Triumph (band)


Triumph (band)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Triumph


Img_capt = Triumph's reunion performance in June 2008 at the Sweden Rock Festival.
Img_size = 250
Landscape = Yes
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Genre = Hard rock, heavy metal
Years_active = 1975–present
Label = Attic, RCA, MCA, TML, Victory
Associated_acts =
URL = http://www.triumphmusic.com
Current_members = Rik Emmett
Gil Moore
Mike Levine
Rick Santers
Phil Xenidis
Past_members =

Triumph is a Canadian hard rock band that was popular in the late 1970s through the 1980s. Eight of the band's albums were certified gold or higher, and Triumph was nominated for multiple Juno Awards, including "Group of the Year Award" in 1979, 1985, 1986 and 1987.

Like their fellow Canadians Rush and Saga, Triumph began building their reputation across North America as a live band, peaking in the early to mid 1980s. The band was formed by Toronto music veterans Gil Moore (drums, vocals) and Mike Levine (bass, keyboards, producer), after meeting guitarist, singer, songwriter Rik Emmett in a manager's office in Toronto in 1975.

History

The 1970s

Triumph was a Canadian power trio, often compared to fellow Canadians Rush.cite web | url=http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=U1ARTU0003477 | publisher="The Canadian Encyclopedia" | title=Triumph | accessdate=2008-04-12 ] The band's musical style was hard rock and heavy metal although the band themselves were reluctant to embrace this label. Moore once described Triumph as a cross between Emerson, Lake & Palmer and The Who. [cite web |title=Bio at Pop Encyclopedia|work=jam.canoe.ca|url=http://jam.canoe.ca/Music/Pop_Encyclopedia/T/Triumph.html] Guitarist Emmett's songwriting style showed a progressive rock influence, as well as displaying his classical music influence; each Triumph album included a classical guitar solo piece. Moore also doubled as lead vocalist on many of the band's heavier songs. Bassist, keyboardist Levine was also producer on their early albums.

Triumph's style proved unpopular with rock critics. "Rolling Stone" reviewers labelled them a "faceless band."cite web | url=http://archives.cbc.ca/arts_entertainment/music/clips/15158/ | title=Triumph talks to Toronto teens | accessdate=2008-04-12 | publisher=Canadian Broadcasting Corporation | work=Digital Archives | date=2 February 1986 ]

Triumph's first paid concert was at Simcoe High School in 1976 for $750. This was stated on MuchMusic.

Triumph's first record deal was signed with Attic Records in Canada. They later signed with RCA Records in the US covering all areas except Canada. After the RCA deal ended in acrimony, MCA Records picked up the band and re-released all their music to date in 1984. After the shift to MCA, the band began to work with outside producers, and their studio albums became increasingly difficult to replicate onstage. Rather than following the sequencer-laden path taken by Rush to remain a true power trio, Triumph later added Rick Santers, a Toronto guitarist, keyboardist, to support their last three tours.

Triumph's first album (originally self-titled but later renamed "In the Beginning") was extremely rare outside Canada, but their widely released second LP, "Rock & Roll Machine," received some scattered airplay with Gil Moore's cover of Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way". Incidentally, Rik Emmett's name was originally spelled "Rick", but he changed it after it was misspelled on their first album as "Rik". In mid 1978 Triumph first played in San Antonio, Texas for five dates and then toured across Canada with fellow Canadian rockers Moxy and Trooper; San Antonio remained a popular venue for the trio.

Triumph's third album, ‎"Just a Game", featured a minor US radio hit, "Hold On", which reached the Top 40. [cite web | title=Bio at CanadianBands| work=canadianbands.com|url=http://www.canadianbands.com/Triumph.html] Their 1979 album eventually went gold in the US, their first glimmer of stardom.

