Beloved singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ron Hawkins has released a thumping new single “Teenage Insurrection” with the Do Good Assassins. Long-revered as one of Canada’s great contemporary singer-songwriters, Hawkins is probably best known for his work as principal songwriter and lead vocalist for legendary Canadian band Lowest of the Low. The track is the first single from Ron Hawkins and the Do Good Assassins’ forthcoming self-produced album titled 246, to be released on August 28, 2020.
“‘Teenage Insurrection’ is a call to every human to tap into that insurrectionary energy we had access to as 16 year olds. To put a shoulder to the wheel and do positive things in our lives,” explains Hawkins. “I feel like the excitement, earnestness and drama of our early teenage years is packed with the kind of inspirational energy that we sought to capture with the organic buzz of this song.”
246 was recorded on a 1985 Tascam 246 4-track cassette recorder in drummer Jody Brumell’s living room with an overarching ethos of, ‘all analogue, no digital tomfoolery’. Says Hawkins, “Recording on the 4-track brought memories rushing back to me; the same excited urgency I felt when I first recorded on the exact same Tascam 4-track back in 1985 writing my first awkward songs. The smell of head cleaner and that magical ozone smell from the capstan and the mechanical parts transported me to a time when I first fell in love with music and its endless possibilities.”
All tracks on 246 were recorded on the 4-track and mixed through analogue outboard gear. The idea was to make a record with extreme limitations; just four humans making music in a room with no bells and whistles, à la Guided by Voices or The Beatles on the rooftop. This DIY spirit carried over to Hawkins’ decision to pivot to releasing the record independently as opposed to releasing the LP via Warner Music Canada as originally planned. “The good people at Warner were excited to put out the new record, but faced with the prospect of not being able to manufacture physical copies or doing live shows to support the release, I figured I would go the Indie route.”
Since 1991, Hawkins has written and released eighteen albums, recorded in big old-school studios, in live venues, in barns and his house. That’s seven Lowest of the Low albums, five solo discs, three records with his band The Rusty Nails, and two records (one a double album) as Ron Hawkins and the Do Good Assassins. Add to that, a commemorative vinyl box set called Shakespeare My Box, an anthology of the entire Lowest of the Low catalogue. “I’m always looking for a way to challenge myself sonically and physically. In this moment of infinite tracks and digital manipulation I thought it’d be a blast to get back to limitations as inspiration and a set of parameters we could work with and try to overcome. In an environment more and more about perfection, I got excited about real human interaction, organic grooves and soul.” In 1996, 2000 and again in 2005, Chart Magazine honoured LOTL’s 1991 debut album, Shakespeare My Butt, with spots in the top 10 of the Top 100 Canadian Albums of All Time. In 2000, and once again in 2015, Hawkins was voted Songwriter of the Year by NOW Magazine’s reader’s poll. Hawkins received 102.1 The Edge’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2008 The Lowest of the Low was inducted into the Canadian Indie Rock Hall of Fame and awarded gold records for Shakespeare My Butt.