It’s been eight years since Jeff Martin, Stuart Chatwood and Jeff Burrows – aka Canadian 'Morrocan-roll'band the Tea Party – parted ways. Now, the band is back together, and their Reformation Tour is headed our way in July. Time Out had a cuppa with the Tea Party in Glebe to talk to the guys about...
...breaking up and making up
Stuart Chatwood: “Earlier on in our careers there was passion about the music. As years passed, that passion got replaced with other things. We wanted to get back to the passion, so that’s why we reformed: to recapture some of the magic that we had on our first three records.”
Jeff Martin: “Every single year that went by while we were apart, obviously there was still a demand for the band, a very grand demand, but the wounds were still fresh. And then it just came around that our agents in Canada got in contact with the three of us, and I think it was more of a telepathic collective decision, like, 'Hey, let's give this a try and see if we can make this work.' We got together in a rehearsal space in Toronto in June of last year, and first song in it was like, 'Yep, the magic is still there.' And it’s great, because every time we’ve gotten back together since June, the friendship is coming back too. It’s a wonderful thing.”
...whether they’ll be recording a new album
Jeff Burrows: “I think touring and playing live is quite easy, because the crowd is there and all three of us respect the crowd so much because they’ve been with us throughout the years. With the recording, it’s just about building respect amongst each other, so that takes a little more time.”
JM: “If we make new music again, and there’s the hope that we will, it has to be better than what we’ve done in the past, and that’s a big, big call. But it’s something that I believe the three of us can rise to and do.”
... their Middle Eastern influences
JM: “I was a Beatles fanatic when I was younger, but I was only into the early Beatles – without the beards. Then, around 11 years old, I got into Sgt Pepper’s, and when George Harrison played the sitar, that’s when I first heard Indian music. When we started writing music for the Tea Party, I started fiddling with different tunings to make my guitar sound like those instruments and that’s how that influence started to come through in the rock'n'roll. Then with The Edges of Twilight [the band's third album] we used all of our budget to basically buy an exotic music store. We had all these instruments shipped to the studio in LA and we didn’t know how to play half of them but we did.”
...why they keep coming back to Australia
JB: “We love flying [laughs].”
SC: “Australia has very passionate audiences. We tend to go places where we’re asked, and there is a tremendous demand here, so we’re blessed. We play in Montreal in Canada and there are very passionate crowds there, and we’ve only experienced that in a few places, but every city in Australia has been like that.”
JB: “It’s really strange, the reception you get. If people are willing to invest that much emotion into what we do, then we’re more than willing to give it back.”
... what to expect from their Australian tour
JM: “Because a lot of the [Middle Eastern] instruments are here in Australia, we’re thinking of bringing those into the fold for the Australian tour. A lot of the Australian fans have been following what we’ve done in Canada, and they’re excited enough about that, but we’re never the type of band to rest on our laurels; we always want to push it. So we’ll see how our rehearsals go and we’ll see what we can put into the tea pot.”
SC: “It’s that... or pyro."