From tour­ing with Stars to play­ing a Rock­e­feller im­per­son­ator

Torquil Campbell on his jour­ney with mu­sic, act­ing and fa­ther­hood

Midtown Post - - Life -

Cana­dian pop band co-front­per­son Torquil Campbell can trace his roots and life­long friend­ships with fel­low Stars band mem­bers all the way back to grade school.

Born in Sh­effield, Eng­land, Campbell has known Stars buds Chris Selig­man and Evan Cran­ley since com­ing to live in Toronto when he was in Grade 3. From pub­lic school to high school, to to­day, they’ve been to­gether 37 years. Campbell and Selig­man even at­tended some of the same classes.

“It’s been a long time with those guys,” Campbell says.

Not un­til mid­dle school did they be­come se­ri­ous about mu­sic. Selig­man wanted to be a clas­sic mu­si­cian. Campbell fo­cused on act­ing. His par­ents were both actors.

Like many teens, high school was not the most pos­i­tive life ex­pe­ri­ence for Campbell. At­tend­ing Oak­wood Col­le­giate In­sti­tute, he found a so­cial cir­cle was lack­ing for him. He didn’t know where to fit in. Look­ing back, he de­scribes high school as “uni­ver­sally dif­fi­cult,” although mostly be­ing a teen was dif­fi­cult. Campbell does feel later that in life peo­ple can find ac­cep­tance in the world. “It gets bet­ter, you know,” he says. Lyrics from the Stars song “Reunion” re­call life and be­ing 17 and high school and young love.

A pop mu­sic ob­ses­sion would en­ter into Campbell’s life in his late teens. He and Selig­man and James Shaw (who later cre­ated Met­ric and plays with Bro­ken So­cial Scene) all moved to New York around age 19.

Campbell and Selig­man wrote songs, wanted to form a band and play mu­sic. Af­ter re­cruit­ing Cran­ley, Amy Mil­lan and Pat McGee, they formed Stars. Their first al­bum, Night­songs, was re­leased in 2001.

“We had an amaz­ing place when we first moved there [New York]. We had a three-storey apart­ment in mid­town for $1,500 a month,” says Campbell. Ex­penses later forced them to move to Brook­lyn. The band later re­lo­cated to Mon­treal.

Now with six EPs, eight al­bums (count­ing an Oc­to­ber 2017 re­lease) and count­less hours on the road, Stars is still to­gether. At the core of the band’s song­writ­ing is love.

“Peo­ple write songs about love be­cause love is one the of the main mo­ti­va­tors of hu­man ex­is­tence. Songs are an amaz­ing way of talk­ing about the de­tails of mu­sic,” says Campbell.

The lat­est al­bum from Stars, There Is No Love in Flu­o­res­cent Light, was re­leased Oct. 13. Campbell de­scribes the ti­tle as be­ing about the per­son you are com­ing home from work as the real you.

Along with his love of mu­sic, Campbell has al­ways been drawn to act­ing. In theatre class he once re­ceived an F. A teacher had told him to turn it down a notch or two. An irony, as he later ap­peared in Law & Or­der, Law & Or­der: SVU, Sex and the City and on stage as King Henry in Henry V.

Campbell is now pre­par­ing to re­turn to the theatre in True Crime in early 2018.

The play al­ready had a suc­cess­ful run early in 2017 and is the true story of Chris­tian Ger­hart­sre­iter, a.k.a. Clark Rock­e­feller. Campbell, who co-wrote the pro­duc­tion, stars in the one-man show at Crow’s Theatre.

Split­ting time be­tween Van­cou­ver, Ni­a­gara-On-The-Lake and tour­ing with Stars, Campbell is also rais­ing a young daugh­ter with ac­tor/wife Moya O’Con­nell. Their daugh­ter Ellie saw her first Stars show re­cently.

“She’s a big fan of theatre and mu­si­cals in par­tic­u­lar,” Campbell says. He adds, “She gets to see a lot of art. She’s a very lucky kid that way.”

Campbell stars in his one-man show ‘True Crime’ at Crow’s Theatre in 2018

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