If you tuned your radio to a Canadian rock station in 2000, chances are you heard The Tea Party. Their dreamy single “Heaven Coming Down” off their fourth major label album Triptych was one of the most played songs that year and the band’s only No. 1 radio hit. Of course it wasn’t the first time their music saturated the airwaves. Their first three multi-platinum selling albums produced songs like “The River,” “Sister Awake” and “Temptation,” earning them 22 Much Music Video Awards nominations and several more Juno nods.
The Windsor, ON band’s career started to stall after their massive popularity in 2000. Their following three albums—including a greatest hits album, Tangents, which earned bassist/keyboardist Stuart Chatwood a Juno award for the album’s artwork—were less commercially successful and the group disbanded in late 2005 citing creative differences.
“We were always in agreement with how we conducted ourselves,” says Chatwood of himself and drummer Jeff Burrows. “I don’t want to sound too parental here, but we operated in a certain way and Jeff [Martin, guitar and vocals], when he split, was operating in a different way.”
Each member moved on to other musical projects. Martin recorded a solo album then formed The Armada and Jeff Martin 777 in Australia. Burrows played drums for a Rush side project and for Canadian supergroup Crash Karma and Chatwood composed music for the Prince of Persia videogame soundtracks, which have sold 10 million copies worldwide.
This past April, music festivals in Sarnia and Ottawa announced their summer lineups with the defunct band performing. When the group announced headliner shows in Montreal and Toronto, it was official. With a total of 11 shows in central Canada and New York, the band stated they were testing the waters for future projects.
While the three musicians appear friendly on stage, the band admits they need to sit down and work out personal issues before another tour or album can happen. The hatchet seems buried between Martin and Burrows who joke around in recent interviews, but Chatwood and Martin haven’t appeared together—yet.
“I guess there lies your problem: Stuart Chatwood,” laughs Burrows as he slaps Chatwood on the back.