After more than 10 years, five successful albums and countless tours both in Canada and abroad, The Watchmen are at the end of the road. As a gesture to loyal fans, the Winnipeg band is saying goodbye with a farewell Canadian tour that brings them to the Horseshoe Friday and Saturday.
Watchmen bassist Ken Tizzard says the decision to fold the band -- which also includes singer Danny Greaves, guitarist Joey Serlin and drummer Ryan Ahoff -- came about not because of musical differences or nasty infighting, but because of a bad case of creative stagnation.
"We all sat down in a room to write, and we knew exactly what everybody else was going to do," Tizzard says. "There was nothing really spontaneous left. We tried going away and doing other things to see if we could bring something new back, but we found we were enjoying the other things more than The Watchmen. I guess it's like when a marriage goes stale."
The band members' other activities included film scoring for Greaves and Serlin and an electronic side project called Shadrak for Tizzard. But now, ironically, all three are returning to guitar rock -- with different partners. Tizzard has finished an album with his brother-in-law, Ian Thornley of Big Wreck, which will be released in early spring, while Serlin is in a new band with former Headstones bassist Tim White, and Greaves is shopping a solo project of his own.
"I think live music is still in all our blood," says Tizzard. "It was just time for a change."
In the meantime, Tizzard is enjoying the bittersweet aspects of the farewell tour.
"I've been going out after the set, and there are always lots of people there telling stories about the first time they saw The Watchmen and how we've affected their lives," he says. "I wasn't ready for that; it's strange and pretty emotional.
"A lot of times the Watchmen tour was like a machine and you just kept doing it. Sometimes a year or two after a record came out we were still doing shows, and I'd start wondering what we were doing, why we weren't in the studio or something. This tour definitely feels like it has a purpose. It's our chance to say goodbye, and we're playing lots of old material, upwards of two hours a night. There's a lot of respect between the audience and the band, and it feels really good."