Frosh treated to Tea Party

An intimate chat with Tea Party drummer Jeff Burrows

Tea Party drummer Jeff Burrows discusses the new album and latest tour that stopped in the Miller parking lot on Friday.
Tea Party drummer Jeff Burrows discusses the new album and latest tour that stopped in the Miller parking lot on Friday.
Credit: 
Hendrik McDermott
Jeff Martin wows the crowd.
Jeff Martin wows the crowd.
Credit: 
Hendrik McDermott

For those of you who have been lucky enough to catch their live show, the Tea Party can amaze anyone with their powerful sound. Though only three members form this great Canadian act, their passion for music — differing from eastern European, culturally-rich sounds to all that is electronic to a love for both ambience and big band music — leaves you craving more.

Leaving Kingston with a bang is exactly what the band did on Friday when they added an Irish flavour to “Sister Awake” in their encore that had fans roaring in appreciation.

Before the Tea Party’s show this past Friday night I fell prey to drummer Jeff Burrows’ contagious enthusiasm for music and his band’s future.

The band’s live performances and albums have won them acclaim globally, and most impressive for Burrows is that their Australian fan base has surpassed Canada’s, and Germany is right at our heels. The Tea Party can match and exceed the expectations of any audience, music festival or small town, but nothing makes them feel more at home than a 5,000-seat theatre. “There we can use our own lighting and can set the stage the way we want,” explained Burrows with eyes lit.

On their latest tour, the band shared the stage with various symphonies and I was curious to find out just how far the Tea Party would go with this. Burrows admitted that they had always wanted to have orchestral accompaniment at some point and tested it out with an 8-piece ensemble on MuchMusic. From there they performed in Calgary and Montreal with the cities’ symphonies. The success of these performances means that Tea Party fans are in for a treat when their new album comes out in May, with four songs accompanied by the Prague symphony. The band will compose the music specifically for each instrument and one can only begin to imagine the breadth of sound and movement this will create.

In November, the Tea Party is releasing Tangents, a collection of ten singles plus four new songs. For Stones’ fans, these include a cover of “Paint It Black.” After the Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” upset, Burrows said they sided with caution and redid all the music, though they initially wanted to use Charlie Watts’ original drum line. “Walking Wounded” is one of the new singles, and will be the first off their new album in May. Burrows confided that “Walking Wounded” will be the “quietest” song on the new album.

What surprises are in store for us on the new album? “The sound is strong like Transmission though not as cold,” Burrows explained. And in terms of the overall feel of the album the Tea Party is headed back towards the Edges of Twilight.

In the meantime, the image of the band’s excitement on stage will hold me over until I, like other fans out there, are met with Tangents.

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