In 1991, four of Winnipeg's most creative young musicians and longtime friends decided to take their talents to the next level, envisioning a musical collaboration where creativity ran freely. Blending good old fashioned rock'n'roll with healthy doses of blues, jazz, and funk, the New Meanies found their musical muse. For more than a decade, the New Meanies have earned a reputation as one of Canada's most high-calibre rock outfits, touring across North America and winning the acclaim of critics and peers alike. There's few other bands in the world who both consistenly push the musical envelope and simultaneously remain true to their roots, and the New Meanies are of that calibre. Featuring guitarist and lead vocalist Damon Mitchell, guitarist Jeff Hondubura, bassist and keyboardist Sky Onosson and drummer Jason Kane, the band originally formed under the moniker of the Blue Meanies. Winning audiences over with signature sizzling blues-rock instrumentals and thoughtful songwriting, the band quickly earned a spot in the upper echelon of Winnipeg rock bands. In 1993, almost two years after they began performing, the Meanies released their debut recording, an independently produced cassette titled Experience is Lost. While the dazzling debut definitely turned heads across the Canadian music scene, the ride was just beginning for fans of the New Meanies. In 1995, the Meanies recorded and released their sophomore self-titled CD. While album sales climbed to nearly 10,000 copies, the Canadian music scene began to awaken to the band's burgeoning career. After four years of nearly constant playing, performing, and songwriting, the Meanies had honed their skills to electrifying heights. At that time, the popularity of grunge rock was fading, and with their funky jazz flavors and driving rhythyms the New Meanies found themselves at the forefront of a fresh new sound in modern rock. It was a good place to be. In 1998, the Meanies' high-voltage creative bent caught the eye of the Virgin/ EMI label. Impressed by the band's dedicated work ethic and irrepresible musical fire, the label released the New Meanies' third recording, Three Seeds, and put the band through an intensive process of touring and promotion. After recording the album in Los Angeles with prolific producer Howard Benson (Motorhead), the New Meanies found themselves for the first time in the spotlight of the national stage. Continuing to thrive as critical acclaim and awards nominations rolled in for Three Seeds, the band eventually walked away from that experience with two 1998 Juno award nominations, including Best NewGroup, and a 1999 Prairie Music Award for Best Video. The album went on to sell upwards of 20,000 copies in Canada. It was a year of milestones for the New Meanies. When the band finally found themselves able to relax from the breakneck pace of supporting Three Seeds, the difficult decision to part ways with Virgin/EMI was made. Back to making music on their own terms, the bandmembers were able to reconnect with the jam-oriented vibe that made their music so intense. Spending several years flying under the radar, the New Meanies were able to further develop their sound and work on new material free from the pressure of the music industry. Although the band was lying low, however, it continued to maintain it's reputation as one of the prairies' most stellar groups. In recent years, the group has been a force to be reckoned with on the prairie music scene and beyond. In the downtime between Three Seeds and the latest offering, Highways, several of the bandmates found the time to explore their individual skills with popular side projects and continued to contribute to Winnipeg's musical community. Now the New Meanies are ready to step back into the spotlight. Fresh and newly focused from the downtime, 2001 will see the Meanies bring Highways across Canada and the world. Contrasting with the razor-sharp rock edge of Three Seeds, the new material is sweeter, more melodic, and even further blends the Meanies' groove-rock with voices of funk and jazz. It's the most exciting chapter in what has proved to be a remarkable career, and serves to add a new creative layer to one of Winnipeg's most cherished musical entities : The New Meanies.
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