With a 13th studio album recently released and the ability to tour as a band since their teenage years, being hip hasn't been so tragic for one Canadian rock band.
The Tragically Hip will appear at the Seneca Allegany Casino Events Center on Saturday at 7 p.m. And, after the October release of "Now For Plan A," The Hip will bring with them new material to share with fans.
The last time The Hip performed at the Seneca Allegany Casino was in 2009. Paul Langlois, lead guitarist, is looking forward to returning to the area for another performance.
Pictured are The Tragically Hip’s Paul Langlois, lead guitarist; Johnny Fay, drummer; Gord Sinclair, bassist; Rob Baker, guitarist; and Gord Downie, vocalist.
"We've been there once before, and we had a really good gig there," said Langlois. "We didn't get the chance to look around at all last time, but that may change this time. We look forward to checking it out."
The Hip's hits include "Courage," "New Orleans Is Sinking," "Poets," "Ahead by a Century," "Bobcaygeon" and "Grace, Too." "Now For Plan A" is The Hip's first studio album since 2009's platinum selling "We Are The Same." And, so far fans seem to be responding well to the new material, said Langlois.
"I think a lot of fans are feeling like ('Now For Plan A') is a record that hearkens back to when we played all our records live," said Langlois. "Because it was recorded live, and we knew the songs really well when we made the record, they are translating well live. They seem to fit in quite nicely with the rest of the set.
"We thought the title ('Now For Plan A') was pretty funny. For a band that's been together for more than 27 years to finally get around to 'Plan A' makes me smile. 'Plan A' is always the way to go, but you're faced with 'Plan B,' 'C,' and 'D' a lot because 'Plan A' doesn't work out all the time or that often."
For the Seneca Casino show, the band will dig deep into its catalog as well as playing a few new ones, Langlois said.
"As usual we're trying to change it up, sometimes completely from night to night," said Langlois. "It keeps us all on our toes, and keeps the fans that way too."
One of Langlois' favorite songs to play live is a tune from 1992's "Fully Completely" entitled "At The Hundredth Meridian," he said.
"It's an all-out rocker, but it has a little room in it for all of us to stretch out and meet back where we started," said Langlois. "And, new wise, 'We Want To Be It' would be a song that stands out. I like the sounds in it, and the groove of it is pretty unique and catchy."
Langlois believes that performing live is one of the most important aspects of being in a band.
"We've never stopped playing shows, and that's certainly what comes very naturally to us," said Langlois. "It just happened from the get-go when the five of us started playing together. I think we were able to establish pretty early the sound that comes out when we play together. So, playing live is a big part of what we do. We also enjoy making records, being in the studio, writing songs and moving forward. But, yeah, we're certainly always going to tour because that's really where the most fun is at, and it's the way to make a living unless you're in the hit-driven market."
That's why the new album, "Now For Plan A," is available in streaming format in its entirety on soundcloud.com.
"I think the majority of artists out there just want to get their music and songs heard," said Langlois. "I would suggest even for new artists, that the best philosophy is to put the music out there, and hopefully people will start talking about it. We certainly feel that way, I mean, we feel like we made the record, and we're proud of it, so go ahead and listen. Buy it if you like, but otherwise we're just happy if someone's listening to it."
Langlois attributes much of the band's success to having dedicated fans, but he also believes it has a lot to do with the concept of being a "family band." In 2008, David Battistella produced a short documentary, available at nfb.ca/film/family_band, about The Tragically Hip in which Gord Sinclair, bass guitarist, said, "These guys are my life partners, musically."
"From all five of us we'd all agree that (being a family band) is our biggest achievement, our biggest accomplishment and it was the goal when we started," said Langlois. "We had our first discussion about it when we were playing in and around our hometown. We were all around 19 years old, and we said out loud, 'If we can just stick together, and stay together, eventually things are going to go our way.' It was our goal, and if you have that kind of goal, you've got to be friends. And, the older we get, the luckier we feel."
In addition to being multi-platinum recording artists, The Hip have received 14 Juno Awards, were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and were most recently inducted into 102.1 The Edge's Edge Rock of Fame.
"It's a big station that would certainly vie for being Canada's most influential modern music station," said Langlois. "It was definitely an honor, and we certainly appreciate their support."
An interview with The Hip regarding the induction to the Edge Rock of Fame is available at www.edge.ca/rockoffame.
The Hip also have two official videos for "The Lookahead" and "At Transformation" from "Now For Plan A" available at www.thehip.com.
Tickets for Saturday's show start at $55.35. All ages are welcome, but those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. The Seneca Allegany Casino Events Center is located at 777 Seneca Allegany Boulevard in Salamanca. For more information visit senecaalleganycasino.com or call 888-913-3377.