Thrush Hermit was formed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1992 by Joel Plaskett (vocals, guitar), Rob Benvie (vocals, guitar), Ian McGettigan (vocals, bass), and Michael Catano (drums). Catano was replaced by Cliff Gibb in 1994; Gibb in turn left the band in 1999 and was replaced by Benn Ross.
They signed with Murderecords, the label of fellow Haligonians Sloan, in 1994 in time to release their Smart Bomb EP, which featured songs such as Benvie's "French Inhale" and Plaskett's "Hated It". The former would get some rotation on MuchMusic, which then held a reputation for more alternative programming, while the latter would end up in the Kevin Smith film Mallrats.
Following the release of the band's second EP, The Great Pacific Ocean, the group signed in 1996 with Elektra Entertainment which released their first full-length album, Sweet Homewrecker, in 1997. The Memphis-recorded album features tracks showcasing the songwriting of Plaskett, Benvie and McGettigan. The album proved a disappointment from Elektra's standpoint however, and Thrush Hermit was bought out of their contract.
After their foray into the United States market, Thrush Hermit returned north to release their final album, Clayton Park, on Sonic Unyon in 1999. Despite the critical success of the record, Thrush Hermit announced their split on September 21, 1999, following Benvie's growing disillusionment with his declining front man presence and the direction of the band, which he perceived to be "boring, old-fashioned". However, they would do one more tour before permanently breaking up, the triple-headliner "Front Man War Tour" alongside The Flashing Lights and Local Rabbits. Shortly before the tour, however, Thrush Hermit had to back out due to Plaskett's health. Once back to normal, the band embarked on their own farewell tour of Canada, in December 1999. Plaskett's medical problems inspired his first solo album In Need of Medical Attention, though the album was recorded prior to Clayton Park and these final tours.
The band was known to have highly energetic, humorous, and unpredictable performances. They were featured on the mainstage at Edgefest in 1995, but rather than playing their own material they played exclusively Steve Miller Band covers instead. Similarly, for their first national TV appearance on MuchMusic they played a Nazareth cover instead of highlighting any songs from their album.
Plaskett went on to begin a fruitful recording career with his band The Joel Plaskett Emergency. Benvie released a solo record under the moniker "Tigre Benvie", and subsequently joined The Dears, while McGettigan began producing records by Canadian rock acts such as The Flashing Lights. McGettigan also produced records for Plaskett, and later became a member of The Joel Plaskett Emergency. Benvie and McGettigan are now the main members of Camouflage Nights, which features a revolving door cast of musicians.
Thrush Hermit reunited for a brief set following a Joel Plaskett Emergency show at the Marquee Club in Halifax on December 31, 2005.
The band also reunited for a brief tour of eastern Canada in March 2010. Locations included Moncton, two nights in Halifax at the Paragon (originally the Marquee), Ottawa, Peterborough, Waterloo, two nights and one afternoon all-ages show in Toronto.
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