The buzz around Canadian Music Week is starting to approach a fever pitch — Billy Talent will receive the Legends of Live Special Achievement Award on May 11 in recognition of their enduring career.
Other bands to receive this distinction? Blue Rodeo and the Hip. Safe to say the band is in damn good company as they mark their 25th year together.
(Good lord — they’ve been together 25 years?!?!)
“We are incredibly honoured to be the recipients of the 2018 Legends of the Live Special Achievement Award. We’ve always prided ourselves on our live shows and to be acknowledged for it is something we don’t take lightly,” says the band, led by singer Ben Kowalewicz. They thank longtime managers and representatives Ralph James and Lorraine Webb with APA “as well as to CMW for this heartfelt honour and for their continued support over the years. Their efforts in encouraging, embracing and enabling this wonderful, special and diverse community is what allows the Canadian music scene to grow and thrive.”
The award will be presented during the third annual Live Music Industry Awards as part of CMW, inside the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel on Friday, May 11. Tickets are available here.
The band’s first self-titled album was released in 2003 but, as fans of the Ongoing History of New Music might recall, they used to perform as Pezz starting in 1993, working their way from Mississauga, Ont., to slightly bigger venues on their way to selling more than a million albums in Canada and finding rabid fans across Europe.
The guys met at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Secondary and stayed together without a single lineup change, although right now drummer Aaron Solowoniuk is sidelined as he battles MS.
In 2001, the band came above ground with the successful release of that self-titled album, featuring “Try Honesty” and “River Below.”
With 2016’s “Afraid of Heights,” the band enjoyed their fourth consecutive album to debut at number one on the Canadian charts. When Guns ‘N’ Roses made their first stop in Toronto on their “Not In This Lifetime” tour in July 2016, Billy Talent warmed up the crowd.
“Billy Talent’s ongoing success is something that we can all admire as they are known for their endless tours and multi-platinum selling records,” says Neill Dixon, CMW’s president in announcing the award. “We extend our sincerest congratulations to the band on everything they’ve achieved over the past 25 years and look forward to acknowledging them at the third annual Live Music Industry Awards.”
CMW will take over Toronto venues from May 7 through 13. Yes, it’s later than normal. Yes, the concert lineup will be frantic and worth losing sleep over. (C’mon. Look at who’s already been confirmed and tell me it’s not worth it.) No, it’s not fully formed yet.
One of these years, I’ll take a week off and go venue hopping, living off caffeine and adrenaline to spend seven glorious days hanging out with musicians and other similarly bonkers fans. Some day….
Until then, here’s one of my favourites: