The Tea Party is currently on tour across Canada playing to sold out audiences and will be hitting Kelowna’s Community Theatre Monday March 27. We were fortunate to talk to Tea Party drummer Jeff Burrows as he prepared for another sold out show in Red Deer yesterday.
nightMair Creative: Hi Jeff, thanks for the interview. How has the tour been so far?
Jeff Burrows: Amazing. Its probably more fun to do this now than it was when the album first came out, in a manner of speaking. I mean that was quite exciting of course but having the opportunity now to play all the songs on the album has just been very refreshing for all of us. That first set to me is just like a new evening every night. Sometimes you get into the music industry, you get into a band because you want that creative outlet and you have something to say and so on, but sometimes I see bands fall into the same routine every night… the same show over and over. But with this material and how we put ourselves in front of the audiences, and change up things, its fresh. so it’s the addition of this practically brand new set for us that has allowed us to be fresh and different each night.
nMC: How are the crowds responding?
JB: Its great. At first I thought, this is going to be good, its going to be fun. Everyone wants to hear ‘Temptation’ and ‘Release’ and maybe ‘Psychopomp’.. and so on.. and then I though, I don’t know how the other stuff is going to go over, just because… I bought the album a month before we started rehearsing and put it on my phone (so I could start rehearsing at my own place). I started rehearing and listening, and thought, “man. Its much darker than I thought.” And it’s far from being commercial compared to all the bands that were out at the time, our Canadian comrades like The Hip, I Mother Earth, Our Lady Peace and Moist – and we love all those bands, but the first time I listened to ‘Transmission’ in its entirety in almost 20 yrs it was like, “geez this is a dark, almost progressive stuff.” I’m flabbergasted and a bit shocked that it went as well as it did 20 yrs ago, but it seems to be standing the test of time and the audience seems to know more than just the hits or the singles, so that’s refreshing to see. Its such a success we’re very happy about it.
nMC: 80% of your shows are sold out.. definitely a success. Are there any songs on the album you particularly enjoy performing the most on this tour?
JB: Yes definitely. I really love to play ‘Gyroscope.’ Its super simple but I love playing it. I love playing ‘Alarm’ because there’s some quiet bits, some very off-time components to it, and some really heavy bits at the end. ‘Pulse’ is really fun too. Obviously ‘Release’, ‘Temptation’ and ‘Psychopomp’ have seen their day, but even those are still very fresh because there are different components that we’ve added, and I’m singing back up in a couple more. Jeff (Martin) has a great audience participation in ‘Release’ and we’ve extended the solo.. all those components we add or change to make the songs fresh, and I think it’s worked.
nMC: Last year’s tour featured the incredible artwork by Robert Buratti behind the band – are you featuring his art again this tour?
JB: Yes! Depending on the venue (if there is a screen available or not). His art is pretty outstanding. He’s such an inspiration when it comes to art. It’s a mutual thing. He inspires us to write, we inspire him to draw and paint. I don’t know how we became so fortunate; he’s quite a genius.
nMC: how is the audience participation – are people in sit-down theatres all staying seated or are they up and rocking out?
JB: It’s pretty amazing actually. Jeff (Martin) is a commanding type, or demanding type however you want to phrase it (chuckles). So he kind of guides the audience through the show. A lot of people want to stand up and I get that… but a lot of people want to sit down and enjoy, and I honestly get that too. So Jeff seems to guide the audience through the show. On songs where its good to get up and get moving, he says, ‘alright, everybody up.’ And then he’ll say ‘okay sit down.’ And they do. (laughs). So its very interactive, and very polite. I’ve honestly loved playing these theatres. It’s been a whole new experience. Our demographic is expanding both to the younger and the older. I think doing it in this way accommodates a whole lot more of that audience than just standing up all night. If some of our fans were 35 when we first came out, they’re now almost 60, and maybe just want to have a beer and sit and listen after working all week, so its been very interesting.
Kelowna’s show happens Monday March 27. There are are ONLY 50 seats left (at the time of this writing) so get your ticket now via SelectYourTickets.com as this is sure to be another sell out. The band also hits Vancouver for two sold out shows and according to Jeff , “there’s going to be a surprise in regards to the album coming soon. There is a vinyl coming out and its going to be red, and that’s common knowledge, but there is a surprise coming out we’re excited about.”
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