The 1980s

Both 1981s "Allied Forces" and 1983s "Never Surrender" attained gold record status in the United States [cite web | title=Gold & Platinum certification at RIAA (search Triumph)| work=www.riaa.com|url=http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata.php?table=SEARCH] . Triumph also began releasing a string of moderate hit singles in the early 1980s. "Allied Forces" eventually sold over a million copies in the U.S. [cite web | title=Charts at CHUM radio| work=1050chum.com|url=http://www.1050chum.com/index_chumcharts.aspx?artist=8805]

"Never Surrender" also seems to have been heavily influenced by the contemporary success of Rush, one of the top-selling bands of all time, as the band's compositions took on more political overtones. Previously, Rik Emmett seemed content to limit himself to a single political theme on each previous Triumph album. ("Just a Game," "Hard Road," and "Ordinary Man" betray Rik Emmett's strong populist leanings.) However, "Never Surrender" featured no fewer than five anthems of varying quality. The Jimi Hendrix-inspired riff-rocker "Too Much Thinking" even samples Ronald Reagan from one of his presidential speeches. "Rolling Stone" gave "Never Surrender" a one-star rating, yet the album earned gold record status in the United States (sales of 500,000 units). [cite web | publisher="Rolling Stone" | first=Parke | last=Puterbaugh | date=3 March 1983 | url=http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/album/217760/review/5945818?utm_source=Rhapsody&utm_medium=CDreview |title=Triumph | accessdate=2008-04-12] Perhaps more damaging to Triumph's success, their relationship with RCA soured at this point, and the label did little to support their albums. MCA Records executive Irving Azoff demonstrated his faith in the trio by co-opting their debts and signing them for five albums. Following their 1984 label change, MCA took over distribution of their old catalogue for ten years.

"Thunder Seven" debuted on compact disc in late 1984, which stands as a misjudgement of the then-new technology's viability: Triumph's seventh album emerged at a time where relatively few could afford CD players. Despite two hit singles and videos, Gil Moore's "Spellbound" and "Follow Your Heart," the album failed to achieve expected levels, even though cassette and vinyl copies were soon released. "Thunder Seven" is perhaps the band's high mark, with Rik Emmett's lyrics addressing social concerns in a surprisingly adult context. Continuing in the direction of "Never Surrender," the entire second side forms a loose concept focusing on different perspectives of time. "Thunder Seven" became an RIAA certified gold album in 2003.

The band's fortunes continued to slide. In 1985, the band released "Stages", a double live set culled from the previous three tours. Triumph would take a more commercial turn with their 1986 studio album, "The Sport of Kings". Rik Emmett's "Somebody's Out There" reached the American Top 40 in late 1986, gaining some radio and video exposure. Gil Moore's "Tears in the Rain", cut from the same cloth as "Mind Games", did not fare as well in the charts. Adding Rick Santers to their line-up, Triumph toured with Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen across the United States.

In 1987, the band attempted a return to form with "Surveillance." While Gil Moore and Mike Levine remained firmly planted in blues-rock, Rik Emmett took more of a modern progressive turn, even involving Dixie Dregs and Kansas guitarist Steve Morse. They collaborated on a dual-guitar solo for Gil Moore's angst-ridden "Headed for Nowhere." But the album's lead single, "Long Time Gone," vanished without a trace on most US radio with the possible exception of Texas (historically their strongest American market) where "On and On" ended up being the most frequently spun track. The ballad "Let the Light (Shine on Me)" only charted in Canada. The 1988 tour concluded amid growing disharmony over writing credits and artistic direction; however, their final concert on September 3, 1988 was a refreshing, clutter-free, spirited show on the Kingswood stage at Canada's Wonderland, just north of Toronto. In late 1988, Rik Emmett made a total break with Triumph, a costly move resulting from a long-standing agreement that if any one of the trio left, they would leave with only "one ninth" interest. He subsequently began a modest but distinguished solo career, with his first album, "Absolutely", yielding four hits in Canada. Meanwhile, Triumph released 1989s "Classics" as their obligatory fifth album owed to MCA Records.

