By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express
One of Canada’s biggest bands of the 90s is coming to Oshawa.
The Tea Party is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its landmark album The Edges of Twilight, which launched the band on to the national scene.
Speaking from a New York recording studio, bassist and multi-instrumentalist Stuart Chatwood says the band was trying to put something together that would sound just as good in 1995 as it would in future years.
“Musically and artistically, we didn’t really get caught up in grunge music, which probably would’ve dated us in the mid-90s when the album was created,” Chatwood tells The Oshawa Express. “I think one of the goals of The Tea Party when we started this was to create timeless music. I mean, our heroes were Led Zeppelin, and their albums are still very much relevant, I think. People are still discovering them.”
Chatwood says another reason many people remember that album when they think of The Tea Party is because that this was the album where the band’s signature sound, with world music influences, was truly defined.
“On our first album, we had goals of playing world music and bringing in these instruments to a rock setting, but we didn’t have the financial means to make that happen as far as instrument acquisition, nor learn how to play them proficiently,” Chatwood says. “By the time Edges of Twilight came together, we had purchased quite a few instruments. We had a FedEx shipment arriving every other day from this store in Seattle, another music store in Saint-Raphaël…you know, just these different sources from around the world. That sort of created The Tea Party sound.”
The album would go on to be a big success in Canada, gaining double platinum status after selling more than 160,000 copies, as well as garnering the band several Juno nominations.
The band would go on to put out several more albums before splitting up in 2005, citing creative differences. Chatwood would go on to compose the soundtrack music to the Prince of Persia videogame series, while singer Jeff Martin moved to Ireland to begin a solo career. Drummer Jeff Burrows returned home to Windsor to run the mid-day shift on The Rock, a local radio station, before forming the band Crash Karma in 2009.
However, six years later in 2011, the trio would set aside their differences and get The Tea Party back together, going back on tour and releasing a new album, The Ocean at the End, last year.
Chatwood says the band plans on recording more new music, and wants to look further back in time to find influences.
“We’d like to go back to the 20s, the 1920s, to the birth of the blues to see if there’s anything that people have missed, whether it’s skimming over for their influences…we can take advantage of the fact that we have access to the world’s music catalogue now,” he says. “Like I can go hear obscure B-sides from the 30s that (musicians like) Eric Burdon or Ray Davies might not have had the opportunity to hear.”
The Tea Party will be playing a sold-out show at The Regent Theatre tomorrow, Sept. 10, starting at 8 p.m. The band is set to play The Edges of Twilight in its entirety, as well as many other songs from the band’s catalogue.