I’m not really sure how or even why I became an Econoline Crush fan.
It was the 90s. And they were, in fact, a cheesy, lite industrial (industrial in the way Linkin Park were “nu metal”) rock band with samples, delusions of grandeur and eventually, big label support to match. But there were SO many better bands touring back then. In the months before I first saw EC opening up for Vancouver’s Sons of Freedom, I was going to see Luna, Sebadoh, the Afghan Whigs, Pavement. Yunno, LEGIT.
But Econoline Crush were surprisingly good live, they wore a lot of black, and I had a fetish for bands from British Columbia. So.
Lead singer Trevor Thornton Hurst had charisma. Guitarist Robbie Morfitt was cool, too, but Trevor was the shit. He knew it, of course, and as their star ascended, the glint off of their vinyl trousers caught my eye. I dabbled with their first EP “Purge” and their overwrought debut full-lengther “Affliction” and never really got further than that. But for that while, I really dug Econoline Crush.
Trevor and I hung out in Toronto from time to time at shows. Some friends and I actually took a bus to Buffalo to see them. Trevor was sweet, and I got a postcard from him in ’95 from London where they were on tour with the Young Gods. “Econoline Crush spreads the news! Spreads the gospel! And a few germs,” he wrote me.
Then there was New Year’s Eve, ’95-96. My university friends and I booked a hotel apartment suite in downtown Toronto to have a party in, and as I was walking out of the hotel, I ran into Robbie, checking in. The band were playing a New Year’s Eve bash at a club that night, and so I jotted a note down with an invite to pop by later. They did. We smoked pot and watched endless repeats of Beverly Hills 90210.
They were good eggs. And then I forgot about them for 20 years. Until I heard they were coming back to Vancouver.
So where are Econoline Crush now? On East Hastings St, apparently, pulling out all the School of Rock showman moves, too. The finger pointing, tongue-wagging, Christ poses, were all there. But what weren’t there were the synths, and the moody goth overtones, the good hair and all the things that made it okay for me to like them. Somewhere around 1996, Econoline Crush became a ham-fisted, poundy-thuddy heavy rock band….and stayed there.
And yet. And yet. Two decades later, Trevor’s looking sunken and like he’s seen some things, but I’m stood there, singing along to lyrics I weirdly still remember. The whole thing makes me smile. “TDM” started, followed by “Home”, “Blunt”, “You Don’t Know What It’s Like”. The corny “Sparkle and Shine” and “All That You Are” – you’re just one shining star – are all there. Aging rockers in the front row try to have actual conversations with Trevor and guitarist Ziggy during the set (dudes, another time maybe?), while Trevor himself tries to have a conversation with the room between songs. But he’s working it hard, really hard. A woman tells me that she’s had a 20year-old crush on Trevor. It’s sweet.
Me, I can’t really see it anymore, though they’re still wearing black. But I gotta be honest, it was there before, and that’s good enough. \m/