For more than a year, like so many, they have been sidelined. “Throughout COVID, the band wasn’t allowed to do anything performing-wise. They practiced to stay focused and did some interviews for some magazines, but that was it,” explained band photographer and art director McKala Carriere.
Their last show before the pandemic was February 2020, and in a twist of bad luck, they put out their second album, The Whitegirl Wasted EP, two days before the first lockdown. “They had to cancel their tour, so the album got no recognition. It was like it didn’t even happen,” explained Carriere. After putting so much time and heart into it, having no way to get it out to fans and drum up publicity was heartbreaking. “It was a punch in the stomach,” said bass player David Crowell. “We were all hyped up. We had shows lined up to play across Alberta, into BC and all over. Then, in an instant, it was just gone.”
Rather than sit by and wait, Crowell, along with bandmates William Blair (guitarist and singer) and Chris Bougie (drums), decided to do what they do best; create music. “During COVID, we recorded our third album, Chase You, in Calgary. We had to jump through a lot of hoops to get that done, though. We could only go in one at a time, and we had to wear masks the entire time. We also had to stay at certain places and not go anywhere else. It was hard.”
Crowell said that underground musicians have struggled just like so many other businesses in dealing with the inability to do what they do. “We are all just trying to get our voice heard and get out there and show people our music and our love for the community. It has been a tough time.”
Carriere said that when the boys finally got to play a stage in the back alley of the Crown and Anchor on June 11, they were ecstatic for their first performance in a long time. “It went amazing. There was an awesome turnout. We really thank the owner of the Crown and Anchor for doing this for us. There were many faces of supporters that we saw that we would normally see out at our shows. It was pretty sweet.”
The free show proved to be a hit for the band, the restaurant, and the fans even though it was more difficult. “We know the owner quite well, and he has wanted to put on a show because he loves music and loves the crowd of people we bring. I work as a scaffolder, so I brought scaffolding over and built it. My friend had a trailer that we set the scaffolding up around. We brought all of our gear so that people could enjoy it at the same quality level that we wish for them to have. We had Whitecourt officials walk by, questioning how many people were there and asking about the scaffolding because of special permits. No matter how hard we tried to comply with the situation, we still had little hurdles we had to jump around, but, at the end of the day, it was worth it for us, and we would do it again,” explained Crowell.
They even brought in an Edmonton band called Balderdash to play with them at the Crown and Anchor to share the love. “We paid them to come and play with us. We try to support each other as much as we can because we have to get heard,” said Crowell. With things back open, The Murms are looking to get back in gear promoting their music. “We are hopefully going to be playing a lot more shows and not just outside in back alleys. We are looking at doing shows on private property and in business locations.”
With two albums of new music to introduce to fans (White Girl Wasted and Chase You), The Murms are eager to flip the switch and rock out regularly again. “We are on all social media, so follow us to know about our shows this summer. We are also on Spotify, Apple Music and other music streaming apps. Sharing our music helps us out tremendously because it gets new people hearing us,” said Crowell. To their fans, Crowell said they are pumped to get back to what they do best. “We miss you all very dearly. Don’t worry, we will keep putting out music for you and will put on more shows soon. We can’t wait to see you!”
Serena Lapointe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Whitecourt Press