Alternate Versions: The Tea Party- Psychopomp (Live)

A while back I wrote about a band you might have missed along your musical journey called, The Tea Party. This astonishing three piece band from Canada, is seriously one of the best bands in the last 25 years. They are one of those bands that has the ability to add elements to their sound without losing sight of the overall sound objective. Their 1997 album, Transmission, is a wonderful mix of heavy rock, blues, world music and on this one they added an electronic/industrial tinge to it. One of the best songs on the album (and my favorite song of theirs), “Psychopomp” is stunningly epic. The studio version is one thing but, the live version of this song is on a whole other level.

The Tea Party- Psychopomp (LIVE):

Psychopomp (Album Version):

Cover Song: The Smashing Pumpkins (Joy Division)- Tranmission

The Smashing Pumpkins - Transmission (CD) | Discogs

One thing I genuinely enjoy about cover songs is when bands really make an effort to make it their own. Whether it’s changing up the vibe or arrangements, the new interpretation often times can take the song to new heights. A great example of this is The Smashing Pumpkins version of Joy Division’s “Transmission.” The Pumpkins take on it is spacey, borderline psychedelic and even transcendent at times. It’s different enough yet still pays homage in a very distinct way.

The Smashing Pumpkins- Transmission (from Adore Deluxe Set):

The Smashing Pumpkins- Transmission Live 98:

The Smashing Pumpkins w/Davey Havok and Peter Hook- Transmission Live 2018:

You Might Have Missed: The Tea Party

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I’m about to introduce you to one of the best bands, you’ve never heard. The Tea Party, has been one of rocks best kept secrets. Formed in Canada in 1990, The Tea Party has sold over 2 million records worldwide. The band was active throughout the 90’s until the mid 00’s. They reunited in 2011 and have been writing, recording, touring and releasing new music since then. The band has an interesting sound mixing heavy rock with bits of blues, psychedelic rock, prog rock, industrial and world music to create a very epic sound. An interesting tidbit is the origin of the bands name, which comes from the  infamous hash sessions of beat poets Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs.

The Tea Party is made up of Jeff Martin (vocals/guitar), Jeff Burrows (drums) and Stuart Chatwood (bass/keyboards/etc). As a three piece they are devastatingly huge sounding. From their debut album in 1991 till now, each album has distinct sound to them, never repeating what they did before. Their major label debut Splendor Solis is very rock driven and inspired by the likes of The Doors and Led Zeppelin. The follow up, 1995’s The Edges of Twilight saw the band incorporating bits of world music into their sound. This record would propel the band to achieve double platinum status in their native Canada also earning nominations for album of the year and group of the year at the Juno awards.  Then in 1997, The Tea Party released the album Transmission. This is my favorite album of theirs. Taking everything they’ve done since their inception, Tranmission saw the inclusion of an industrial tinge to their sound making it more grandiose and epic. Songs like “Temptation,” “Army Ants” “Psychopomp (which is my personal favorite song of the band),” “Transmission,” and “Aftermath” are among the best songs the band has ever written. This album for me is the epitome of what this band is and shows what a great band they are. The next album Triptych saw the band relying more on melody and well written songs, moving away a bit from the epic sounds of the previous albums. For 2001’s The Interzone Mantra’s, The Tea Party continued on with the sound of Triptych while holding on to a strong sense of their very early sound. The end result was an album that felt inspired and rich at the same time almost conceptual. The bands 2004 album and last before their 2011 reunion, Seven Circles was quite a departure from the bands sound the fans had come to love and admire. This album was more “ballad” driven and it shifted to a more positive, optimistic vibe rather than the bands use of dark imagry and moody tones of past releases. After this album the band broke up due to “creative differences.”

During the breakup Jeff Martin went on to start a solo career, releasing quite a few albums and live releases. Stuart Chatwood would go on to become a composer for video games, film and TV. Most notably is his work on the Prince Of Persia game soundtracks. Jeff Burrows would go on to work with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, and other Canadian musicians as drummer in the one-off project the Big Dirty Band, as well as become a radio DJ in Canada. Then in 2011, The Tea Party announced they were getting back together to play a number of select dates. Later in the year the band stated they were back for good. After countless shows, in 2014 the band released their first new album since 2004 with The Ocean at the End. The Tea Party would then go on to continuously tour and rock audiences all over the world, especially in Canada, Europe and Australia. Then on November 9, 2018,  The Tea Party released their new single “Black River,” which is due to be released on an upcoming new album.

The Tea Party are truly one of the best bands you’ve probably never heard. They should have been HUGE in the states. They had all the right things in terms of sound, songs, and overall ability to kick ass. Jeff Martin is one hell of a guitarist and his voice is reminisent of Jim Morrison and Ian Astbury while still being unique to himself. Jeff Burrows is one of the most underrated and talented drummers I’ve ever heard. That guy is an absolute beast on the drums. Stuart Chatwood adds so much to the band with sound design and ability to play multiple instruments to give the band their rich sound. I was recently introduced to this band by a friend of mine and from the moment I first heard this band, I knew I had totally missed out on something great. I highly recommend you all taking time out to give this band a listen and hear what you’ve missed out on.

The Tea Party- Transmission:

The Tea Party- Reformation Live:


Splendor Solis:

The Edges Of Twilight:


The Interzone Mantras:

Seven Circles:


The Ocean At The End:

Black River: