The Tea Party
The Tea Party (1990-2005, 2011-present): a Progressive Rock band from Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
The Tea Party was formed in 1990 by Jeff Martin (vocals/guitar/sitar/sarod/oud/banjo/mandolin/dumbek/hurdy-gurdy/esraj/percussion/theremin), Stuart Chatwood (bass/guitar/keyboard/harmonium/mandolin/tambura/cello/lap steel guitar/bass pedals) and Jeff Burrows (drum kit/percussion/djembe/goblet drums/tabla) after a marathon jam session at the Cherry Beach Rehearsal Studios in Toronto. This line-up has remined stable thus far through their history. Each member had previously played together during their teenage years in a number of different bands in Windsor, Ontario, where they were originally from. They had decided to name their new group The Tea Party after the infamous hash sessions of famous Beat generation poets Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs.
The Tea Party released their eponymous debut album in 1991, distributing it through their own label 'Eternal Discs', drawing influences from psychedelic rock and blues. The album was produced by Martin; a role he would continue with for all of the band's albums as a way of giving the band complete artistic control. In 1993 The Tea Party signed to 'EMI Music Canada' and released their first major label recording, Splendor Solis later that same year.
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Further developing The Tea Party's sound came in 1995's The Edges of Twilight by featuring an array of Indian and Middle-eastern instrumentation. Sister Awake, the third single from the album, defines what the band set out to do, combining three-piece rock compositions with music from around the world.
In 1996, The Tea Party became the first Canadian band to play the main stage at Lollapalooza.
Alhambra (1996), an enhanced EP CD featuring acoustic re-recordings of songs from The Edges of Twilight followed with a brief tour of Canada called Alhambra Acoustic and Eclectic. English folk musician Roy Harper appeared reciting a poem and on Alhambra itself providing vocals for the song Time.
Transmission (1997) saw The Tea Party's first foray into electronica with a sampled world music foundation and thrust. Transmission was a collection of aggressive songs influenced by upheavals around the band; the firing of their management and the feeling of a lack of support from their record company.
The band then released a singles compilation called Tangents: The Tea Party Collection (2000). This would be followed by Triptych (1999), the first single Heaven Coming Down rising to 1 on Canadian radio. Their music took on a more orchestral sound, maturing from the blues base. Live at the Enmore Theater, the band's first live album was released through Australian radio station Triple J during the band's tour for Triptych in 1999. In the fall The Tea Party toured in western Canada with Edwin.
The Interzone Mantras (2001) and Seven Circles (2004) followed; these two albums showing the band returning to their earlier sound with maturity.
In October 2005, The Tea Party disbanded citing creative differences, with Martin abruptly announcing he was beginning a solo career.
Burrows joined Rush's Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, and other Canadian musicians as drummer in the one-off project the Big Dirty Band as well as presenting the midday shift on The Rock, a radio station in Windsor. In 2008 Burrows announced that he, Edwin, Mike Turner and Amir Epstein would form Crash Karma, recording their debut album in early 2009.
Martin moved to Ireland and recorded his debut solo album Exile and the Kingdom in Canada and Australia in 2006. He would follow it up with Live in Brisbane (2006) and Live in Dublin (2007). In August 2008, Martin announced the formation of his new band, The Armada an act that only lasted until 2010 with Martin founding a new band, Jeff Martin 777 with Jay Cortez on bass and Malcolm Clark on drums. Their debut album The Ground Cries Out was released on March 1 in Canada and made it to 51 in the Canadian Albums Chart.
In 2011, the band re-united to play several Canadian tour dates during the summer. During one of those shows in Lévis, Quebec, the band had implied that they were going to be back together permanently. This eventually did happen resulting in The Ocean at the End (2014), Black River EP (2019), Blood Moon Rising (EU & Russia only) (2021) and Sunshower EP (2021) added to their discography.
On April 26, 2020 The Tea Party published a newly recorded cover of Joy Division's Isolation to their YouTube account.
Several tours would ensure, delayed only by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2022, The Tea Party would perform at the Burlington Sound of Music festival.
Footnote: In September 2011, Yahoo! reported that groups associated with the US political 'Tea Party' movement were trying to purchase the band's domain name. Chatwood stated "So much damage has been done to our name by the political movement that we're considering selling (The domain)" It was estimated the band could sell the domain for over $1M US. The band purchased the domain in 1993, and has since added the phrase "No politics... Just Rock and Roll" to their site in order to distance themselves from the political movement. The band ended off not accepting any offers.
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The Tea Party in 2018 (from left to right: Stuart Chatwood, Jeff Burrows and Jeff Martin).
Photo by: MonicaLewis1371
(CC BY-SA 4.0)
Dashboard for The Tea Party
Artists Linked to The Tea Party
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