In a brand new interview with Let’s Rock, drummer Gil Moore of Canadian rock legends TRIUMPH discussed the band’s decision to split its songwriting credits equally between the three members of the group. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “There were various contributions at various times, and we also knew that we all had sort of a role to play. So, for example, [bassist] Mike Levine was, from day one, and still is to this day, really functioned as not just a musician but also a producer. In today’s world of Drake and Justin Bieber, a producer is a writer of sorts. So maybe we were forecasting that value on to a producer.
“We looked at a lot of the production techniques or the producer guidance commentary — call it what you will — to be creatively as important sometimes as what chords you’re playing or what lyrics you’re singing,” he explained. “It’s almost like looking at it through the lens of rhythm — there’s no provision for rhythm being part of writing, and yet we knew that in a rock band, especially a three-piece one, how incredibly important the rhythm is. So I think at a certain point — it was after [1979’s] ‘Just A Game’ — when we kind of talked about how do you really assign who contributed what to a song. It was difficult. So we just decided, you know what? Whether one person is more instrumental in a certain song or not that we just would take credit, and individual credit would go the way of the dodo bird and we would just take credit as a band. I think it was a good decision, just for band unity and not having to really be concerned with credit. There’s so much effort that goes into a three-piece band, and everybody’s doing so much, it’s hard to keep track of the little bits and pieces. So that’s how we operated.”
Moore also touched upon the importance of drumming in rock music, arguing that some drummers’ contributions are significant enough to warrant a songwriting credit.
“RUSH is a great group, obviously,” he said. “If you take Neil [Peart] — rest in peace; great guy [and an] unbelievable drummer — and if you were to take him out of RUSH and insert someone else, or listen to the band with [original RUSH drummer] John Rutsey playing drums or whatever, you realize, yeah, the songs really change. When you change him, you’re changing a lot. And I think the same thing would happen if you were to switch out Alex [Lifeson] or you were to switch out Geddy [Lee], you’d find the same thing. ‘Cause those guys were all such a piece of the signature of that band. And most bands are like that.
“Look, with THE [ROLLING] STONES, having Charlie [Watts] pass away a few weeks ago, and you go, ‘Well, there’s a lot of guys that can play Charlie Watts‘s parts.’ No — not so much,” he continued. “Just try. I don’t care who it is. There’s a certain signature to Charlie‘s playing that’s unmistakeable. People would tend to think it would be easy to replicate simply because his concepts of percussion were sparse, but it’s not easy to change out that. Whatever that secret sauce or that signature that he has is, it’s pretty difficult to [replicate].”
The first-ever feature documentary about TRIUMPH‘s dramatic career, “Triumph: Rock & Roll Machine” (changed from the working title of “Triumph: Lay It On The Line”), received its world premiere last month at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Produced by Emmy and Peabody award-winning Banger Films, it is a Crave original documentary that was previously described as “a celebratory, exhilarating thrill ride through the history of one of rock’s most unsung acts.”
Moore, Levine, and guitarist/vocalist Rik Emmett formed TRIUMPH in 1975, and their blend of heavy riff-rockers with progressive odysseys, peppered with thoughtful, inspiring lyrics and virtuosic guitar playing quickly made them a household name in Canada. Anthems like “Lay It On The Line”, “Magic Power” and “Fight The Good Fight” broke them in the USA, and they amassed a legion of fiercely passionate fans. But, as a band that suddenly split at the zenith of their popularity, TRIUMPH missed out on an opportunity to say thank you to those loyal and devoted fans, a base that is still active today, three decades later.
Back in 2016, Moore and Levine reunited with Rik as special guests on the “RES 9” album from Emmett‘s band RESOLUTION9.
After 20 years apart, Emmett, Levine and Moore played at the 2008 editions of the Sweden Rock Festival and Rocklahoma. A DVD of the historic Sweden performance was made available four years later.