The Tea Party: Why do they suck?

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You'd think that I'd be able to at least feel a tiny bit of warmth for anyone so wholeheartedly devoted to Zeppelin worship, be able to see at least something there, but I can't muster any, not even a bit, not even to piss someone off. It's not even like they're shallow about it - they go whole hog and even explore 'Eastern' musics and trad English folk melodies and what not, which should also appeal to me, but it always just comes off so lame and empty. They had that song where they used the exact same violin figure as in "Kashmir" except . . . it sounded good in "Kashmir". They do have a fair-sized, diverse catalogue and a devoted fanbase, including many well-informed people, but it's totally lost on me. "Angel" was probably their most tolerable moment for me, and the produced feedback all over the track was kind of neat, you know, except that . . . there was still a Tea Party song on top of it. I even like Jim Morrison's voice some of the time but I can't stand Geoff Martin's at all. Their set at Downsview Park was just unbearable - at least I can partly explain why in this case - 'cause, you know, they just sucked, like they weren't even together or in key or anything. But I can't even enjoy them on the radio even as much as I can deal with the Cult, the band they remind me of most.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Saturday, 13 September 2003 17:56 (seventeen years ago) link

But anyway, I guess the question is what exactly is it that they're doing wrong that makes me so turned off by them. (Not that being an overblown, half-proficient revival of the most overplayed bands from 30 years ago crossed with simplistic elements from contemporary alt-rock is a great idea to begin with but still you'd think that would be at least bearable.) This might not be the right board to ask but whatever.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Saturday, 13 September 2003 17:58 (seventeen years ago) link

i was just listening to the tea party not 10 minutes ago.

i guess we both have similar problems, only with a few things reversed. i like the tea party, but even considering all the points you made about why they suck (i agree), i still like them (at least their earlier, heavier stuff (edges of twilight and transmission albums).

i was into them most likely because they were the most accessable taste of eastern culture for a teen in the suburbs of ontario. growing up here, the only sources of the mysterious sounds of the east were the tea party, VISION television on sunday mornings and some led zep cds in my friends parents basement.

astroblaster (astroblaster), Saturday, 13 September 2003 18:26 (seventeen years ago) link

essential songs, if you want to try and see it through my eyes are sister awake and the bazaaar.

i also want to add the disney movie aladin to my list from the last message.

astroblaster (astroblaster), Saturday, 13 September 2003 18:33 (seventeen years ago) link

The Tea Party = Canadian New Model Army?

I don't know much about either band, but in a weird way they seem like similar bands. Neither one seems to be known by many in the US, which may or may not be a good thing. I've read about both, but heard neither.

earlnash, Saturday, 13 September 2003 20:36 (seventeen years ago) link

the real problem is that jeff martin guy is a pretentious fuckhead.

he always goes on in interviews how he's making 'important' music and talks about the tea party alongside the likes of radiohead and jeff buckley, and even does a boring arse cover of 'the last goodbye'.

Mil, Saturday, 13 September 2003 22:50 (seventeen years ago) link

I think it has something to do with Jim Morrison.

Shmuel (shmuel), Sunday, 14 September 2003 07:46 (seventeen years ago) link

It's partly the fact that Jeff Martin's moaned in interviews about how everyone else at school liked Led Zep and he didn't, but a lot of Tea Party still sounds like Jim Morrison singing on Physical Graffiti anyway.

Damian (Damian), Sunday, 14 September 2003 09:06 (seventeen years ago) link

Don't get me started.
I don't want typer's cramp.

peepee (peepee), Monday, 15 September 2003 00:43 (seventeen years ago) link

But Sundar, I think the problem is that they *are* shallow about it. They may go "deep" into things musically, but it's all a pose. Like that's what the great book of Rock n' Roll rules told them was requisite to get the chicks and the cred or something. All that might (maybe...) be fine if it didn't show - but it so does.

Kim (Kim), Monday, 15 September 2003 00:52 (seventeen years ago) link

Well, you saw them play & so you probably puked too when he went "I am jesus jesus jesus!"

sucka (sucka), Monday, 15 September 2003 04:48 (seventeen years ago) link

like they weren't even together or in key or anything.

This explains most of why they suck. The second is their posturing, they started as The Doors, second album the became a Zepplin cover band. Both of those albums were just classic rock takes on what the Strokes have been doing as of late with trendier bands. If you hate the Strokes, chances are your feeling the same for the Tea Party.

