From The Citizen, 24th August, 1979
Among the many heavy rock bands performing in Canada, Triumph must surely rank as one of the loudest and most successful. In the four years since it burst onto the scene, the Toronto-based band cultivated a strong following in the United States first before becoming accepted in its native country.
The trio – bass player Mike Levine, guitarist Rik Emmett and drummer Gil Moore – pack a dynamic visual and musical package into their shows and Citizen rock critic Bill Provoke called their NAC concert last January “a rock and roll battlefield and victory celebration.”
While their rock and roll hearts may be in the right place, the members of Triumph do not want their group to be pegged as just another heavy metal band pumping out ear-splitting tunes to hungry rock fans. They are striving for respectability and longevity in a business that is known for devouring their own. “we don’t pretend that we’re setting the world on fire musically” said bassist Mike Levine earlier this week in a n interview, ” nor do we compromise whatever we play. We merely feel that what we do is some thing that is valid, justified and good.” “However, we also think that a rock concert is a place to have fun. We have a good time on stage and we try to communicate that feeling to the audience.”
Triumph fans will be able to see them perform tonight beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Ex Grandstand show. Levine promises the show will be different from their last appearance here. “We will include songs from out latest album and visually, I think, the show will be more interesting because we acquired some new special effects and lighting equipment that we haven’t used yet.”
Their booming record sales in Canada can attest to their new-found popularity. Their latest album, titled Just A Game, is reaching platinum status (100,000 copies), while in the United States, it has passed the 800,000 mark. A single, Hold On is already a hit in the U.S. and it seems fairly certain it will do just as well here.
The paradox in the Canadian music business is that our bands must demonstrate their clout south of the border before they can return home and be acclaimed. Triumph knows that scenario all too well. They cut their musical teeth as one of many bar bands in Toronto prior to extensively touring in the United States. Two years ago in San Antonio, Texas, one radio station was so enthusiastic about the band that it promoted a rock show in the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium which drew thousands of Triumph devotees. “Something like that would never happen in Canada although the situation is changing slowly” said Levine. “We’re still not the most played band in Canada by any stretch of the imagination. We tend to get more airplay on U.S. stations.” Levine said obtaining a track record is important in establishing your credentials to Canadian radio stations. “You have to show them that you’re legitimate before they will support you.”
After the Ottawa concert, Triumph travels through Northern Ontario for a few dates and returns to the U.S. next month for a series of concerts. They have been and the road since April – with a short break in July – and in November they begin work on another album.
The rigors of traveling have not taken their toll on the band members. They enjoy touring and Levine summed it up best when he said: “if we stop having fun on tour, or in our business affairs, of in personal relationships, then I don’t think Triumph would exist anymore.”