Rockin’ the Square: Moist and 25 Years of Silver
Canadian alternative band Moist is celebrating the 25th anniversary of their landmark album Silver with a tour, which brings the band back to Kingston on Friday, Aug. 2 for a free concert in Springer Market Square as part of the annual Rockin’ the Square events.
Celebrating the quarter century anniversary of their hit debut album, I recently had a chance to speak with bassist Jeff Pearce about the signature album and what it was like to come back together for this tour. Pearce reflected on the early days of the band and how they were a very young and hungry group of musicians.
“We thought we had a bunch of really great songs and we knew we had a really great live show and we wanted to capture the live show as much as possible on the record,” Pearce said as he described how Silver was financed independently and it was only after the success of the first video that the major record labels showed interest. And recording the album was no easy task.
“The first batch of recordings we did, we snuck into a friend’s jingle studio, and over the course of a weekend we recorded nine songs, five of which ended up on Silver,” Pearce said. For him and his five bandmates (Jonathan Gallivan on guitar, Mark Makoway on lead guitar, David Usher on lead vocals, and Kevin Young on keyboards. Drummer Paul Wilcox left the band in 2000 and was replaced by Francis Fillion), “Silver was a labor of love”.
As the album hits its silver anniversary this year, Pearce went on to describe what it was like to look back at the album. Mentioning that this was one of the few times when the band went back and listened to the full album, “There are some songs that we are revisiting for the first time since the 90s,” he said.
“It’s wonderful looking back at it twenty-five years later and having such pride in it,” Pearce expressed.
Since the release of Silver in 1994, Moist has gone on to great success, and as the years passed, members of the band have gone on to pursue their own interest, from solo careers and diverging interests. Pearce himself had retired from the band six years ago, but with the anniversary of their landmark album, the band had to come back together.
“The anniversary snuck up on all of us,” Pearce said. “It was worth noting, and the five of us decided we should do something to mark this.”
The Silver Tour began in Quebec City on Thursday, Jul. 11, and comes to Kingston for the Friday, Aug. 2 show. The band will then be off to Victoriaville, Vancouver, Calgary, Lloydminster, Windsor, Ottawa, with two shows in Montreal, and ending the tour in Toronto on Friday, Nov. 22.
The Kingston leg of the tour is the only venue where the concert will be free. Why is Kingston so special to Moist? David and Kevin grew up here and Jeff is from Amherst Island. It was in Kingston where the members of the original band started their music career, and though they didn’t form the band until they moved to Vancouver, it was the shared history of Kingston that helped knit the group together. How special is Kingston to Moist?
“Being able to come back and do a free show on this anniversary is amazing,” Pearce said.
With the tour just begun, and the great reception the band had in Quebec City, the band is talking about the joy of touring, and the future.
“It was so great playing those songs and with those guys again. My first show back was incredible,” said Pearce, noting that fans had shown up to their concert wearing their 25-year-old Moist shirts, but that they didn’t come alone — Pearce said could see longtime fans sharing their love of music with their teenaged children.
Will the fun stop when the last show closes on November 22? According to Pearce, the joy the band is having has prompted some discussion about new material and the sharing of ideas. What will come of it could be anyone’s guess, but fans will just have to wait and hope for more.
This fall, Universal Music Canada will release a double vinyl LP and CD to commemorate the 25th anniversary. The hit single Silver will be re-mastered, and early photos of the band as well as rare tracks will be included with the release. The band will also include their own thoughts and reflections from time in the studio and on tour.
Rockin’ the Square continues to kick off the Civic Holiday weekend with a concert not to be missed. In addition to Moist, Kingston’s own Paper Ladies will be playing the stage in Springer Market Square (you can listen to them here).
Rockin’ the Square is a free, annual concert presented by the City of Kingston. Accessible seating is available and limited lawn chair seating is offered. The Utilities Kingston water buggy will be on site so bring your reusable water bottle. Rockin’ the Square is held rain or shine. Showtime starts at 8 p.m., and fans will no doubt want to get there early for the show. It’s time to fill the square for Moist, a band that has not forgot their roots in the Limestone City.
Bill Gowsell was born and raised in Kingston. With an interest in history, food, wine, and all things Disney, Bill has been writing for the last eight years on a variety of topics. During the summers he can be found at the family cottage north of Kingston, or at the bottom of Lake Ontario… scuba diving.