People say Rush, The Tragically Hip and The Guess Who are quintessential Canadian bands. And that’s certainly true. But for my money, The Lowest Of The Low just might be the ultimate Canadian group.
Led by singer-guitarist and songwriter Ron Hawkins, these Toronto indie-rock cult heroes have been around off and on since 1991. In that time, they’ve put out a slate of acclaimed albums — most notably their landmark debut Shakespeare My Butt, which is widely regarded as one of the greatest Canadian albums ever, and remains one of the best-selling indie releases in the country’s history. Despite this, The Lowest Of The Low still fly way under most folks’ radar — they’re all but unknown in the rest of the world, their fans probably wouldn’t recognize them on the street, and I suspect most Canadians couldn’t name anyone in the band except for Hawkins, and that’s only because they have confused him with rock ’n’ roll legend Ronnie Hawkins. On top of that, neither the Low nor Ron — who has also released a slew of albums on his own and with his other bands The Rusty Nails and The Do-Good Assassins — have ever been nominated for a Juno Award. Simply put, The Lowest Of The Low somehow manage to be a national treasure and totally anonymous at the same time. What could be more Canadian than that?
Well, how about this: They just released the new double-live album Taverns And Palaces, which contains two career-spanning shows recorded in 2019 at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern and Lee’s Palace, their hometown stomping grounds. As they prepared to celebrate the album by playing release shows at (where else?) the same venues, Hawkins — who, in true Canadian fashion, is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet — got on the Zoom to talk about live albums, his (ahem) low profile, his side hustle as a visual artist, whether he’s met his namesake and tons more. Enjoy. Then listen to Taverns and Palaces and watch their videos below, and get more from their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.