In honour of my new play, BIG IN GERMANY, which is all about Canadian rock music and growing up in Toronto in 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.
Today in CanCon: The Tea Party’s Jeff Martin gets wet and literally wrestles a snake in “Temptation”:
Yesterday, I talked about how in the nineties The Tea Party had cultivated an image of being Very Serious Musicians with a sort of proto-emo not-quite-goth fanbase of people who just didn’t like fun. That’s not an entirely fair assessment of their body of work, although the contrast with Danko Jones was pretty sharp.
(You might have caught Danko seeming to take offence to my description of their overseas success on Twitter yesterday before they deleted the tweet, which I’ve photocapped below).
Still, “Temptation” was a pretty radical change in sound for them, with that driving drum hook that just makes you want to stomp your feet with it. It’s still a pretty gloomy song about addiction (which Martin has alluded to struggling with at the time), but on the other hand, it’s not a song about fuedalism, war, and incest. The video’s full of sexy and dangerous imagery, too.
When I think about it, I actually had a pretty long fan relationship with The Tea Party. My sister brought home Splendor Solis when I was in grade six. The Edges of Twilight and “Fire In The Head” were on a steady rotation in my bedroom during my last months in elementary school. Transmission was on a lot of my mixtapes in grade nine and ten, a great aggressive score for when I’d be reading X-Men comics in the basement. Triptych came out in grade twelve, with a more mature, yet slicker and poppier sound, and you basically couldn’t go anywhere for a year without hearing “Heaven Coming Down.” The Interzone Mantras came out when I moved to university, and by the time I graduated, the band had broken up.
It was a pretty messy break up too, with Jeff Martin announcing it publically before discussing it with the other guys in the band. But the band recently got together to a) sell the rights to teaparty.com to the right-wing US political group for lots of money (though it looks like they kept it), and b) tour and write new music. I’d be interested to hear what they come up with and I’d go see them again in Toronto.
For my money, my favourite Tea Party song is “The Messenger” (written by Daniel Lanois). In Montreal, I learned it doubles as a great slow stripper song:
Get BIG IN GERMANY tickets here.