“It’s going to be a beautiful mindfuck,” Jeff Martin whispers through a diabolical grin.
Six months before his new single dropped, I knew the former frontman of The Tea Party had something up his sleeve. The mischievous, scheming look in his eyes gave it all away.
Jeff has always been a man with a plan… a plan of seduction, just look into this guy’s eyes, and of course take a look at his track record.
Straight through the 90s and into the new millennium Jeff garnered international acclaim as frontman of The Tea Party. The Canadian trio sold over a million records worldwide before Jeff resigned and went into an exile of sorts that devastated his core fans. All was forgiven as Jeff released solo material from Ireland and Australia. Now even from the opposite corner of the globe, he manages to keep his fanbase intact.
This month marks Jeff’s return in the form of a new trio, Jeff Martin 777. As he tours Canadian soil, Jeff is charming the population all over again. The band’s debut album, The Ground Cries Out, is barely three weeks old and is causing excitement nationwide.
“The music that I’ve made and continue to make is very sexual, so women definitely respond to it. Even men respond to it,” Jeff adds, running his hand across his chest. “But they scream for my guitar, not for me,” Jeff laughs as he continues to poke fun at his sex symbol status.
Momentarily distracted by his reflection in a mirror backstage, Jeff shifts the conversation in a more serious direction, to a fond memory he has of a past tour date.
“I played a show,” he recalls. “It was a sold-out show in Istanbul, just me, my guitar and a thousand people. The women were crying and the men were crying. Everyone was crying, everyone was laughing and everyone loved it. It’s a blessed position to be in, where your music can affect people in such a profound way.”
There is no doubt that there is something profound, alluring and even tempting about The Ground Cries Out. Maybe it’s Jeff’s dark and broody trademark vocals and lyrics or the middle eastern instrumentations infused into his breed of alternative rock. Whatever it is, it’s persuading the nation to let Jeff Martin 777 deep into their hearts, no questions asked.
“My fans will really feel this album. It’s an evolution from where the Tea Party stopped.” Jeff explains. “This new record, this new band, it’s what I’ve been looking for. I’m moving forward again with these two cats, Jake Cortez and Malcolm Clark.”
With Jake on bass and Malcolm on drums, Jeff says everything else simply fell into place like a natural order. “It’s wonderful, it feels right and the musicianship here is equal,” all things that escaped Jeff while leading The Tea Party.
The new band also shares, or at least understands, Jeff’s vision and passion. The three reflect that union in their band name, a tribute to Aleister Crowley’s philosophical publication 777.
“I follow Crowley’s ‘Do what thou Wilt shall be the whole of the Law.’ Whatever I need to do to get the outcome, I will go there and do it and no one will tell me different,” Jeff explains.
If necessary, Jeff is also ready to explain how Jeff Martin 777 is much more than a simple progressive extension of The Tea Party, but he is confident that there is no need, that it’s obvious and fans will find the answer in the music.
Still, I had to ask.
“I’m not afraid anymore.” Jeff answers. “I never really let my guard down in The Tea Party days. I’ve learned to be a lot more comfortable in my own skin. I use to hide behind my image and now I am just who I am. There certainly will always be a dark side to my psyche, but I don’t really make it a part of my persona, I let that come through the music now.”
Jeff Martin plays la Tulipe Tuesday, March 29 with guests Flowerchild and Gabriel Lee