Jeff Martin has some fun again, post-Party
By Tom Zillich, Surrey Now March 4, 2011 11:01 AM
Jeff Martin has found that Tea Party-like mojo again, this time with a pair of players from Australia.
Martin still looks very much the rock star, and he turned heads when he came bounding into the Now offices on a recent promo tour for local media.
But what’s with his slight Aussie accent?
“I’m living there, in Perth, with my wife and son,” he said, looking surprised by my question. “Maybe it’s all the travelling I’ve done, but I guess I’m a mutt when it comes to an accent. You know, I’ll be here in Canada for the next month and a half and by the time I leave, I’ll be speaking exactly like a Canadian again.”
Martin flew here to tell people about The Ground Cries Out, a new album released under the Jeff Martin 777 band name. It’s a spirited blast of Middle Eastern-inspired rock and blues, not unlike the music of his former trio, The Tea Party, which disbanded in 2005.
The album’s eclectic 11 songs make it clear Martin and new bandmates J Cortez (bass) and drummer Malcolm Clark had some fun in studio, and Martin is thrilled by the fresh twists they bring to the new music, as well as those old hits.
“It’s just really exciting again to play in a music three-piece where the musicianship is so outstanding,” he enthused.
“And the studio we created in Perth is like a rock ‘n’ roll wonderland, with all the gear I’ve collected over the years, and with what J and Malcolm already had. We turned this place into sometime like Santa’s workshop — every single guitar amp you can imagine, stringed instruments from around the world, keyboards, vintage synthesizers, audio gear people would kill for, and it’s all there at our fingertips. It’s so cool.”
After The Tea Party ended, Martin went to “recalibrate” for a few years in Ireland and reflect on a messy band breakup following the death of its manager.
“The band was under a lot of pressure to break into the American market, be more commercial, and I’d spent all those years writing songs and producing a certain sound,” Martin said. “So dumbing it down, watering it down, just didn’t sit with me that well. That caused friction in the band and my spiritual boredom with what we were putting out just didn’t make sense to me. That’s why it stopped. I looked at it as taking a break from The Tea Party, and maybe words were a little harsh back then, but that’s just what happens.”
So, no going back there?
“You never say never, but I’m on a different path now.”
That road takes Jeff Martin 777 to some of the more intimate concert halls and bars on a Canadian tour that began this week (March 3-4) at The Media Club in Vancouver.