MIKE LEVINE Says Recession Derailed TRIUMPH's Reunion Tour Plans More Than A Decade Ago
June 2, 2021
In a brand new interview with Rock History Music, bassist Mike Levine of Canadian rock legends TRIUMPH was asked about the possibility of the band reuniting to play some select shows. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Well, we did a couple of times — in the 2000s. In 2008, we played over in Sweden — we did a festival there — and a show in Oklahoma, I think called Rocklahoma. And we were gonna go on the road, and then the recession came. There was plans, there was buildings on hold, everything was starting to fall into place. And then when the recession [came], we talked to the promoters, and everybody just said, 'For you guys, it would be embarrassing if you go out and do three quarters of a house instead of selling out.' It was horrible. Concerts were dying everywhere. You couldn't sell a ticket in the Midwest. It didn't matter who you were. THE BEATLES would have had trouble selling tickets. So we just [put it on hold]. And then the recession lasted a couple of years. And then we decide, you know what? We're a couple of years older. Maybe we can't do it — the idea of a big tour. 'Cause we were looking at maybe doing 60, 70 dates over the course of a year and a half or so. And the investment and the production and all that, to put it all together, and the time — just rehearsal time and everything else. So we decided, you know what? It's probably not in the best interest in all of us. It's not like everybody was going, 'Yeah, we've gotta do it.' We all just went, 'Not a good idea anymore.' But we did get together and play for the documentary that's coming out — soon, I hope. It's just about finished."
Asked if there is a chance that TRIUMPH could do some recording in the studio again at some point, Levine said: "That's always possible. We leave that door open all the time. If anybody comes up with something that's really cool that we can go in and still be able to play and/or sing, yeah, the door is always open. The studio sits there, and we can use it."
The first-ever feature documentary about TRIUMPH's dramatic career is tentatively due later this year. Produced by Emmy and Peabody award-winning Banger Films, "Triumph: Rock & Roll Machine" (changed from the working title of "Triumph: Lay It On The Line") is a Crave original documentary that was previously described as "a celebratory, exhilarating thrill ride through the history of one of rock's most unsung acts." The film covers TRIUMPH's humble beginnings as staples of the GTA circuit in the mid-'70s to their heyday as touring juggernauts, selling out arenas and stadiums all across North America with their legendary spectacular live shows — and way beyond.
TRIUMPH last performed at an invite-only event in November 2019 in front of 300 "superfans" at MetalWorks studio in Mississauga (a suburb of Toronto),Ontario, Canada. Levine, guitarist/vocalist Rik Emmett and drummer Gil Moore played a three-song set that marked TRIUMPH's first performance in 11 years, as well as its first as a pure three-piece power trio in 31 years. The tracks played were "When The Lights Go Down", "Lay It On The Line" and "Magic Power".
Moore, Levine, and Emmett formed TRIUMPH in 1975, and their blend of heavy riff-rockers with progressive odysseys, peppered with thoughtful, inspiring lyrics and virtuosic guitar playing quickly made them a household name in Canada. Anthems like "Lay It On The Line", "Magic Power" and "Fight The Good Fight" broke them in the USA, and they amassed a legion of fiercely passionate fans. But, as a band that suddenly split at the zenith of their popularity, TRIUMPH missed out on an opportunity to say thank you to those loyal and devoted fans, a base that is still active today, three decades later.
Back in 2016, Moore and Levine reunited with Rik as special guests on the "RES 9" album from Emmett's band RESOLUTION9.
After 20 years apart, Emmett, Levine and Moore played at the 2008 editions of the Sweden Rock Festival and Rocklahoma. A DVD of the historic Sweden performance was made available four years later.