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Interview-Stuart-Chatswood-Tea-Party-Aug2012

 

21 Questions with Stuart Chatwood, The Tea Party

By Shayne McGowan
July 2012

 

 


1. What lead to the initial break-up of The Tea Party?


I think after 15 years of touring together on never ending album cycles, it wore on us and we dealt with things differently and as a result we grew apart and had different priorities. We're all strong individuals, so there was a bit of friction. The night we broke up is a little personal, so we tend to keep the past in the past and focus on the future.


2. After so many years apart, what made you want to get back together?


Every year we have been offered more and more gigs as promoters realized there was a demand for the band to reform. Last summer, we decided to give it a go after four or five shows were offered in Canada. At that point, enough water had gone under the bridge so we felt it was time to perhaps try things out again.


3. What did the individual members get up to, during their time away from The Tea Party?


Jeff Martin launched his solo career and started a band called the Armada,and then another band called Jeff Martin 777. Jeff Burrows and myself started another project entitled Art Decay, which should release something in the near future. Jeff Burrows also formed another band, Crash Karma with other members of famous Canadian bands. As for myself, I stayed busy with video game soundtracks including the very successful Prince of Persia series. I produced a young band from NYC called The Indecent who were just signed to Warner Music worldwide. I also have a large 5 year project called Uncommon Folk, recording ambient folk music with Glen Campbell, Mavis Staples, Jakob Dylan and the Blind Boys of Alabama amongst others. Right when the band broke up, I got a call from Irving Azzoff management to see if I was interested in playing bass in a newly reformed Smashing Pumpkins but nothing came of it. I guess at the time they figured I could handle Billy Corgan's strong personality.


4. How do you feel your time apart, and working on your individual projects has shaped what The Tea Party is as a band now?


Two things. I think we are more mature, so as a result, the music is the priority once again. Secondly, we're not hampered by some of the insecurities you have as a young artist. Back in the day, we'd pretend we didn't care what the audience of people thought if us, but now, it truly is the case. It liberates us and allows us to make better music.


5. How does it feel to be playing together again after all this time apart?


It's like riding the proverbial bike, but the bike has gotten better. We're playing tighter than ever now.


5.Was there any teething problems as far as reuniting, or was it comfortable right from the beginning?


There was tension, but it soon was alleviated once the amps were powered up and we began to make some beautiful noise once again.


6. Do you think that you are playing better than ever now than before?


Yes. Last summer was a great test and it showed we have returned more powerful than ever. I think there's something still to prove to each one of us.


7. Is this tour strictly a nostalgia thing, or is it more of a career rejuvenation?


I think this is the beginning of something, of what I'm not sure. Music is what we do, so I'm sure at some point we'll be able to get over any hurdles and move forward.

 

The Tea Party - Jeff Burrows, Jeff Martin, Stuart Chatwood

 

 

8. Is there a new Tea Party album on the horizon?


No plans as of yet, but hopefully the Mayan calendar is wrong and 2013 will see some new material from The Tea Party. [Since this interview the band have announced they will be going into the studio to record a new album in early 2013 - Editor]


9. What can we expect from new material?


It's too soon to say. Touring is one thing, but being in the studio is a different beast. We'll need to overcome some of the friendship barriers that exist presently for that to happen.


10. Will we hear any new material on this tour?


We'd be crazy to play new material right now when we have to edit down 4 hours of music into a 2 hour show!


11. Were You surprised by how the fans reacted to news of the reformation?


I wasn't prepared for the grown men crying in North America last summer when we reunited. You forget how the music has been apart of people's lives and their memories.


12. How have other shows on the tour been received so far?


I'm blown away by the support. Last summer we returned to NY state and we broke attendance records when 20,000 showed up in Lockport, NY.


13. What does the reformation mean for the various side projects of Tea Party members?


I think the Tea Party is a treasured piece of our history as people and musicians, so it has a priority to us, but I think it's great that we all have these other projects going which takes a lot of pressure off the Tea Party, and it can remain this creatively satisfying outlet that it was when we began.


14. The band has always liked to have complete creative control when producing albums. How much of that carries over to your live show?


Well we tend to do our own thing live and always have, so yes, I guess we still have control over that.


15. What would you say makes The Tea Party stand out from other bands? Is it the use of different instruments, uncommon guitar tuning, or something else entirely?


I think our desire to write timeless music that can exist out of it's era when it was created. When we came on the scene, grunge was huge, but we didn't exactly fit in, and I think that's why our music has aged well. The world music elements that exist represent our desires to be open to all influences. We are shocked that more bands aren't tapping into these resources, but at the same time, we're glad, as we've become "The world music rock band"


16. What lead you to introduce those elements to your music in the first place?


Why limit yourself to what you hear on the radio or from your friends. It's a big world out there, and everything's an influence. That was our dogma I guess.


17. And what inspires you to keep using those elements in your music now?


It's part of who we are now, so it's natural.


18. What can fans who have never seen you perform live before expect to see in your current live show?


This tour is a great introduction to someone that's never seen the band before. For the first time ever, we have no singles or new albums to promote, so we can assemble a setlist that spans our career and represents our best material.


19. What are your lyrical inspirations?


You'd have to speak to Martin, but I know he's been inspired by some of the poetry of the French romanticists, like Baudelaire, in particular, the "Les Fleurs du Mal". Jeff speaks fluent french, so he is able to read the actual works.


20. We all know you love your experimental sounds. What is the strangest thing you have ever tried in the stuidio?


No pianos underwater for us, but I think the whole Edges of Twilight was the most interesting as we had 31 instruments on that record.


21. After the current tour and album cycle, what is next for The Tea Party?


We have a small tour of Canada and the US and then we'll sit down and see what the future holds, and how we can get back to Australia as soon as possible.