By Dave Mahalik and Nigel Kearns
We were sitting in the house staring at the TV. The rented Sony Playstation was blowing our minds. It was the same TV we gathered around a year ago to watch the 1995 much music video awards, just to see if they would show up. “And good drugs,” Ian Blurton said introducing sunfish’s “difference” as indy video of the year. We were dazed. Eddie Woodsworth was home at the time and the TV didn’t seem real after that so we headed down to the blues jam at Daniel’s for a dose of reality.
The reality at the time was that sunfish was being recognized on national television, touring the country, and working on a tour of Australia. Then Mike came home without the rest of them at Christmastime. But things were okay, they told us, though the stories didn’t quite add up. They played here a few times with Stephen and things seemed okay. They were playing well, the new tunes were on par with the older stuff, and they were getting ready to record their next album. After a summer of pre-production and steady gigging, it was September; Stephen was gone back to Guelph for a visit, Tommy was in Antigonish and Scott was sitting with us, checking out the Sony Playstation. Then the phone rang.
“It kinda started after a month of writing and recording demos for what would be a new album,” Stephen explains in a phone interview a couple of weeks later. “I got back to the office where the record label is in Toronto and there were some concerns with what was going on with the band so I had a meeting with Matt Foulds and Bob Luhtala, who kind of act as management along with Joella Foulds, to see what was really going on. So we decided, let’s call Tommy and make sure we know what we were gonna do the next couple of weeks. We had a series of phone calls back and forth all night between everyone… between myself and Tommy, Matthew and Tommy and Joella and Matthew, etc. and we kinda came up with the decision that it was best that the band didn’t continue anymore.”
“Tommy took responsibility and tried to track down Scott Brown and get his feelings on it and then when I got a call back again I was told that the band was done with. I figured that we would take some time off anyway and figure out what we were gonna do and why we were gonna do it and it just sort of happened that things were finished.”
So what happened? “There was no big fight, no argument, it was nothing like that,” Scott says, to put an end to the rumours that are starting to fly.
“There’s some personal things,” according to Stephen. “It comes down to a matter of heart and feeling and it just wasn’t there as much as it was before. I don’t wanna blame anybody for anything but that’s kinda what happened out of a conversation with Tommy.”
There’s more involved in this process of paying dues as a band than meets the eye. “It’s not any one thing,” says Tommy, “it’s more like a collection of many things. The chemistry was gone. When we used to jam out tunes, we’d get excited about it, but this summer, things became a real effort. The thrill wasn’t there. A whole bunch of little things add up. It’s just too hard to put into words.”
Sunfish, as we know it now, is no more. That’s for the record. But dread not, something will come of this.