Mr Noodles (Mr Noodles), Monday, 15 September 2003 13:11 (seventeen years ago) link

I have no problems with their earlier stuff like Edges of Twilight or Transmission. Sure, Led Zep with Jim Morrison singing, great! EoT is such a well-produced, refreshing sounding album too...very warm, big open Bonham drums. Listing all the 30+ 'ethnic' instruments they used on that album was a bit, erm, unnecessary though.

The last couple of albums I've heard though, all the songs sound the same to me (with a couple of exceptions). It's a big wash of overblown SERIOUS ROCK MUSIC with a string section. You can almost feel Jeff Martin writhing against the indignity of only being a rock star in CANADA.

I'm still more than happy to listen to 'Turn the Lamp Down Low', 'Save Me', 'Inanna', or 'Temptation' though.

Jordan (Jordan), Monday, 15 September 2003 13:30 (seventeen years ago) link

God, you have reminded me that they have sucked from the moment they started!
Do you not SEE!
Those 4 songs are prime examples of their



Mr Noodles (Mr Noodles), Monday, 15 September 2003 16:37 (seventeen years ago) link

Aw, such a fragile flower you are...

Kim (Kim), Monday, 15 September 2003 21:36 (seventeen years ago) link

This thread is long overdue! I have always hated this band and although they've got some Canadian fans, the majority of people know how crappy they are.

What's weird though is that they are HUGE in Australia. I've actually gotten into a heated disagreement with some Aussies who insist that they are indeed great.

I guess Australia is how far they had to go from home before they could fool enough people into liking them.

Getting back to the original question, I don't know. It could be the shameless aping of all the worst elements of classic rock or the way that Jeff Martin pretends to get upset whenever someone mentions the resemblance to Jim Morrison but seems to go out of his way to play it up.

They just suck.

J-rock (Julien Sandiford), Tuesday, 16 September 2003 08:56 (seventeen years ago) link

two years pass...
The Aussies must have a "thing" for Canadian culture, J-rock - The Beachcombers was apparently a top-rated series there, no lie! (Wonder how "Trailer Park Boys" would be received there? ;)

I still like their first 3.5 records a lot (each of which showed a true progression/expansion of its predecessor), but gotta say that I TOTALLY agree with most of the negative accusations and empathize with the haters on this thread. Jeff Martin is indeed a colossal dick. But I've never let any performer's particular assholery interfere with whatever enjoyment of their music I get - that would surely eliminate a huge percentage of my collection. So I stand by my assessment: A band of infinite height and width to more than make up for the complete absence of depth. (At least, for 3.5 albums.)

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Friday, 10 February 2006 09:19 (fourteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...
Sextape with Buck 65 and four Lower Sackville exotic dancers to follow

Former Tea Party singer Jeff Martin returns with new record, new friends Sextape with Buck 65 and four Lower Sackville exotic dancers to follow
By Angela Pacienza
TORONTO (CP) — After dumping his Tea Party bandmates and fleeing to the Irish countryside, Jeff Martin returned to the Canadian music scene this week armed with a solo album and some new friends.
Citing creative differences, Martin parted ways with the rock band last fall after nine albums and 15 years together.
“We were a band of brothers,” Martin said in an interview at a downtown coffee shop. “After 15 years we just naturally started to drift apart. The three of us wanted different things.”
Martin returned to Toronto for Canadian Music Week to launch his new solo career to industry executives, music journalists and fans.
He formed the Tea Party with bassist Stuart Chatwood and drummer Jeff Burrows in 1990. They were best known for their eastern-influenced rock songs, which included Sister Awake and Heaven Coming Down.
“It wasn’t an amiable breakup whatsoever, but time heals all and eventually I look forward to maybe someday us being friends again. As far as a music future is concerned, it’s right there,” he said, pointing to Page & Plant drummer Michael Lee seated across the table.
Lee said he was thrilled to work with Martin, saying they share the same opinions on music, religion and politics.
“This is the new (Led) Zeppelin. I don’t mind saying it,” gushed Lee, an Englishman who’s currently based in Dubai.
“I don’t have to sell this as the next best thing ’cuz I know it is.”
Martin knew Lee from his Tea Party days when the band opened for Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.
Recorded over eight days last December in Ireland, Exile and the Kingdom has Martin returning to his early days when he was belting out blues-rock at bars in Windsor, Ont.
But the music won’t be too startling for Martin loyalists, as his deep tenor is intact, and he’s kept the exotic influences using percussionist Ritesh Das of the Toronto Tabla Ensemble.
“With the last two Tea Party records . . . the pressure from the record companies for the band to be more commercial, we started to lose our soul. This record is packed full of soul,” said the still-brawny Martin, who was set to perform the new material for the first time at a concert Friday night.
“If you’re truly a lover of music and not one of these people who listen to music because of fashion, this is the real deal.”
The album will be released April 11 in Canada. It includes The World Is Calling — essentially an open letter to U.S. President George W. Bush — and Daystar, a tender love song dedicated to his year-old son Django.
Martin says he was keen to explore the human soul in this album and leave the brooding behind.
“This whole combination of family, friends . . . what it’s done for me is reborn me. I got off the drugs. My mind is focused on family, friends, music — that’s it,” said Martin, now a permanent resident of Ireland.
“As opposed to the Tea Party’s music which was really dark and introspective, this record is just packed full of joy and love. You actually hear sunlight.”
But he’s eager to add that he hasn’t completely softened.
“I haven’t lost my edge,” he said.
Martin plans to tour the new album this summer. He’s also starting another project with Lee. He’s been asked to write lyrics to about 16 songs that Lee wrote with Jimmy Page a couple of years ago.

