Volume 94, Issue 1

Friday, May 12, 2000


Tea Party prepared to take on Europe

Gladiator handily conquers all

Women-only festival

Beauty redefined

I Dreamed of Africaoffers one hell of a sedative

Braxton cranks up The Heat

Tea Party prepared to take on Europe

By Matt Pearson
Gazette Staff

The road to stardom on the Canadian music scene has been a long and arduous journey for Windsor natives, the Tea Party.

"Our band has evolved," explains bassist Stuart Chatwood. "Maturity was a natural result of that evolution." While the band continues to tour for their successful fourth album,TRIPtych, they also look forward to an upcoming concert with the Calgary Symphony Orchestra. As a band, they have reached other significant milestones, including the taping of an Intimate and Interactive at MuchMusic.

Chatwood attributes many of these accomplishments to the band's longevity, which in turn is made possible by the band's creative control.

"Being in control of ourselves in regard to our artistic output leaves the door wide open for creativity and trying new things," he says.

1997's Transmission, an album rich with electronic experimentation, provides proof of that statement. When the band released TRIPtych last summer, it was clear they had taken those initial electronic flirtations one step further by introducing a range of new instruments and samples.

Chatwood admits the band actually began sampling in 1993. "All of these things are just tools for ourselves," he begins. "When we go to make a record, we try and make it as orchestrated as possible – we try to use the studio itself as a musical instrument."

Their constant willingness to break new ground has also contributed to the Tea Party's tenure as a force on the Canadian music scene. "By involving all of these different methods of creation, it breaks down limitations and leads to longevity," Chatwood says. "If we were stuck making Transmission 2 or TRIPtych 2, then I think the band's prospects would be much more dim."

Despite commercial success in Canada and Australia, there are still no definite plans for a release in the United States. "Europe has displaced America as our main effort," Chatwood explains. The reason for the band's European predisposition can be pinned on a newly acquired European agent who has already set them up with a string of shows at a number of festivals throughout the continent. Touring alongside the likes of Rage Against the Machine, Pearl Jam and Sting, at venues such as the UK's highly celebrated Reading Festival, Chatwood says the band is excited about their summer prospects. "It's going to be a huge tour of Europe this June."

The Tea Party's willingness to experiment with technology runs deeper than their albums. The band has had their own web site since 1994. As Chatwood remarks, "We wanted a simple, concise site – you go there for pertinent information and get on with your life."

However, Chatwood seems far more apprehensive when the topic of downloading MP3s arises. He equates their contemporary prevalence with the cassette tape when people first began making copies at home. "When the technology can become so simple that my mother can steal songs off the Internet, then I think there's something wrong with it," he retorts.

In response to all the recent hype about the free flow of musical ownership, the band maintains artistic control on a number of different fronts. Chatwood himself painted the cover art for the Transmission album and is also credited with conceptualizing the cover art for Triptych. "We try and keep everything in the house," he explains.

The Tea Party will play tonight in Sarnia at the Sports and Entertainment Centre.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000