Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tea Party - Correspondences

On November 19th 2011, I saw Tea Party for the seventh time.

It was also the seventh time my best friend Craig saw the Tea Party, we had seen the Tea Party together five times and once without the other each prior to the 19th. It was also the first time Tyson saw the Tea Party. But Craig and Tyson were not the only old friends I saw that night, Jeff Martin, Stuart Chatwood, and Jeff Burrows were there too.

Music is a like a friend. Rush said as much in “Spirit of Radio,” and it is true. When I Listen to music I loved when I was young and I have not heard in a long time it is just like visiting an old friend. In the case of Tea Party seeing them live again after all these years was something more than then just hearing them, and seeing them. It almost felt at times their eyes fell upon Craig and I and the look on their faces was one of recognition and familiarity. They had returned to see their long standing and loyal fans, they returned to see their old friends, they had returned to see us.

Obviously there is a level of personal sentiment in this above paragraph but I cannot deny that is exactly what it felt like, and I dare suggest there is some level of truth in the Tea Party reunion, it was not just the three men were back together again, they were with their fans again, they were with me again.

There two moments that I remember best from that night.

The first was when Jeff Martin, announced that The Tea Party was back for good, and he promised a new album to be released in 2012. So we all have that to look forward too.

The second was the moment they played “Correspondences.” I immediately thought of Jenn Carlson, and began to look around in the chance she might be there. She was the only person I knew who had seen Tea Party live more times than myself, and her favourite song was always “Correspondences.” I did not see her, but I knew somewhere, somehow she was happy. In that moment the stars shinning down on us had granted a special moment. The Tea Party were back and playing her favourite song, so surely happiness was in the air everywhere; surely she must be happy.

“Correspondences,” is another Tea Party song that if you ever bought “Edges of Twilight,” or listened to the band with any intensity, you know this song, and you know it well. But a casual listener runs the gambit of never hearing “Correspondences,” hence The Music In Review is here to lend you a hand.

After the last Music In Review I am left with very little original material to say. Everything I said about “Psychopomp” applies to “Correspondences.” Same band, same theme, same style, same message, same personal attachment. Still this is a song too strong and too powerful to go without mention. “Correspondences,” is one of those songs where every serious Tea Party needs to consider as their favourite; the brightest Tea Party relic somehow forgotten by radio disk jockeys, and somehow ignored by the producers, a long a lost jewel whose value is priceless.

At the end of the show, Jeff Martin asked if we would come see them again, to which I thought, “will you come back to see ‘us’ again?” I said as much to Craig and Tyson, and we enjoyed a short laugh, but it was true, by this point in time it feels so much more like Tea Party come to see Craig and me. They pay us a visit. We always welcome them to our home, Calgary, and we always will. They are our old friends visiting us, it just so happens they perform an awesome rock concert for us every time.

In summation; Tea Party are back, and I give a salute and thank you to my old dear friends Jeff Martin, Stuart Chatwood, and Jeff Burrows, your music has enriched my life in ways I could never repay.

Until next year, keep on rocking in the free world.

- Colin Kelly

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tea Party - Psychopomp

“I’ll give you something more,
And you'll fade away.
One last kiss before,
You fade away.
Lives you once adored,
Will fade away.
Lies you can’t ignore,
You'll soon repay,
As you fade away”

When I was young, the first bands I fell in love with were Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, ACDC, Black Sabbath/Ozzy Osbourne, The Who, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, and Tea Party. Tea Party are the only band on that list that started their careers after my date of birth, and I believe that says something about me, a lot about the superiority of classic rock, and even more about Tea Party.

My first experiences where I felt really akin to a song writer was of course Led Zeppelin, but I always thought, personally, emotionally, and even spiritually I had something in common with Jeff Martin and the Tea Party, perhaps more so than any band ever. When I was young, everything I was thinking about, Tea Party was writing songs about. Every emotion that was surging in my heart Tea Party expressed with passion in their songs. Everything that defined me and pushed me to become the man I am now resonates within the lyrics and music of Tea Party. I always knew this, but I never really appreciated the true validity of it until I typed it in for this Music in Review.

“Gone” is the most powerful song about loneliness I have ever heard. “Great Big Lie,” is one of the best atheist songs ever. “Mantra” is one of the most intro and extroverted perspective songs I have ever enjoyed. “Requiem,” was written after Jeff Martin talked a girl out of suicide. “Release” is the best white ribbon song ever. I could do a Music in Review on every single one of these songs with a discussion about both the value of the song, and the value beyond the song. I have been lonely, I am an atheist, I do ponder things at length both within and without, I too have talked someone out of suicide (no, really), and for women, as a knight I will always fight to protect them. All these things about me were being expressed by Tea Party. Everything about me when I first heard Tea Party, connected with them, and with the passage of time this has only become more so. Whether Tea Party pushed me towards this, or I simply related to them on a level that borders true kinship, I cannot be certain, but one thing is, Tea Party are rock stars and poets of the highest calibre. Easily the most underrated band of all time.

There are many songs, where if you are a Tea Party fan you know but, if you were not directly into Tea Party you may never have heard them. This happens a lot to bands that accomplish the ability to consistently write multiple great tracks per album, a majority of them will never receive radio play or massive attention. This is hardly a complaint; this is like an author who has written so many good books, most people never get around to reading them all. Tea Party is a band that has written so many great songs most of them fly under the radar of popular appeal. This becomes double true for Tea Party since their popularity is really one of cult status. Here in Canada most people know who they are, but if I take a trip down south the majority of Americans would have no idea who they are, and that becomes even more so if I traveled the globe further. Except Australia, Tea Party was popular there.

“Psychopomp,” is a good example of a great song by the Tea Party ever fan knows but casual listeners do not. “Psychopomp,” is also a good song to illustrate my relationship with Tea Party when I was young. “Psychopomp,” was a poem written by Jeff Martin when he was in high school, and for me the Tea Party experience all began when I was in high school. Unlike anything I wrote in high school, Jeff Martin’s poem “Psychopomp,” is a fine collection of words, exposing lies of great sad terrible expectations. I think everyone begins to challenge the assumed perceptions of things put before them in their teenage years, most of us, especially as adults, write it off as a moment to defy authority without cause, but some of us, the non-ridiculous ones, which I like to believe is most of us, it is the beginning of seeing things our own way. We begin to find ourselves. When I was that age I began to see things for what they really were, I started to see through people and their words, and while I was a rook and a simpleton then compared to what I am now, the seeds of thought were planted in my mind, planted by me and sowed by everything I read, listened too, touched, loved and hated. My thoughts and drive were nurtured by Tea Party at that time. They are a part of me now in as much as art could be part of someone.

The fantastic thing about “Psychopomp” is that the words still hold true, after all this time the song is just as powerful as ever. Time has not made “Pyschopomp” or my own youthful disdains and distractions seem immature, Jeff Martin was right to write what he wrote, and I was right to think what I thought, and to feel what I felt. It is satisfying to say such things, but perhaps I am only romanticising a time when my true heart was forged and my identity shaped itself. It was an important time for me and it was a glorious time to be a Tea Party fan. A fond memory within a past that holds too few.

- Colin Kelly