The regrouping of the Whale Music band is dead in the water. In a statement posted on the Rheostatics Facebook page, the beloved Canadian alt-rockers announced they had “regretfully” cancelled a reunion involving three shows at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern. The reason given was that lead-guitarist and vocalist Martin Tielli was “unable to perform.”
The long-running Rheostatics disbanded in 2007, following a farewell concert at Massey Hall. The poster for that show included the words “good, gone and dead,” and that epitaph appears to still hold true. “I think this is it,” Shauna de Cartier, owner of Six Shooter Records, said on Monday. “We were taking this reunion one step at a time, and we didn’t even get to the first step.”
It is believed that Tielli’s inability to perform involves his well-known battle with stage fright.
The three shows over two nights, Dec. 5 and 6, were highly anticipated, given the news that the group (which includes Dave Bidini, Tim Vesely and Dave Clark) would be premiering new material. The site of the concerts was significant. The creative, eccentric Rheostatics set standards for durability at the hometown tavern during their annual “Fall National” concert series of 12 three-hour shows over a dozen nights.