In the spring of 1992, Vancouver native Trevor Hurst answered a Seattle newspaper ad looking for someone to do some session singing work. He accepted Tom Ferris’ offer, went and did the job, and ended up staying for a few months, where the two formed Econoline Crush. After moving back to Vancouver, they added Greg Leask on drums and bassist Daniel Yaremko, and began touring the local ‘b’ circuit.
They worked their way up the ladder and after only a couple of dozen shows, were in the studios cutting some tracks Hurst had predominantly written. While negotiating deals, they released their independent debut EP called PURGE in the spring of ’94. Impact from the six tracks was immediate, helped land a major deal with EMI Canada, and even got them a Juno nomination the next year for Best New Group.
1993’s follow-up, the Rhys Fulber produced AFFLICTION, was a critic’s rave – raw, but slickly produced. With tracks like the lead-off “Nowhere Now,” “Wicked,” “Sycophant,” and the title track, their industrial alt-rock was heavy, and their smaller but loyal following grew immensely, culminating in an Canadian tour. They also made three stops overseas over the next year and a half, touring with The Young Gods, Die Krupps, and Waltari, and performing at the POP KOMM Festival in Köln, Germany.
After signing with Bruce Allen Management in 1996, they started work on their next album at Sound City Recorders in Vancouver with producer Sylvia Massy-Shivy (Prince, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tool). With Hurst and Morlift were new guitarist Ziggy, Bob Wagner on bass, and drummer Ken Fleming. THE DEVIL YOU KNOW was initially only on the Canadian shelves, but ended up being their breakout album on the back of what critics were calling one of the best of the year. The slightly more mainstream sound struck gold with their first ever top 10 single, “Home.” Although the album wasn’t released in the US (with a different cover) until the spring of 1998, the song was released as a single, making the top 40. While the band was on tour in Europe, the second single “All That You Are (X3)” was released in the spring of ’98, peaking at #9 at home and #18 in the US. Before ’98 was over “Sparkle and Shine” followed into the top 10 in Canada.
The album was also just chalk full of trivial trivia. The Japanese version also contained a pair of bonus tracks. The Canadian version featured a Biblical passage (I Corinthians 13:4-8) recited in Japanese as a hidden gem, remixes of “Sparkle and Shine,” “Nowhere Now,” and “Surefire” were featured in the Playstation game Sled Storm, and “All That You Are” was used in the pilot episode of the Sci-Fi Channel’s “Being Human.”
The band was on the road for over a year, opening for Green Day, Foo Fighters, The Tea Party, Alice Cooper, and KISS on their reunion tour. While opening for them in Edmonton in ’97, Econoline was crushed, leaving the Northlands Coliseum stage after only a few songs because of 18,000 people screaming “We want KISS!” Still, the record was eventually certified platinum with three singles gold or better, and the accompanying videos getting decent rotation in Canada and the US. Their songs also made their way onto the TV shows “Melrose Place” and “Psi Factor,” and on ESPN, and received their second Juno nomination, for Best Rock Album of the Year, and performed at the ceremonies.
They began work on their next project in Los Angeles in 2000 with producer Bob Rock (Payolas, Metallica, Aerosmith, Motley Crue). After a few months in the studio, producers John Travis and DJ Swamp (Beck) had also lent a hand. BRAND NEW HISTORY was on the shelves in the spring of ’01 to mixed reviews. Not sure if they liked the attempt to go for a more accessible blend of their trademark industrial rock.
Although “Surefire” made no dent whatsoever in the US and fared only slightly better at home, “You Don’t Know What It’s Like” peaked in the top 20 on both sides of the border, thanks in part to its previous release on a MuchMusic compilation album, as well as a clip featured in the UPN sci-fi hit, “Roswell.” By the time the ballad “Make It Right” eased its way into the #3 in Canada, the album was their third to achieve at least gold. Still, it didn’t live up to the band’s, or the label’s expectations.
They all politely and quietly took some time off to do other projects, or concentrate on a home life. Hurst formed a sideline group named after himself, but nothing became of it so upon urging from management and the label, Econoline Crush was back on the bills in 2007. Surrounding Hurst was an all-new ensemble – guitarist Kai Markus, Scott Whalen on bass, and Brent Fitz on drums. They hit the road across Canada with Hinder while writing material for the next project, and snuck into some California studios off and on over the next few months.
The result in January ’08 was IGNITE. Written predominantly by Hurst and Markus, critics generally thought the record was ok, but surmised the band’s layoff would hurt them, and were right. They went back to enlisting Sylvia Massy Shivy as producer, and although they immediately got back on the road, with the likes of Hinder, 3 Doors Down, Staind, and Alice Cooper. “???” and “???” didn’t set the world on fire when they were released as singles, and for awhile “Get Out Of The Way” was used as the Edmonton Oilers’ ‘goal song.’ But the generally good live reviews weren’t translating into dreams come true. By late 2009, Hurst again disbanded the group and dropped out of sight.
Rumblings of Hurst coming back with another variation of the band were met mostly with indifference by critics and fans alike, but by the summer of 2010 Morfitt came back on the scene. Bassist Steve Vincent and drummer Greg Williamson were borrowed from Tupelo Honey, tho they were still active, and selected tour dates were underway the same time SUREFIRE – BEST OF ECONOLINE CRUSH was released. Although Hurst and company have laid low since then, a new album is said to be in the works, tentatively called THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN, with a few raw teaser tracks popping up online now and again.