TORONTO - Founding Lowest of the Low member Stephen Stanley says that relations within the group were once so tempestuous that if they hadn't broken up, someone in the band might have died.
says this over coffee at a hip cafe in Toronto, sitting next to the band's frontman, Ron Hawkins.
At first, it seems like he's
kidding, or exaggerating for effect.
continues: "It just got crazy.
But watching Stanley
and Hawkins banter back and forth now, it seems as though much of the ill will that at one point arguably prevented the Lowest of the Low
from reaching their full potential has been safely sequestered in the distant past.
"The first time we broke up was quite horrible," Stanley
The Lowest of the Low
formed in 1991 out of the ashes of a group called Popular Front, which Stanley
calls a "dismal failure."
They turned down opening tours for both the Barenaked Ladies and Bryan Adams, both because Stanley
says they weren't fans of those artists at the time and because they weren't keen on playing massive venues.
Yet over the years, Hawkins and Stanley
have developed a complicated relationship with the album that launched their careers.
Hawkins and Stanley
have both pursued prolific solo careers in the decades since "Shakespeare," but still find that they can't escape their well-loved debut.
: "It doesn't lessen our pride in it.
It's just there all the time.
Sometimes you want to do something you worked on in the last year as opposed to something you did 20 years ago."
Still, Hawkins and Stanley
maintain that they're thrilled with the rehearsal process for the "Shakespeare" reunion shows.
was a "bit disappointed" with the lukewarm reception that greeted 2004's "Sordid Fiction," which he
said took two years to record and tour.
"It was almost like there wasn't really space in the collective marketplace for people to care about it," he
"It's a lot of work to do an album with a band like this and we were really proud of that record."
Still, they aren't ruling out doing another Lowest of the Low LP.
"With this band functioning at its best, it would be a pleasure to make another record," Stanley
"But we haven't discussed it and it's not in the cards in the immediate future."
But would the group - once incinerated by intraband friction - be able to survive making another record?
"It's funny, I think we might have got all the fighting out of our system back in the day," Stanley
We could probably use a little sandpaper," Stanley