Edwin
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Edwin

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"Better Days"

Not long ago – after several alcoholic beverages – I came across the realization that, most of the time when I get speeding tickets, I have the same damn singer blaring out of the stereo in whatever car I happen to be in. What makes it worse is that I have the pleasure of calling said singer, one of my best friends!

I have just finished paying off his last album – Edwin and the Pressure – and now I hear my so called ‘friend’...uh, singer is coming out with a new album, strangely enough, called ‘Better Days’.
I am not that fond of funding Toronto’s finest all on my own, so I figured it was time for a little ‘sit-down’ with him so I can find out how much this album is going to cost me. There I was, all set to pounce into a barrage of questions about driving music, when ‘he’ answered them all with one sentence. “I’m a car guy,” he said.

‘He’, is of course, Edwin. Edwin is probably best known as the former front man for I Mother Earth. After leaving that band, Edwin has enjoyed success as a solo artist with some huge hits – like ‘Alive’ - on his debut solo album,' Another Spin Around the Sun.'

I’ve gotten two tickets to the song "And You" alone!

Once we tackled the ‘his-singing-and-my-driving’ issues, we moved onto other things- like who has the coolest car this week. There is no doubt that next to singing, cars, are his favourite subject to talk, and even write about – as you are about to find out first hand. In fact, over the years, I only found one or two press cars that could keep up with his heavily modified JBR Racing Porsche 911 turbo. One of the better music videos he ever made was for the aforementioned ‘And You’ track, which you can see for yourself at www.edwinonline.ca.

I’ll let him tell you how it came about (see, I told you he liked writing), – Eddie, take it away.

Thanks for the lovely introduction Russ. It's like a teenager blaming his drinking problem on Keith Richards - although I do know what you mean. The better the stereo in the car, the easier to ‘accidentally’ exceed the speed limit. The video for "And You" is about just that. The director, George Vale and I both shared a love for cars and music and wanted to create a fantasy scenario in a city landscape. Three individuals, a guy and two girls have the "need for speed", so they steal three Porsches and go for a thrill ride. The director wanted to use muscle cars but I wanted to rip around in a Turbo Porsche all day. It was great fun to make that video. The hard part was slowing down enough for the camera truck. The best part was taking people for rides, and seeing the expression on their faces when they felt that Turbo kick in.

Music helps you get into the zen of driving, and the car is a great place to listen to music, especially if you want to turn it up and sing along - unless your at a stoplight, then you can look pretty silly.

Thanks Edwin. Edwin doesn’t only do cars, he’s a bike dude too, doing some reviews on www.painkillerz.ca. I thought it was a bit of a strange mix, a singer/bike/car reviewer? “Hey maybe I should just sing my reviews, you might be on to something here,” Edwin said of the mix. “Seriously though, if someone asks you to drive a different late model car or motorcycle every week and just tell us what you think. You say, ‘yes’ thank you and see ya’ in a week.”

Okay, I had to ask you the typical car guy question. What’s you favourite car, and don’t use my line, The next one! “O.K. How about

"The Last One",” he said with a grin. “I used to think I had a favourite or two like an old Mustang Shelby GT or a 911 Turbo. However, there are so many great cars these days due to advanced technology and engineering refinements, it’s too hard to choose one favourite.”
So, the new album is with Linus Entertainment, and the single and video for “Right Here” is getting lots of airplay. The album seems to be in a slightly different style from what we are used to hearing from you. Will that make my ticket quota go up or down you think?

“Rusty, I've driven with you. Your ticket quota would not change much even if this record was full of children’s bedtime stories. This is a sonically wide sounding record with depth and dimension, covering many styles and musically enhanced by guest appearances by 'Alex Lifeson' and 'Thornley' along with a few other great players. If the question is ‘Does it Rock’ the answer is ‘Yes’”.

Well, that is great news…thanks.

