CTV INTERVIEWS: Our Lady Peace
Updated Tue. Feb. 28 2006 1:28 PM ET
Richard Barrett, Special to CTV.ca
As one of Canada’s biggest bands, Our Lady Peace has enjoyed commercial and critical success but that hasn’t dulled their music or their message. Their latest album Healthy in Paranoid Times was over three years – or exactly 1,165 days, according to their website – in the making.
During that time period lead singer Raine Maida travelled to the Sudan as part of his work with War Child Canada to bring awareness to the plight of children in war-torn areas of the world. Our Lady Peace also stepped up to perform at the Barrie Live 8 concert to help “make poverty history.”
Always a serious rock band, Our Lady Peace brought more of a political edge to Healthy in Paranoid Times. From the statistics on the money spent on weapons in the liner notes to songs like Will The Future Blame Us, Our Lady Peace doesn’t shy away from letting their opinions show.
Our Lady Peace has been nominated for two Junos, including Group Of The Year. We caught up with drummer Jeremy Taggart to shoot the breeze about fame, politics and the importance of home-grown recognition.
CTV.ca: From the title track to songs like Wipe That Smile Off Your Face and Where Are You, your latest album has a strong sociopolitical message. Does the ability to affect change as an artist make all of the other things – long tours, media junkets, etc worthwhile?
Jeremy Taggart: Playing music is the only thing that makes all that other stuff worthwhile. All we’ve done is talk about the world around us. Raine had the ability to go over and see things that affected his lyrics. Other than that, these are songs, just the same. We play music together and it feels good, not political.
CTV.ca: What did being asked to be a part of Live 8 mean to you?
Taggart: It meant everything for the right reason for one day. Seeing and speaking to countless heroes. Neil Young dictated the vibe backstage. He was out hanging, so everybody was hanging. He was truly thankful to be there. So, obviously I was on f–king Jupiter.
CTV.ca: You were able to work with producer Bob Rock again on this album. What impact has he had on your sound?
Taggart: He’s a brilliant engineer, and really loves to get momentum. A great producer knows how a band works right away, and tries to shake things up to find out if there’s any way to push the band to somewhere new. That’s Bob Rock.
CTV.ca: What was the moment when you knew you could be successful as an artist? How do you define that success?
Taggart: Knowing your skill is like a trade. A great chef will always work. As will a great actor. You don’t have to be rich, but your skill should always be loaded.
CTV.ca: How does home-grown recognition compare to international accolades?
Taggart: It’s like accepting a gift from your family, as opposed to a complete stranger.
CTV.ca: What was it like the first time you won a Juno?
Taggart: To be honest, it felt different in the early 90’s. It was 2 dollar Tuesday for everyone. So when we won, I thought about 170 people were probably watching. No big deal. Now, it’s a real circus.
CTV.ca: As a veteran Canadian band, is winning another Juno still important to you?
Taggart: You need to celebrate your country, and its talent, yes. Pump that heart. Or it stops. So you gotta build some little glass men, coiled in their talent laced steel, and hand them out dammit! Sure, I’ll take one.
CTV.ca: What do you remember about the very first time you performed in Halifax?
Taggart: It was in ’93 at the Marquee. Then a few weeks later at East Coast Music week, back when Bubbles was just the guitar player in Sandbox. He looked like my dear ol’ grandma. They turned back time with their blistering smash anthem, Curious.
CTV.ca: What is your favourite Juno moment?
Taggart: Watching Ron Sexsmith pull a solid move. Maida’s back was out like Scott Thompson, and we couldn’t perform. Somebody gave Ron a guitar and he filled in. He ruled as usual. Buy all Ron Sexsmith records. He’s Sir Paul approved.
CTV.ca: What’s next for OLP?
Taggart: A cross Canada tour. More recording, touring, music.