Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida goes solo

Singer talks about making music and supporting charity

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Raine Maida

Jonas Hrebeniuk

Every once in a while, a washed up rocker tries to salvage his or her career by releasing a solo album. Raine Maida is an exception.

The frontman of Canadian band Our Lady Peace played Cowboys Ranch on Sunday night in support of his record, The Hunter’s Lullaby.

“It’s one of those things that has been brewing for a while,” Maida says of the album. “A solo thing for me was supposed to be different [than Our Lady Peace].”

For a musician who also dabbles in producing, the way the record was made was entirely different from what he was used to.

“Usually I sit down with an acoustic [guitar] and a tape recorder, start strumming some chords, singing some melodies, and a song is born out of all that mess. These were all poems as well as me sitting at the console in my studio, then I programmed beats to them. The last thing I did was pick up a guitar.”

As for his bandmates in OLP, Maida can’t say for sure how they feel about his solo efforts, but is confident they have no reason to be upset.

“I didn’t disrespect [the band] in the sense of making a solo record that could have been Our Lady Peace. It wasn’t about that. It was a different expression; I almost see it as a different art form. It’s different enough that I don’t think it threatens the band.”

But have no fear: Our Lady Peace is not gone. The band gets together every few months to write and record new songs. With many tracks already down, the next OLP album " the band’s last with its current record label " is taking shape.

“The new songs sound like when we were writing and rehearsing before we had a record deal, before Naveed,” Maida says, referencing the band’s first album from 1995, while hinting at what to expect from the new album.

Something else that’s new to Maida: MySpace, where he polled his fans on what they wanted to hear prior to his tour. Despite its usefulness, Maida is quick to point out a fundamental problem with the website popular among bands that promote themselves.

“You just gotta play guitar and write songs, and [MySpace] is distracting. Someone spending 10 hours on MySpace everyday trying to get new fans rather than spending 10 hours writing new songs; there’s a bit of a disconnect there.”

Despite his rockstar persona, the former University of Toronto student has a surprisingly down-to-earth side.

“I started out with economics and poli-sci. I was just going to school, I had no clue what I was going to do, but I was doing music the whole time as well, and I got lucky.”

Getting lucky is one way to put it. In the winter semester of Maida’s third year, Our Lady Peace was offered a record contract. For the then-unknown singer, the decision was simple: “I figured school was always going to be there.

“I think getting an education is important, but if you don’t know what you want to do, a lot of time is wasted blowing your parents’ cash and getting drunk every day at school.”

Music is just one aspect of Maida’s life. In 2000, he was approached by the founders of the organization WarChild to work on a documentary in Iraq. Today, he continues to work with WarChild and other charitable organizations.

“It’s such a pure grassroots organization,” Maida says. “It really changed my attitude about being involved with a charitable organization.”

The Toronto-born musician is more than just talk when it comes to charity. The music video for his song “Yellow Brick Road” is a collection of video clips of him raising money to build a school in the Congo.

“I basically just busked around Toronto for 12 hours. Our goal was to raise $30,000. We raised $22,000 that day ... We’re going back to the Congo at the end of May to put the finishing touches on the school.”

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