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Vice: An Oral History of Thrush Hermit’s ‘Clayton Park’

Rob Benvie, Cliff Gibb, Ian McGettigan, Joel Plaskett and many others on the album that should have turned the band into The Strokes.

By Cam Lindsay, Vice

In the annals of Canadian music history, Thrush Hermit were a blip on the radar in a decade ruled by Céline, Alanis, Shania, the Hip and the Barenaked Ladies. But to those who followed the Halifax band between 1992 and 1999, they were the coolest thing in Canada.

Introduced to the world as Sloan’s protégés, the Hermit were sometimes goofy, sometimes emo but always rock stars in the making, destined to follow in the footsteps of their mentors. But instead they broke up in 1999 while promoting an album of killer throwback rock that came two years too soon.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Clayton Park, the band’s triumphant sophomore album that unexpectedly became their swan song. Emerging out of Halifax’s early ’90s indie scene, Thrush Hermit—Rob Benvie, Cliff Gibb, Ian McGettigan and Joel Plaskett—rose up through the ranks of Sloan’s murderecords label, graduating to an ill-fated major label deal with Elektra for their 1997 debut album, Sweet Homewrecker.

By the time Clayton Park came out on Sonic Unyon in February 1999, the band‘s days were numbered. And although they barely survived the year, the album went on to become a CanRock classic.

As Thrush Hermit prepare for a (second) reunion tour this fall and the long-awaited vinyl reissue of Clayton Park, VICE spoke to the band, as well as those involved in the making of their masterpiece. [READ MORE]