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The The in Royal Oak, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018

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The The is ready to do a little "Soul Mining" again after a long time on the sidelines.

And the British group's fans couldn't be happier.

Founder and mainstay Matt Johnson deliberately put The The "into deep freeze" during 2000 for personal, creative and business reasons. He continued working, most notably scoring films and also being politically active back in the U.K. But he came back to The The during the past couple of years, authorizing and participating in Neil Fraser's biography "Long Shadows, High Hopes" and in Johanna St. Michaels' documentary "The Inertia Variations," which inspired Johnson to record "We Can't Stop What's Coming," the first new The The song in 15 years, for Record Store Day 2017.

This year Johnson has The The back on the road, with three previous members plus Little Barrie guitarist Barie Cadogan, and he's predicting a return to the studio for more new music in the near future...

Johnson, 57, says by phone from London that business had quite a bit to do with is decision to sideline The The. "Back in 2000 the state of the music industry was pretty perilous, and I felt I was losing a lot of my pleasure and joy with the music, I didn't want to go through the motions and fake it and dial it in. I felt I'd rather go off and do other things in my life. Months turn into years, years turn into decades, before you know it a lot of time has passed."

Nevertheless, reactivating The The -- which released six albums between 1983 and 2000 and had hits with "This is the Day," "Dogs of Lust," "Jealous of Youth" and more -- was "very effortless," according to Johnson. "I think it's age. You get older, you start to appreciate things more. You enjoy the moment, appreciate people. I'm less anxious and uptight as a person. You start to adopt a more philosophical and, I suppose, wiser approach to life. It makes doing (The The) again very refreshing, and pleasurable."

Johnson acknowledges that the book and film were responsible for prodding him back into The The, but he's happy he did not serve in an official capacity for either. "It would've have devalued them if I was a control freak telling them what to do. It wouldn't have had the authenticity. But all of that caused me to reflect on what I want to do with my life."

Johnson was also inspired by the death of his older brother and collaborator Andy "Dog" Johnson during January of 2016, while the film was being made. "I felt very galvanized to get back to doing what I loved, because none of us knows how much time we have and time goes fast," says Johnson, whose father passed away earlier this year. "I started to rediscover my love of music. I realized this is who I am, this is what I wanted to be doing. I want to be writing songs again, singing on stage and connecting with my audience again."

While he's concentrating on The The's live shows right now, Johnson is also determined to take the group back into the studio to make more new music. "I would like to maintain the momentum. I would like to keep the band together, as many of the members I can, and start to do some recording and more playing live next year. I think these guys would really do a great job in the studio, too, and I really want to keep (The The) going on an active vital way once again."

The The performs Friday, Sept. 21 at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318. W. Fourth St. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are sold out. Call 248-399-2980 or visit royaloakmusictheatre.com. The The documentary "The Inertia Variations" screens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, at Cinema Detroit, 4126 Third St., Detroit. Tickets are $12. Call 313-482-9028 or visit cinemadetroit.org.

Web Site: www.cinemadetroit.org

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