The Trews’ song ‘I Wanna Play’ captures music industry’s anxiety in COVID-19 pandemic

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Members of the Trews have something to show for the depression and anxiety they’ve felt over the past year – a rousing pandemic-themed rock song.

The Hamilton-based act has unleashed “I Wanna Play,” a boisterous, arena-ready COVID-19 anthem that’s still waiting for an arena to pack a crowd into.

It’s one of the frustrations captured in singer-songwriter Colin MacDonald’s lyrics, which he says “fell out of nowhere” at the end of a writing session as his bandmates mused about how their lives as musicians ground to a halt under COVID-19 health restrictions.

MacDonald says the track’s lyrics sew together a mixture of emotions he felt in isolation, from the “longing and the desperation” tied to past romantic relationships to simpler feelings of having binged the entirety of Netflix.

The song culminates in a roaring electric guitar solo the band says is a tribute to late guitar master Eddie Van Halen, who died last October.

The Trews shot a music video for “I Wanna Play” on the empty hockey rink inside Hamilton’s FirstOntario Centre just days before the latest stay-at-home order in Ontario.

It featured late musician and photographer Bob Lanois playing the building’s grouchy janitor. Lanois, brother of music producer Daniel Lanois, died suddenly at 73 on Monday after battling various health issues in recent years.

David Friend, The Canadian Press