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2012-06-09 at 15:42

Banding together

By Jodi Lundmark,
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The Cowboy Junkies are celebrating their 25th year together by doing the same old thing.

“It’s odd when you think about it but we’ve been friends and all known each other longer than that,” said Alan Anton, the bassist for the Toronto-based band.

The Cowboy Junkies were formed in the late 1980s from siblings Margo, Michael and Peter Timmins along with Anton who had played with Michael Timmins in a couple of bands before the Junkies came together.

Probably best known for their 1989 cover of the Velvet Underground’s hit Sweet Jane, featured on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack, the Cowboy Junkies aren’t making a big deal of their silver anniversary.

Instead, they are doing what they do best – making music and touring.

“It’s something we always wanted to do and still love doing so as long as that is still there, we don’t really think about how long we’re going,” said Anton.

Anton wonders if they’ll ever stop because it’s become a part of what their lives are about.

“We just keep asking ourselves every couple of years and look to see if it’s working still and we want to do it. The answer hasn’t been no yet,” he added.

While Anton might seem like the odd man out amongst the Timmins’ siblings, he’s known them all since kindergarten and feels like part of the family.

“Mike and I had a couple of bands before this one that didn’t include the other two, so I’ve still got some seniority going in the band,” he said with a laugh.

When the Junkies head out on tour this week, they’ll be promoting their latest four album Nomad series.

The four albums – Renmin Park, Demons, Sing in My Meadow and Wilderness – were produced during an 18-month period. The last installment, Wilderness, was just released this spring.

The idea for the series came when the group got together, ready to make another record.

“We had a lot of songs and so we were throwing out ideas of doing a double album, doing two separate albums. It sort of evolved into just thinking about a series of music that would be slightly different and each album would contain a different concept or sound,” Anton said.

Completing the series in just 18 months was a challenge, but making the announcement public kept them on track to reach that goal.

In the series, now available as a complete box set, Anton said the album that sounds most like a Cowboy Junkies’ record is Wilderness.
“People who are familiar with us will be most comfortable with that one,” he said.

With almost two straight years in the studio, the band is looking forward to hitting the road, which includes several shows opening for John Mellencamp.

Anton said the Junkies have been big fans of Mellencamp, particularly his more folksy records from the late ’80s.

“We’re really happy to have been asked to do this and looking forward to it,” he said.

The Cowboy Junkies open for John Mellencamp in Thunder Bay at the Fort William Gardens on June 26.

On Twitter: @JodiL_reporter

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