Wild About Harry.
The Tea Party play the Nambour RSL on February 8, instore at Skinny’s from 2pm on February 9 and Festival Hall the same night.
The Tea Party love Australia, and the feeling is pretty much mutual. In preparation for yet another busy tour playing to thousands of devoted followers, main man Jeff Martin is taking some R&R in Perth with some fresh air and good vibes.
“I'm kind of doing things the right way right now,” he says, and sounds like it with that too-cool laidback style. “I'm just totally recharging my batteries, ya know. I went down south to Margaret River, had that whole spiritual wake-up call, it was great.”
A few bottles of wine and you're ready to go.
“Yeah I'm very much looking forward to it. If the tour in Germany is any indication of what the next year is gonna be like for us then I'm pretty excited because the band has always been very strong live but I don't think The Tea Party has ever played better. I think a lot of it has to do with the infusion of excitement again with the new material.”
Any secret to capturing the live power on record?
“The secret was to allow Jeff Burrows absolute freedom, I mean I'm probably his biggest fan, if he's not THE best rock drummer going right now then he's one of the top three. And I think with this record he really, just, shines. All the rhythms are so intricate but it's just so sexy. I think that was the secret; that was the philosopher's stone. There I got my Harry Potter reference in there,” he laughs.
Yes, appear on stage with an owl and some little round glasses.
“(laughing) Yeah, okay.”
I'm not convinced but I live in hope. How about people covering The Tea Party?
“There's that American band, what're they called? Creed. They're big fans of The Tea Party and I think they cover one of our songs in their show.”
Yikes. Is that good?
“Yeah, it's just like, whatever. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The guitar player is really into what I do ‘cause we did a tour with them in the States before they really broke, we were on the same bill. I showed the guitar player some tunings and different things, the whole Middle Eastern vibe, and so now it's funny when you get new singles and you hear little Tea Party catches,” he laughs.
Get him to send you some royalties, how many albums are they selling?
“Yeah please, it's ridiculous, it's that whole middle America, man, I just don't understand it.”
How about Perth? What's the attraction there?
“The attraction is a very, very beautiful lady. She's been a part of my life for a long time, so I have family here and I'm just spending the holidays with them and really enjoying myself.”
Getting used to a summer Christmas? Santa wearing sunnies?
“Only way to do it my friend. After doing 20 years of Christmases in Canada where it snows up to your nose.”
Embracing the Aussie lifestyle, good stuff. And thank God you're playing Festival Hall here, blast away my memories of Train.
“We're gonna put on a great show, I think the Tea Party show now is a little over two hours. One thing we're gonna do in the middle is some really obscure acoustic stuff that we haven't done in a while, like The Badger. So we'll have an acoustic interlude in the middle then bring the house down again.”
Can you give away any planned special moments?
“They're all special moments, man! (laughs) Just rest assured that if you've got your favourite Tea Party concerts in the past, this one will by far exceed them. We're in negotiations right now with a couple of production companies to get surround sound live in Festival Hall, so there would be no escaping it.”
5.1 channel surround sound sure works on the DVD.
"When I remixed all the material in 5.1 it almost seemed that since day one of the Tea Party I'd be producing the band for 5.1 but never knew what it was until the technology came around. All of a sudden there was this beautiful space to work from within.”
“Yeah totally, the way that I approached it anyway. What I did is I used the centre points of the 5.1 situation so that basically you're listening to music like I hear it in my head.”
Seems like the way it should've always been done.
“It does, yeah. (laughs) It's just that people hadn't approached it that way.”
I guess we'll all have to wait to find out if the music in Jeff Martin's head is as good as he says it is.