Sweaty pubs were good training

MORE than two decades after forming, Australia remains one of Canadian rock outfit The Tea Party's strongest markets.

When quizzed about this, besides joking about our "impeccable taste", frontman Jeff Martin attributed such success to hard graft during their formative years.

"In '93 or '94 when we first came here, it (rock music) was still the heartbeat of Australia," he said in his Canadian drawl.

Canadian rock act The Tea Party will return to the Illawarra next month.

Canadian rock act The Tea Party will return to the Illawarra next month.

"You had to be able to cut it live in those pubs, the sweaty pubs. You had to be able to slam it in those pubs to gain the respect of audiences."

That early dedication, which included residencies in Sydney and Melbourne, paid dividends for the trio; not only helping build a loyal audience, but honing their musical chops too.

"If you were a great live band (back then), everybody found out about it," Martin said.

"The Tea Party is one of the great live bands in the world, and I'm proud to say that."

Their army of fans continue to agree.

The successful 2012 Australian Reformation Tour, which took place after more than a half-decade hiatus, reminded Martin (vocals/guitars), Stuart Chatwood (bass/keyboards) and Jeff Burrows (drums/percussion) of their tangible chemistry.

Martin engaged in a variety of assorted projects during their downtime.

The aforementioned shows eventually paved the way for The Ocean at the End - the '70s rock, blues and progressive-influenced trio's first studio album in 10 years.

Recorded during an 18-month period at Toronto's Revolution Studios, it was produced by Martin.

The vocalist - who nowadays resides primarily in Fremantle and Sydney - acknowledged the pressures of living up to their legacy.

"We aimed to make sure this record could stand shoulder-to-shoulder, at least, with everything we've done in our past.

"We believe we've created something that is actually where we are now - it's the best musical statement that we can make in 2014."

Martin said lessons the respective members learnt while they splintered off from the band influenced the new material.

"We've always been equals as musicians, but we were now equals in the studio and as performers," he enthused.

"I was always used to being … I still am in some sense, the captain of the ship.

"(But) them being actual sounding boards in the studio, it made the whole experience of recording this album much more pleasurable."

His band-mates also partially inspired the album's more guitar-oriented direction.

"I've used various instruments, keyboards and exotic instruments to compose songs.

"They said, 'dude, you're one of the best rock guitar players in the world - just play guitar'.

"I did it, and I remembered it was fun."

The ensuing album tour marks The Tea Party's 14th Australian visit. Supporting the band will be Australian rock act The Superjesus, who also recently reformed after 10 years.

The Tea Party

plus guests The Superjesus


Saturday, October 18