Hard Rock Tuesdays: The Tea Party Reborn

It was just a few weeks ago that Hard Rock Tuesdays focused on music today and how disposable it can be. I even went as far to say that I didn’t remember when the last album came out that I could really enjoy it from start to finish. After listening to The Tea Party’s new album The Ocean At The End, I can honestly say that this album is awesome from the 1st to the last track, it truly signifies what rock and roll is all about!
I had a chat with The Tea Party’s bassist Stuart Chatwood and we discussed everything from the bands break-ups to make-ups and their evolution.

Debra Heather (DH): After having so much time apart what made you decide to get the band back together again?

Stuart Chatwood (SC): We had multiple offers every year from various promoters around the world that led our agent to inquire yearly. In 2011, we felt like trying to engage each other. We had broken up mainly to Jeff Martin falling off the rails. Jeff Burrows and I weren’t involved in his life in any way that this led to ten unproductive years. We felt it was time to get together and see if we could work things out, and head out on a more productive and artistically clear path.

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DH: Over the years, there have been many bands that break-up and get back together, do you think that the time you had apart to work on your individual projects has strengthened The Tea Party, if so in what way?

SC: This might be a good time to talk about what we did in the past. That way, Wikipedia will be accurate! hehe. I think this is true for all of us that time apart let us grow as artists.. Jeff Martin made many solo records, produced a few bands, and continued to tour the world, going to places like Greece, Turkey, and India. Jeff Burrows’ first release was with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson from Rush in the Big Dirty Band, followed by attempting to form a band with myself, Todd Kerns and Ryan Dahle called Songs from the Chapel before forming the Canadian supergroup, Crash Karma. Jeff also had a successful side career as a radio DJ. Myself, I was initially asked to play bass in the Smashing Pumpkins, in the event their quest for a female bassist was unsuccessful. I continued to work on a side project with Jeff Burrows called Art Decay, whilst release several Prince of Persia soundtracks. My main project was a New-York based company entity Knock Out Noise, and in particular co-producing and playing in a band entitled Uncommon Folk, but this record still has not been released, this is a music therapy project that created ambient folk music for sufferers of Sensory Processing Disorder(SPD). To raise awareness we created a celebrity record of people like Glen Campbell, Mavis Staples, Jakob Dylan, Robin Zander and the Blind Boys of Alabama singing over ambient versions of classic folk songs. Glen sang This Land is Your Land over a very Eno-esque soundscape. Mavis sang over Will The Circle Be Unbroken, which was my highlight, as it was me behind the desk and Mavis on the mic at a session in Chicago. Getting to co-produce these artists definitely aided my studio experience and interpersonal skills, which is half the battle. I also produced a young band from NYC called The Indecent featuring triplets and Jeff Burrows son. The were signed by Warner Bros. out of LA. During the ambient project, I produced a garage rock album with one of our music therapy advisers, the world-famous neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux(NYU), who’s research into memory and fear was the basis for idea of the movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. Right now, I am working on a great new video game called Darkest Dungeon from Red Hook Games out of Vancouver, and I have a side project called DONE.


DH: It’s been ten years first since you recorded an album together, was it a different feeling going into the studio after all this time or was it like the adage of getting back on the bicycle again?

SC: It was a bit of both. Initially, it was a case of learning to trust each other again, as I’m sure that each of us thought we knew how to properly make a record. We essentially went back to the beginning where Jeff was steering the ship, and I was the navigator and Jeff Burrows was in charge of the engine room.


DH: Let’s talk about your new album The Ocean At The End, was the creative process for this album any different than your other albums?

SC: We initially wrote some material in Australia. We each brought some ideas. Jeff Martin had a good idea about Submission and Water’s on Fire, and I brought Black Sea. Jeff Burrows and myself worked out how to forge two of my ideas into Brazil and I presented a concept for Cass Corridor. The bulk of the writing occurred by returning to our roots in Windsor and locking ourselves in a jam space for 40 hours and see what we came up with. The LoC, Cypher, 11th Hour and other’s came about through this process. Jeff Burrows brought in the original melodic ending to the Ocean at the End. Then Jeff Martin added a blue song to the beginning, and I added a Floydian bridge. Finally, Black Roses was a song we started in 2000 whilst working on Walking Wounded. We were finally able to bring that back.


DH: What would you like for your fans both old and new to take away from The Ocean At The End?

SC: We hope that they see it as we do. A magical album that takes listeners on a journey and is a continuation of the bands career, whilst evolving forward.

DH: What can fans who haven’t seen you perform live expect from your upcoming shows?

SC: For anyone that picks up a new record, it will be good for them, as we’ll be playing a lot of new material for the first time in a long while. This record is good enough that the songs stand up against the prior hit songs we’ve had in our 20-year career. Most people that see us for the first-time comment that they cannot believe the sound that comes out of three members. Come check us out live…


DH: Any famous last words for Montreal Rampage readers?

SC: If you like rock music, and you enjoy listening to an album from start to finish, the look no further. There are not many bands nowadays that embrace the past without pandering towards it. If you love Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who, then you owe it to yourself to check out the new record. Go preview it on iTunes or stream it on Spotify.


“Musicians want to be the loud voice for so many quiet hearts”-Billy Joel

The Tea Party performs at Metropolis on November 28. To send an email to Debra, contact her at [email protected]