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Crash Karma

The self-titled debut from Toronto’s Crash Karma - Edwin (ex-I Mother Earth), drummer Jeff Burrows (ex-The Tea Party), guitarist Mike Turner (ex-Our Lady Peace) - is the result of three musicians with multi-platinum pedigrees coming together with one equally skilled musician, Amir Epstein (ex-Zygote), in a curious "six-degrees of Amir" story.

The story begins when Amir, a prolific songwriter for the past 14 years, expressed to a friend a desire to co-write with Edwin. To his surprise, this friend had connections to Edwin and agreed to set up a meeting. On his way there, Amir d ...read more

The self-titled debut from Toronto’s Crash Karma - Edwin (ex-I Mother Earth), drummer Jeff Burrows (ex-The Tea Party), guitarist Mike Turner (ex-Our Lady Peace) - is the result of three musicians with multi-platinum pedigrees coming together with one equally skilled musician, Amir Epstein (ex-Zygote), in a curious "six-degrees of Amir" story.

The story begins when Amir, a prolific songwriter for the past 14 years, expressed to a friend a desire to co-write with Edwin. To his surprise, this friend had connections to Edwin and agreed to set up a meeting. On his way there, Amir decided on a bolder approach. "I thought it would be cool to start an actual band together, as Edwin is one of my favourite vocalists," Amir says.

Edwin, though skeptical, said he’d think about it. "I did know immediately that I liked Amir’s positivity and energy," admits Edwin. Amir, knowing that he’d have to act fast in order to keep Edwin interested, suggested on the spur of the moment that Mike and Jeff should also be involved. Zygote had previously recorded in Turner’s Pocket Studio, so a quick call was placed to Mike. He was intrigued by the idea, but also non-committal.

The final piece of the puzzle started to fall into place when Amir went to see Andy Curran, a Zygote album producer and currently at SRO Management (formerly management for The Tea Party). Amir suggested he was starting a new project with Mike and Ed and said Jeff was the perfect guy to complete the line-up. The rest, as they say, is history. "It’s funny that we all felt we were being asked as the last hold-out for the band," laughs Mike, looking back in hindsight.

The band finally came together in 2008 when Edwin was three albums into a successful solo career; Mike was running The Pocket Studio, as well as playing with the band Fair Ground; and Jeff, now an on-air host at CKUE The Rock in Windsor, Ontario, had the No. 1 midday show in his market, while still guesting on various drum sessions. Amir, the bass player and songwriter in the popular jam band, Zygote, had returned from law school in Australia and was working in criminal defense.

"A couple of months into the project, I realized that we really did have something here," says Edwin. "I could identify elements of all four of our previous bands but they were uniquely gelling to form a new sound. Whether it’s a subtle suggestion from the old bands or an obvious one, it worked and the combination sounded really good together. I guess I started getting excited then."

Interestingly, while Edwin, Mike and Jeff were all contributing songwriters in IME, OLP and TTP respectively, in Zygote Amir was the primary one. And that’s how this new band began. Amir, the one most excited and eager to make this work at the time, took some acoustic songs and ideas over to The Pocket. "They all brought what they do and contributed to these songs to make them that much better," Amir says.

"He’s a super creative guy and a ton of fun to work with," Mike says of Amir.

Jeff, who would drive in from Windsor for intense working weekends with the band, would see these "shells of songs" turn into "monsters," he says. "The ideas I had when heading into the studio often changed so

dramatically by the end of the day because guitars were being added, parts were being shifted, and choruses extended or shortened on the spot. I don’t think any of us has worked like that before. It was out-there."

"As everybody brought their own two cents to it, it took a while for it to develop its identity," Mike says. "But every band goes through that. Usually, you get that from rehearsals and jamming, but we did it in the studio which was a little bit strange, but it worked great."

Self-produced by Mike at The Pocket, Crash Karma is an all-out rock record with songs that are heavy, intricate, big, intense and melodic with a sound that can only result from the combination of these four guys with their respective history, chemistry and musical prowess.

The first single "Awake" is a psychedelic, other-worldly percussive rock trip into a higher consciousness; "Fight" is an aggressive accusatory punch-up about reflection and perseverance; the mercurial "Next Life" hopes for a different outcome from the troubles of this life, while the acoustic ballad, "Lost" (featuring guitarist Ian Thornley), is sentimental and tender. The insistent rocker, "Man I Used To Be," is a reminder that the past only has value if you learn from it.

Crash Karma made its live debut in May 2009, playing Jeff’s annual 24-hour drum marathon charity event in Windsor. The set included songs from OLP and IME and gave the guys their first indication of how the band dynamic would work on stage.

"I didn’t know what to expect," says Jeff. "Without any rehearsals or ever playing together, they joined me at the last half hour of the marathon and Ed was killin’ it. He was singing with enormous intensity, like he had on the record, but hearing him do it live with confidence boosted my energy. I was delirious after drumming for 23 hours straight, but got a huge second wind playing with these guys for the first time. The chemistry just felt right."

Crash Karma has ended up with a fantastic album that will easily join the ranks of releases from their previous bands of which they are still proud. Crashing karmically indeed, the four have running jokes now and a camaraderie that came not just from their musical connection, but friendship.

"I enjoy hanging out with the guys," says Ed. "Our dynamic is really cool. There’s no bullshit, no pretention and no ego - there’s a great energy. It’s not like work. I look forward to it. Most importantly, everyone is equal. There’s no one guy above anybody else."

That’s a democracy and that’s Crash Karm.

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Similar Bands: I Mother Earth, Our Lady Peace, The Tea Party, Foo Fighters, Collective Soul

Crash Karma
2010

2.9
9 Votes

Contributors: Ponton, Mikesn,

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