Daily CanCon: Growing up down the street from Our Lady Peace

our-lady-peace-naveedIn honour of my new play, BIG IN GERMANY, which is all about Canadian rock music and the 1990s, I’m going to share a CanCon music video everyday. BIG IN GERMANY plays at Buddies in Bad Times April 9-21. Get tickets here.

Is there a song that’s a more perfect synecdoche for 1995 Canadian Alt Rock than “Naveed”?

Our Lady Peace has been maligned for the pop-y direction their music took once they started to get a whiff of success in the US, but isn’t this song just kind of perfect?


My copy of Naveed was autographed by the whole band, but my mother threw it out when my parents moved houses.

I remember hearing it on the radio and just getting chills from Raine Maida’s haunting and tortured vocals and that acoustic guitar as he tells the story of a man yearning for escape through suicide but fearing death all the same.

The video’s another story. The odd Lords of the Flies elements seem more like a smorgasboard of grunge video tropes than something that connects with the song itself.

Still, there’s a scene where a bunch of pre-teens drive a tank, which was probably all 11-year-old me needed.

SPOILER: There may be a tank in Big In Germany.

My older sister told me that Raine Maida went to the same elementary school we went to in Etobicoke, and showed me his class photo in the main hallway outside the office. She used to joke that Maida wrote the song “Julia” from the Naveed album about her. She (She would have been in Kindergarten when he was in Grade 8).

But it was pretty cool to know that this rock star I was listening to on the radio went to my school, and must’ve grown up in my neighbourhood. If he could do it, I could do it.

POST SCRIPT: Maida was on George Stromboulopolous a while back and while he didn’t have time to confirm or deny the rumour that “Julia” was about my toddler sister, he did tell Strombo that he grew up down the street from Rob Ford and they’re in the same age group — yes, we’re all old now. But imagine if that had been my role model.

(Start at 8:08)

Also, Maida wrote Kelly Clarkson’s song “Walk Away,” which makes my head go kablooey.

Any rock stars live down the street from you? Let us know in the comments.


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