Huk-L (Huk-L), Friday, 3 March 2006 18:27 (fourteen years ago) link

“This is the new (Led) Zeppelin. I don’t mind saying it,” gushed Lee, an Englishman who’s currently based in Dubai.


Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 3 March 2006 18:33 (fourteen years ago) link

the still-brawny Martin

Huk-L (Huk-L), Friday, 3 March 2006 18:38 (fourteen years ago) link

He may be off the drugs, but I bet he's still an uber-pretentious fucktard.

Brooker Buckingham (Brooker B), Friday, 3 March 2006 18:43 (fourteen years ago) link

They released nine albums?!!!

Thermo Thinwall (Thermo Thinwall), Friday, 3 March 2006 18:51 (fourteen years ago) link

That Page & Plant dude is a good ass drummer.

Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 3 March 2006 18:52 (fourteen years ago) link

Well, Jeff Martin likes his ass drummed, from what I've heard, so he's in luck!

Huk-L (Huk-L), Friday, 3 March 2006 18:53 (fourteen years ago) link

He may be off the drugs, but I bet he's still an uber-pretentious fucktard.

Now he's a self-righteous uber-pretentious fucktard.

Myonga Von Bontee (Myonga Von Bontee), Friday, 3 March 2006 20:01 (fourteen years ago) link

They released nine albums?!!!

My thoughts exactly!

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Friday, 3 March 2006 20:09 (fourteen years ago) link

Martin's new project sounds like the most pretentious thing ever. That probably didn't need to be said -- y'all knew that.

NoTimeBeforeTime (Barry Bruner), Friday, 3 March 2006 20:10 (fourteen years ago) link

one month passes...
tea party stinks, plain and simple.

the sheik, Sunday, 23 April 2006 17:57 (fourteen years ago) link

I've heard nothing from or about this band, but I can only imagine them as the complete complement to The Birthday Party just because of the name... just everything that Nick Cave and angsty dark punk is not.. or something like that.

DOQQUN (donut), Sunday, 23 April 2006 20:51 (fourteen years ago) link

Nine Albums:

1: S/T
2: Splendour Solis
3: The Edges Of Twilight
4: Alhambra (a live CD EP)
5: Transmission
6: Triptych
7: Tangents (a best of)
8: The Interzone Mantras
9: Seven Circles

I still hear "Heaven's Coming Down" at the YMCA.

Owen Pallett (Owen Pallett), Monday, 24 April 2006 08:23 (fourteen years ago) link

Also, Stuart Chatwood made all the music for Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time.

Owen Pallett (Owen Pallett), Monday, 24 April 2006 08:24 (fourteen years ago) link

seriously? that's so weird.

are you a fan, owen?

sean gramophone (Sean M), Monday, 24 April 2006 08:59 (fourteen years ago) link

When I was 14, everyone I knew was a fan. Canrock was a force! I put "Save Me" on mixtapes.

Owen Pallett (Owen Pallett), Monday, 24 April 2006 09:17 (fourteen years ago) link

i always preferred Treblecharger. i was a wuss.

sean gramophone (Sean M), Monday, 24 April 2006 09:22 (fourteen years ago) link

No. Treblecharger were good. There was a double bill at my highschool with them and Hayden. I'm pretty sure a 16-year old Amanda Rowley booked it (she now works for Arts and Crafts).

The Tea Party, on the other hand, were mostly worthless.

In comparison to all the other Canrock bands of the time, they were definitely the most experimental. Right up until "The Edges Of Twilight", they were an eclectic, sonically interesting band. The songs were unfortunately marred by trite attempts at "mystic lyrics", not to mention poor performance practise on the exotic instruments they used so often.