As I sat and pondered the possible monetary loss that is about to befall me, he jumped on the latest BMW bike and he was gone, off to his next appointment (he has an album to promote you know). Watching the display of speed he used when leaving, reminded me that I’m not be the only one with a ‘singer’s curse’. In fact, I now understand he isn’t immune to the problem either. So, if you notice the number of potholes in Toronto going down over the next few months, rest assured at least two of us have ‘donated’ to the cause, all in the search for ‘better days’, or at least better roads to drive on – while listening to music of course! - By Russ Bond


Discography

Edwin - Better Days (2006)
Edwin - Edwin and The Pressure (2002)
Edwin - Another Spin Around The Sun (1999)

Photos

Bio

"You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it come true" – Richard Bach

‘I've always believed in that saying,’ says Edwin,’ and to make music was always my dream.’
Edwin’s third solo album, Better Days, is a positive, reflective album written while the platinum-selling singer-songwriter took a retreat from the spotlight - for almost four years, without recording or performing live. The time had an effect as Edwin emerged rejuvenated, and inspired to produce an album that is without a doubt the best work of his career. ‘I thought Better Days was a good title because I have gone through a pretty challenging series of events that hit home on every level,’ says Edwin.

Edwin put his heart and soul into this album, produced in Toronto by Jeff Dalziel and engineered by Denis Tougas, both of whom worked with the singer on his last album, 2002’s Edwin And The Pressure. The two actually co-wrote with Edwin the songs "Eyes of a Child" and “Better Days”, which was the last lyric Edwin wrote for the album. ‘I wanted to keep it positive. There’s so much negativity around all the time and I don’t need to contribute to it,’ Edwin says.

The past four years were tough, he admits, fraught with family problems, relationship problems — life problems. ‘Things everyone goes through at some point,’ Edwin says. ‘It’s not unique to me; it’s just that when it hits you, it can be overwhelming. ’While he dealt with them sometimes by strumming guitar and writing lyrics, not everything he wrote ended up as songs. In fact, the majority didn’t. 'It’s something you need to do to get it all out of your system, as opposed to paying a shrink $500 an hour,' he laughs. For every 10 pages of lyrics, he may use just two lines: ‘Other times, you write the whole song in 20 minutes.’

Better Days includes the requisite love or love-lost songs. The first single, an acoustic and piano-based “Right Here,” which is essentially about a ‘boy and girl in different worlds; girl doesn’t know boy exists,’ Edwin says succinctly. Another, “That’s A Lie,” reflects almost every relationship he’s been in, particularly the last. “You told me you were leaving and I said I didn’t mind/That’s a lie” is the key line. ‘That sums it up,’ says Edwin. ‘You play tough, but after she’s gone you feel a large part of yourself is missing.’

Two songs on Better Days — both stunning in their own way — are more specific and have the potential to make an enormous impact. “Never Over,” the lead track, is a unique, percussive, jangly rocker that was inspired by a childhood friend who ‘left this world too early’ when he was just 21. Edwin has long had closure, but wanted to write a thank you or a gift to that person, with whom he shared his first passion for music. “Eyes” on the other hand, is a beautiful, stirring piano-based ballad, sparse, angelic and mournful, that will touch any person who has lost a loved one.

Edwin knows the impact music can have and the solace it can provide. It has done that for him, but he loves hearing how his songs have affected his fans. From his first solo album, 1999’s Another Spin Around The Sun, the song “Alive,” — the single that really pushed sales beyond 150,000 copies in Canada and was played over the highlights of the closing Olympic ceremony on CBC Television— yielded a couple of “oh-wow” stories. ‘I got so many emails from fans with stories of how the song helped them deal with everything from the pain of losing friends or relatives to deciding not to take their own life and it was also played by many couples as their wedding song,’ says Edwin. ‘I was blown away when I read that I played a part in giving people strength to work through something with my music. It actually gave me the shivers. It made me think, “Wow music can be so powerful.” ‘

Edwin has devoted his whole life to making music, with the exception of his penchant for car racing and road trips. He was born in Toronto and started fronting rock bands when he was still in high school, belting out the likes of Queen, Led Zeppelin, U2, and Boston songs. He could even pull off Steve Perry in a Journey tribute. 'On a good day,' he laughs. He was one of many locals to do time in many cover bands also, but soon realized that original music was the way to go.

‘I packed up my bags and moved to Beverly Hills,’ he says. ‘All my friends did a collection and gave me money to survive down there. Was there for six months. Auditioned for 6000 bands.’ Or at least it seemed that many. He got a lot of offers, but realized the Sunset Strip vibe was more chicks and partying and he felt it should be "music first, and then we party," so he returned to Toronto to form his own band.

He ran through his mental Rolodex and decided to call the Tanna brothers who would form the core of I Mother Earth with him. Just as the band was starting to attract label interest from the U.S., Edwin was shot in the leg at a restaurant. ‘That really upgraded the image of