1990 - Present

In 1992, the remaining members of Triumph recruited Phil Xenidis, a Canadian guitarist known for his work with Aldo Nova and Frozen Ghost. Gil Moore remained the principal songwriter and lead vocalist for 1992s "Edge of Excess," with additional help from guitarist-producer Mladen. Rick Santers also remained on hand as touring keyboardist, vocalist for the 1993 North American tour; he took over Rik Emmett's vocal spot in concert, singing fan favourites "Magic Power" and "Fight the Good Fight." Unfortunately, Triumph's comeback album proved to be a lackluster collection of rockers and ballads that lacked something of the melodic veneer of their earliest albums. Nevertheless, initial reception from American radio seemed quite favourable, until Triumph's recording label, a subsidiary of Polygram, dissolved unexpectedly in 1993. After this downturn, the remaining members of Triumph effectively disbanded. In 1998, Rik Emmett resisted overtures from his former band-mates for a potentially lucrative twentieth anniversary US tour. The former Triumph guitarist cited his mistrust of Gil Moore and Mike Levine over their controlling influence in the past, stressing their insistence of joint songwriting credits – including his classical guitar compositions. Emmett indicated that he had no commercial interests in Triumph. Nevertheless, Moore and Levine purchased and acquired back their entire album catalogue from MCA and launched their own label TML Entertainment, and they continue to release live recordings and videos from their long career.

In 2003, TML released a live DVD album called "Live at the US Festival" originally recorded in San Bernardino, California at the US Festival in 1983. This historic festival, attracting nearly 250,000 rock fans, also featured Van Halen and The Clash. Triumph had earlier released this concert on VHS following the "Never Surrender" tour, featuring two videos from the forthcoming "Thunder Seven" album. In 2004, TML released a second DVD concert, "A Night of Triumph", filmed in 1987 at Halifax Metro Centre during "The Sport of Kings". The most comprehensive Triumph anthology, "," was issued in 2005. A CD of extended versions of some of the band's most popular hits called "" was released in 2006.

Gil Moore now owns and operates Metalworks Studios in Mississauga. Originally opened in the early 1980s for Triumph's exclusive use, Metalworks has recently become highly regarded across North America. Moore also takes pride in Metalworks Studios' educational role in training new engineers and sound technicians for Canada's music industry.

On March 10, 2007, Triumph was inducted to the "Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame" in a ceremony at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel. All original members of the group were present for the event. This first meeting in nearly twenty years appears to have broken the long silence between Rik Emmett and his former band-mates, but a recent interview with the guitarist did not promise a Triumph reunion. Emmett cited Gil Moore's full-time career at Metalworks, plus the fact Moore has not performed as a drummer since 1993. Bassist Mike Levine also does not seem to have much interest in touring at this late date. But Triumph's one-time camaraderie seems to have rekindled, and there may still be future collaborations on some musical level. More promisingly, Metalworks recently mixed Rik Emmett's latest hard rock project, "Airtime" (2007).

More recently, Metalworks expanded to include a production company, Metalworks Production Group, for concert and corporate events. With the recent buying of Band World Inc, Metalworks now has a full lighting and audio rig. They are currently working on a Pink Floyd tribute tour and Paul Brandt tour.

On January 18, 2008, it was announced that Triumph has united to play in the Sweden Rock Festival in June 2008, and following on from the announcement, it has been reported that the band may play a few dates in July 2008, then will be gearing up for a full scale world tour in 2009. [ [http://www.komodorock.com/latest-news/latest-news/triumph-gear-up-for-world-tour-in-2009-200801223675/ Komodo Rock | Triumph Gear Up For World Tour In 2009 ] ]

On April 6, 2008, Triumph was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame as part of the Juno Awards. [ [http://www.triumphmusic.com/ Homepage | The Official Community of Triumph ] ]

Band members

Current members

*Rik Emmett – lead vocals, guitars (1975–1988, 2008–present)
*Gil Moore – drums, percussion, lead vocals (1975–present)
*Michael Levine – bass, keyboards, backing vocals (1975–present)

Former members

*Phil X – guitars, backing vocals (1992–1993)
*Rick Santers – guitars, keyboards, backing vocals (1984–1993)

Discography

ee also

*Canadian rock
*Music of Canada

References


*Jeffrey M. Leatherwood, "Retrospectives on Canadian Rock Bands"

External links

* [http://www.triumphmusic.com Official web site]
* [http://www.maximumthreshold.net/index.php?option=com_weblinks&task=view&catid=13&id=258 Rik Emmett Interview on Maximum Threshold 2008]


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