Volume 95, Issue 9

Friday, September 14, 2001
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Darrin O'Brien is as sober and soft as a snowflake

Tielli is the anti cock-rocker

Harris Files take over your TV

Shits and Giggles

Tielli is the anti cock-rocker

Rheostatic going solo

By Christopher Hodge

Martin Tielli has never been to California.

You would think at some point in every musicians lifetime, they would make the holy pilgrimage to what is often viewed as the beating heart of rock 'n roll, but not Tielli.

"I've done quite a bit of travelling" he says. "But not to any of the places I write about, like California."

Having fronted one of Canada's most renowned bands, the Rheostatics, for well over thirteen years, Tielli is now spreading his creative wings for the first time. He has decided to fly solo and has released his first independent album entitled, We didn't even suspect that he was the poppy salesman.

Tielli, who grew up with a healthy dose of Neil Young, recalls fondly his introduction into a style of music other than the macho, antagonistic cock-rock that preoccupied popular radio during his youth.

"The first time I heard him, I thought, here's someone that's not afraid to be weak and I'm weak," Tielli says, as he describes his first encounter with Young's music.

That sentiment has fueled Tielli's need to create music as true to the audience as it is to the performer. "All the music I've liked isn't telling you a lie," says Tielli. "It's not trying to convince you that the performer has some sort of extra bravado that normal humans don't possess."

Tielli carried this philososphy with him into his own personal recording studio where he developed and recorded over seventy new songs. While he polished twenty of those tracks in a formal studio, only eleven of them actually appear on his new album.

According to Tielli, the transition from live performance to studio tape is primarily concerned with getting as true a performance as possible. He follows the "four take rule," a creed he developed with the Rheostatics. "[This rule states] we won't record a song more than four times."

"Most music has a rawness to it," Tielli says. "And often the mistakes become my favorite parts."

When asked about the current state of popular music, Tielli's response is not an optimistic one. "The media wants to create a culture of uncaring gluttony," Tielli says.

As a response, Tielli has created a very intimate acoustic album, without any of the signature devices most commercial music relies on. It's just Martin with his acoustic guitar, singing about past relationships and places he's never been.

While Tielli admits the new material isn't a major deviation from the type of music the Rheostatics play, he confesses to having at least made an increased effort to be more lyrically concrete. This is evident by the complexity of story-telling involved in each song and the emphasis on production.

As for the future, Martin Tielli is already preparing for a second solo album and has recently completed the next Rheostatics album.

"I can't wait to do one album a year" Tielli says. "That's a lifetime – it's too short."

Martin Tielli plays Call the Office tomorrow night with special guest Luke Doucet. Doors open at 9 p.m., advanced tickets are $8 or $10 at the door.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001