour, Hurst asked him if he could take the band and run with it, and Econoline Crush continued with Ferris’ blessing.
The bad soon signed with EMI Music Canada and released their first full-length album “Affliction” in 1995, followed by the “The Devil You Know” in 1997.
They released two more records in 2001 and 2008 and a best-of compilation in 2010.
In 2011 at age 45, with four kids and feeling nervous about the future, Hurst went back to school at Brandon University and got a nursing degree.
When his mother passed away, Hurst was not only struggling with grief, but also with navigating the policies of the local health authority. This is when a friend approached him with a new opportunity: working as a psychiatric nurse in the Dakota First Nation’s community of Canupawakpa in south-west Manitoba.
Hurst said he learned a great deal from this experience, not least of all from when he was approached by a nurse practitioner he worked with there, who checked in with him to see how he was dealing with the stress of the work, which he said was “heavy.”
When he asked what she did to cope with the stress, she said that after she tried drinking and that didn’t work out, she got into the culture and the community invited her to participate. She invited Hurst to a sweat, which he started attending and said were a “life-changing experience.”
During one sweat, he recalls asking his mother if he was doing the right thing in life and feeling a finger going up his back, and hearing a herd of buffalo go past at another, but checking the snow afterwards to find it untouched.
“There’s something and you can feel it,” he said. “And when you sweat it’s like, man you could walk through a fire fight and you know you’re not getting hit. It’s nuts, but you are invincible when you come out of there.”
Perhaps the most important lesson he took from his experience with the Dakota was when he was grappling with leaving his position to get back to music.
“An Elder had said to me, ‘We love you here working in the community, working with our people, but you were given a gift. For you to just not honour that gift from the Creator of singing and being somewhat entertaining, what the hell!’”
Hurst added the job of an artist is not to “carry the football over the goal line and score a touchdown.”
“Your job is to do what you do and do it really well and then you can move that stick one inch closer to the source and if we all did our damn job we could get the stick to the source, we could get to one, we could be the one.”
A documentary entitled “Flatlander” about his time in Canupawakpa is in the works.
As well as losing his mother and then father, Hurst’s long-time friend and guitar player David “Ziggy” Sigmund passed away in March of 2022.
He and Ziggy had written songs together for the new record, which he says are now both difficult and comforting to hear and perform.
“I know he’s happy, he’s just giddy about these shows because that’s the thing he loved the most,” Hurst said. “And so I look over some nights to my right and I imagine his face and him looking at me what he used to call his free-form freakout, when he would just kind of lose it on stage. I look over and I can almost see him there and it’s great.”
Since he was a kid, Hurst said he’s always been someone who’s connected to their feelings and especially since doing sweats and discovering a new spirituality, Hurst has moments on stage where he said he’ll have moments of profound connection with members of the audience.
“I’ll catch a vibe from people in the audience and instead of pushing it away, I go right into it and I let that ache and that grief, I feel it and I let it happen because that’s part of my role,” he said.
He added that when bands start out, the dream is always to be the biggest band in the world, to get on the cover of the Rolling Stone. He said that the desire for success never goes away, but he understands his gift and his purpose now more than ever.
“It’s a really intense experience for some people, some of these songs, and for me, the ability to communicate and transcend somehow with the music — that process, that feeling is reward enough, I’m just grateful that I can bring that, I’m grateful that for 75 to 90 minutes I’m a distraction.
“The bills aren’t in somebody’s face, the damn squeaky CV joint on the minivan isn’t bugging them, they have a moment of peace, or exhilaration. It’s just one millimetre towards the source, I’m doing my little part and I like that role and I used to think that maybe wasn’t enough, but I realize now that it’s more than enough, it’s a gift and it’s a beautiful thing.”
You can find tickets for Econoline Crush at the Cranbrook Hotel on Sunday, Jun. 11 here: econolinecrushmusic.com/