Friday December 30, 2005 is a day that will probably go down in Canadian rock and roll history. Jeff Martin, former lead singer of the rock band the Tea Party, performed one of his first ever solo performancesůand his solo album has not even hit record store shelves yet. Was he anxious? Maybe. Nervous? Of course. Ready to conquer the world? Definitely. I talked with Martin prior to one of his first ever solo gigs in Buffalo, NY about the Tea Party split, his new solo venture, and even had a listen to his new material. This is what he had to say.
After fifteen years of the Tea Party, Jeff Martin, front man of the Canadian rock outfit, decided it was time for a change---so he left to pursue a solo career. "By our seventh or eighth studio record, I knew intuitively that we accomplished everything possible with that band. The Tea Party fell victim, as many bands do, to the pressures of the record industry," Martin says in regards to the breakup. "For our last couple of records (Interzone Mantras and Seven Circles) we felt a lot of pressure to become more commercial. The bigger the band became, the more people kind of sneaked their way in and influenced the three members in different ways. So, eventually we became three different people who wanted three different things. I had to make a decision for what's best for me as an artist, as far as my family is concerned, and I needed to reclaim who I was." Martin looks forward to the day when he can put the split behind him and rejoin his friends again, but as the clich»s go, breaking up is hard to do and time will heal all wounds.
As Martin forges on with his career, though, he looks back on the band's work and would like to take off where the band left off, and as far as he is concerned that would fall between Edges of Twilight and Transmission. The new material sounds early Tea Party-esque meets Led Zeppelin. Thanks to drummer Michael Lee of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant success, who is Martin's new drummer, it feels like he is in creative control again with a return to classic Tea Party days. "There are no constraints and no influences whatsoever from the music industry this time around." Martin declares.
With just about everyone going solo these days from Matt Good, (Matthew Good Band) David Usher, (Moist) and now Jeff Martin breaking away from the Tea Party it seems like it is destiny. With every band break up, the solo artists tend to mellow out a bit too. You might think that might be true with Martin's new album Exile and the Kingdom, but this is another grandiose rock record. He originally wanted to record an acoustic record, but following the band's demise, Martin once again felt in full control and plans on having his new five piece band exposed not only to Canada, but to the world.
Martin's new album is all about roots and blues in particular. He delved into his collection of world music and that helped him influence his new album. One of the following three songs will be the album's first single: "The World Is Calling", "Lament" or the "Kingdom". Rock is supposed to be organic and with Exile and the Kingdom it will be.
The new record is due out March 17, 2006.
Writer: Robert Frezza