I would honestly commend two or three songs off of "Edges Of Twilight" to be as good as Dead Can Dance at their peak. Perhaps a dubious honour, but the sound was refreshing on The Edge in 1995 when sandwiched between I Mother Earth and Hole.

Then, with Transmission, Jeff Martin took the reins as producer, and the sound became overtracked and lost any of the small charms it once retained.

Owen Pallett (Owen Pallett), Monday, 24 April 2006 09:59 (fourteen years ago) link

haha, Amanda Rowley at 16 sounds awesome. At our high school we had Darcy The Singing Policeman. I think that was the height of our rockin'. Oh and a rock band with a bunch of our teachers. They played Elvis covers. Mr MacGregor knew how to swivel those aging hips, for real.

The last (only?) Tea Party song I remember liking is "Sister Awake". I was not a very goth kid but that video and the death's head vocals made me very happy.

sean gramophone (Sean M), Monday, 24 April 2006 10:19 (fourteen years ago) link

from the Wikipedia page (re Edges of Twilight):

The album also includes a hidden song which features a spoken word performance by folk legend Roy Harper, who is a personal friend of the band.

Seriously!? That is doubly weird!

I think I saw the band muddle through one of those Ottawa tulip fest/canada day gigs and it was awful. nothing like the really surprisingly awesome performance by (good god) Big Sugar.

sean gramophone (Sean M), Monday, 24 April 2006 10:23 (fourteen years ago) link

I was never a big fan of the Big Sugar recordings, but live (at least early on) they was pretty primo.

peepee (peepee), Monday, 24 April 2006 18:02 (fourteen years ago) link

a complete aside, but last year i sold a sealed copy of their self-released first CD for over $200 on ebay. when i was a teen, my mom dated Jeff Burrows' dad, and i had stacked of that CD... gave em all away of course, but kept two.

that's so taylrr (ken taylrr), Monday, 24 April 2006 18:28 (fourteen years ago) link

Ahhhh......I still remember the young girls swooning at the feet of Jeffy as he emoted @ The Coach.

peepee (peepee), Monday, 24 April 2006 21:38 (fourteen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
I have been a fan for 9 years now and I fully grasp that it's not everyone's music.......but, you have to accept that apart from their last "commercial" albums, they had a great sound and a heralding darkness of prose that spoke to our inner personas. I don't know about him personally being a fuckhead?, although I did meet him backstage a couple of times, but he is intellegent and knowledgable guy....I have to give him that. I asked him some pretty deep questions and his answers blew me out of the room. Surely even a fuckhead can be humbled by getting off the drugs, starting over musically and having a child! Give him a never truly know anyone until you have walked a mile in their shoes and besides, I personally feel that he has tried hard as he could to stay true to his music and when he felt it was all going awry......he got out! You guys are harsh! Soften up some eh?

Nehema, Thursday, 11 May 2006 03:04 (fourteen years ago) link

I'm trying to figure out if Google linked up permanently with ILX over the last couple of days.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 11 May 2006 03:16 (fourteen years ago) link

Their darkness of prose heralded my inner persona? Somehow I never got that call.

(Sundar u rule)

Kim (Kim), Thursday, 11 May 2006 03:20 (fourteen years ago) link

four years pass...

these guys are total dicks imo

it's always random in wackydelphia (history mayne), Wednesday, 3 November 2010 01:15 (nine years ago) link

One of the worst bands I ever heard.

Algerian Goalkeeper, Wednesday, 3 November 2010 01:16 (nine years ago) link

eight years pass...

I was recommended their song "Psychopomp" and am really digging it. shame the singer's big-headed in every sense of the word.

D. Joe, Tuesday, 19 March 2019 19:36 (one year ago) link

There are a bunch of jams on that album.

Simon H., Tuesday, 19 March 2019 19:43 (one year ago) link

I like “Correspondences”

flamboyant goon tie included, Wednesday, 20 March 2019 01:21 (one year ago) link

I wrote upthread kind of nastily about this band but I actually still put on Edges Of Twilight sometimes

There is a kind of hipster bar in Toronto and in 2008 or thereabouts, my friend Duncan was hosting this recurring night there. Management went to Duncan as he was onstage with the band and told him that Jeff Martin was there and wanted to get onstage and play a song. Duncan iirc was somewhat hesitant but decided to just go for it. Jeff Martin came onstage and began playing “Jammin’”. And a certain point Duncan repressed his giggling enough to lean over to a live mic and say “listen to what the wise man is saying”

flamboyant goon tie included, Wednesday, 20 March 2019 01:26 (one year ago) link

Sounds about right.

Simon H., Wednesday, 20 March 2019 03:28 (one year ago) link

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