End of days

ROB WILLIAMS

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

It's a brand new day for members of The Watchmen.

After more than 15 years and five albums, the former Winnipeg band is calling it quits to work on other projects, ending months of rumours and speculation about their future.

"We've been going back and forth on the issue for a while and decided officially about three months ago. We felt like the time was right to move on," says guitarist Joey Serlin.

"After Slomotion we toured on it, but it seemed like the enthusiasm was more on the other projects and it was forced for The Watchmen, and it wasn't fair for the band or the fans.

"It was a great run, but from our camp we felt artistically we weren't in the right head space to do another record or another video, so instead of a cash-grab we thought we'd call it quits."

News that the band -- Serlin, vocalist Danny Greaves and bassist Ken Tizzard -- wouldn't be working together anymore was announced earlier this fall on Tizzard's website, but the band and their management didn't confirm the decision for more than a month.

Serlin says The Watchmen weren't going to do a farewell tour, but after fans expressed a desier to see them live one last time, they decided to do a mini-tour of smaller venues from Calgary to Buffalo, NY.

In Winnipeg, they will play two shows at the Pyramid, a bar they played often back when it was the Spectrum.

"We had a lot of amazing times there and those were the days when we just partied and we always had a great time," Serlin says.

The group started playing together as teens and have remained tight over the years, but Serlin admits there were occasions when the pressures of the industry made them lose focus.

"When we started we were all friends and it was all about the music. Then it became about business and who's getting paid what and publishing and stuff -- but I think we did well at the end of the day," he says.

After their first release McLaren Furnace Room, in 1993, The Watchmen went from local heroes to staples on radio and MuchMusic with hits such as Run and Hide, Boneyard Tree, Stereo, Incarnate and Absolutely Anytime. All four of their major-label albums went gold or platinum.

They were also touring warhorses, contstantly on the road playing shows from Australia to Europe and opening for bands like Pearl Jam, Green Day and the Foo Fighters.

Drummer Sammy Kohn left before the band recorded Slomotion. In his wake, the group used a drum machine and experimented with loops and electronics, a shift that divided their fan base. Serlin says he would have liked to record another album with a real drummer, but stands behind Slowmotion.

"In a way, it was probably the wrong time to put out an electronic record because that sound was on the way out, but we've always been a band who did what they wanted to do," he says.

Although their long road ends with a New Year's Eve show in Buffalo, The Watchmen won't be off the radar for long. Serlin has started a new band, Redline, with current Watchmen drummer Ryan Ahoff and ex-Headstones bassist Tim White. Greaves is working on a solo album and has been writing music for film and TV. Tizzard is recording with Big Wreck's Ian Thornley and his own band Shadrak.

"I think we're all pretty strong individuals in terms of character and have been doing it a long time, and we all had a distinct idea of how we wanted the songs to sound and it didn't always mesh. We were tired of someone saying, 'Play it like this,' and now we can all go out and do our own thing," says Serlin, who doesn't know if The Watchmen will reunite.

"Right now I don't see it, but who knows? It's been a big part of my life for a long time -- but we'll see what happens in two or three years."

At this weekend's shows, the band will be taking requests. All of their farewell shows will be recorded and posted on the band's website.

Tickets are available at Ticketmaster for $23.


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