“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