The Tea Party
The Tea Party. Rock band, formed in 1990 in Windsor, Ont by Jeff Martin (vocals, lead guitar), Stuart Chatwood (bass, keyboards) and Jeff Burrows (drums).
This power trio sold all 3500 copies of its independently released, self-titled debut album in 1991. It was produced by Martin and its mix of psychedelic rock and blues generated interest from record companies. The Tea Party chose EMI Music Canada, which released Splendor Solis in 1993 and every other record after that. There were musical comparisons to Led Zeppelin, while Martin's somewhat mystical lyrics and baritone voice were likened to The Doors' Jim Morrison. "Save Me" and "The River" were the two biggest singles, with the video for the latter winning two MuchMusic Video Awards. Splendor Solis was nominated for a best hard rock album Juno Award and went on to sell more than 200 000 copies in Canada. Splendor Solis and The Tea Party's next two albums were certified gold in Australia, which was consistently the group's next biggest market after its homeland.
The Edges Of Twilight followed in 1995 and introduced elements of North African, Middle Eastern and Indian music - while still keeping its original sound as its core - and featured more than 30 different instruments. Ed Stasium (Ramones, The Smithereens) produced the album with Martin. "Sister Awake" and "The Bazaar" were the two most popular tracks and helped push domestic sales past double-platinum and glean three Juno nominations.
The largely acoustic six-song Alhambra EP was enhanced with multimedia content and came out the year before 1997's Transmission, which featured more electronic instrumentation than its predecessors. "Temptation" was the biggest of the Martin-produced album's five singles, Canadian sales again reached 200 000, and two more Juno nominations came the band's way. Triptych came out in 1999 and fused the group's rock, world music and industrial influences. "Heaven Coming Down" became The Tea Party's first number one radio hit. There were three more Juno nominations and sales surpassed double-platinum.
Tangents: The Tea Party Collection assembled singles from the previous four albums and four other songs, including a cover of The Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black." It was certified platinum and a DVD counterpart titled Illuminations came out a year later in 2001.
The Interzone Mantras was recorded more quickly to try and capture The Tea Party's strengths as a live act. The 2001 disc was certified gold in Canada and nominated for a best rock album Juno. Seven Circles followed in 2004 and was dedicated to band manager Steve Hoffman, who died from lung cancer the previous year. Martin received production assistance from Bob Rock (Aerosmith, Metallica) and Gavin Brown (Billy Talent, Metric), and the singer duetted with Holly McNarland on "Wishing You Would Stay." It received a gold certification and Juno nomination for rock album of the year, but failed to win - which pushed its total to 13 nominations with zero wins.
Martin announced he was leaving The Tea Party to pursue a solo career in the fall of 2005. Exile and the Kingdom and the two-disc Live in Brisbane 2006 were both issued in 2006. Live in Dublin and a DVD titled Live at the Enmore Theatre followed a year later, and Live at the Corner Hotel was issued in 2008. Martin, Wayne Sheehy and Jay Cortez formed The Armada, which released a self-titled album in 2008. Martin, Cortez and former The Sleepy Jackson member Malcolm Clark then formed Jeff Martin 777, which released an album titled The Ground Cries Out in 2011.
Burrows formed Crash Karma with former I Mother Earth singer Edwin, former Our Lady Peace guitarist Mike Turner and former Zygote bassist Amir Epstein. The group issued an eponymous album in 2010.
The Tea Party reunited for several Canadian performances in 2011 and toured Australia in 2012. That was captured on the Live From Australia: The Reformation Tour 2012 double album and DVD, which were released in November of that year.