Our Lady Peace
Our Lady Peace performing in 2009
|Origin||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Crash Karma, Fair Ground|
Our Lady Peace (sometimes shortened to OLP) is a Canadian rock band formed in Toronto, Ontario in 1992. Led by lead vocalist Raine Maida since its formation, the band currently consists of Duncan Coutts on bass, Steve Mazur as lead guitarist, and Jason Pierce on drums. The band has sold several million albums worldwide, won four Juno Awards, and won ten MuchMusic Video Awards -- the most MMVAs ever awarded to any artist or group. Our Lady Peace is one of Canada's most popular bands and is also one of the few Canadian rock acts that managed to achieve success in both the 1990s and 2000s.
The band's earlier albums are often praised for their unique sound and style, with lead singer Maida being called "erratic" and "truly unrivaled" as a vocalist. Their fifth album, Gravity (2002), is sometimes considered to be a "radical departure" from this distinctive style. Lead singer Maida has confirmed the change, calling Gravity "vastly different" from their previous records. The coincidental 2001 departures of both co-founding member Mike Turner and longtime-producer Arnold Lanni, in combination with influence from producer Bob Rock are factors in the style evolution.
They have released nine studio albums, one live album, and two compilation albums to date, with their 1997 album Clumsy considered their signature and most widely recognized work. Their latest studio album, Somethingness, was released on February 23, 2018.
In late 1991, guitarist Mike Turner placed an ad in Toronto-based Now newspaper in search of musicians. Michael Maida, a criminology student at the University of Toronto, was the first to reply. The two formed a band called As If, inviting Jim Newell as drummer and a friend of Turner's, Paul Martin, to play bass. After they played a number of gigs in Oshawa with sets containing a mix of original and cover material, Martin departed, and the band placed an ad for a replacement bassist. Chris Eacrett, a business student at Ryerson University, replied and was accepted after an audition. During that time, Turner and Maida attended a music seminar where they met songwriter and producer Arnold Lanni, the owner of Arnyard Studios. The band, with Lanni, commenced writing new material and recorded some material under the As If name.
Soon after, the band's name was changed to Our Lady Peace, after a Mark Van Doren poem of the same name. With encouragement from Lanni and his management team, the band performed some gigs in Eastern Ontario and Montreal in conjunction with The Tea Party. It was during this time that Maida began using the stage name "Raine" instead of "Mike" to reduce confusion about having two Mikes in the band. He has used this name professionally ever since (even after Mike Turner left the band) and at one point, made the change legal.
An independent music video of the band's debut song "Out of Here" was created in February 1992 by Sam Siciliano, a film student and friend of Turner's, who produced, edited, and directed the video. The video was aired on the MuchMusic Indie show. After returning to Arnyard Studios to continue writing and recording material, drummer Jim Newell departed the band. Writing and recording continued with session drummer John Bouvette.
With managers Rob Lanni and Eric Lawrence of Coalition Entertainment representing the band, short showcases were arranged with Warner Music Canada, EMI Canada, and Sony Music Canada. Sony Music Canada head of A&R Richard Zuckerman liked what he heard, and saw the potential of the band, its producer, and management. The band signed a record and publishing deal with Sony Music Canada in April 1993, and commenced writing for their debut album. Around the same time, then-17-year-old Jeremy Taggart joined the band as permanent drummer.
After writing and recording over the next year or so, OLP released its debut album, Naveed, in March 1994 through Sony Music Canada. Following the release of the album, the band toured Canada, supporting acts I Mother Earth and 54-40. Naveed was later picked up and released in the United States in March 1995 by a Sony Music indie label, Relativity Records, after which the band toured as the opening act for Van Halen's Balance summer tour as well as opening shows for Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. Touring behind the album resumed in 1996 with time spent touring with Canadian artist Alanis Morissette. The title track of the album, "Naveed", became a hit in Canada, while "Starseed" also charted in the United States. A remix of "Starseed" would later be added to the Armageddon film soundtrack.
In early 1997, Our Lady Peace was offered (and the band accepted) an American signing with Columbia Records, expanding their horizons within Sony Music. After touring for the album Naveed, the band began work on their second studio album. As the writing process ensued, bassist Chris Eacrett left the band due to musical differences. Duncan Coutts, a Ridley College alumnus and former classmate of Raine Maida, joined the band as bassist during the recording of that second album. Coincidentally, Duncan Coutts and Mike Turner both studied at the University of Western Ontario and lived in Saugeen-Maitland Hall.
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Our Lady Peace's second album, Clumsy, was released in January 1997. Album singles "Superman's Dead" and "Clumsy" found significant success, especially in Canada, and the success of the album established Our Lady Peace as a leading band in the Canadian rock scene. The album cover is based on an abandoned song called "Trapeze", which was initially intended to be the title of the album. In February 2001, Clumsy was diamond-certified album in Canada.
By 1999, the group had sales of over one million for their first two albums. That year they released their third album, titled Happiness... Is Not a Fish That You Can Catch. The album included such hits as "Thief", a song about a young girl the band met named Mina Kim, who had cancer, as well as "One Man Army" and "Is Anybody Home?". Legendary jazz drummer Elvin Jones was featured on the song "Stealing Babies". Multi-instrumentalist Jamie Edwards was brought in for the 1996 sessions for the album (he remained an unofficial member of the band until 2001, when he was asked to officially join the band to finish the Gravity album). Later that year, the band played an eleven-song set at Woodstock 1999.
In 2000, the band recorded and released Spiritual Machines, a concept album inspired by Ray Kurzweil's book The Age of Spiritual Machines. During the recording of the album, drummer Jeremy Taggart was sidelined with an ankle injury; Soundgarden and Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron, played drums on "Right Behind You (Mafia)" and "Are You Sad?" in his place. The album featured the singles "In Repair", "Life" and "Right Behind You (Mafia)". "Life" was also featured in the soundtrack for the Canadian sports comedy film Men with Brooms. Spiritual Machines was less commercially successful than its predecessors.
During this period, the band founded the Summersault festival that toured across Canada in 1998 and again in 2000. The 1998 tour played in late August and early September at outdoor venues in Barrie ON (north of Toronto), Quebec City, St. John's NL and Shediac NB, featuring Our Lady Peace along with a slate that included I Mother Earth, Sloan, Garbage, Treble Charger, Bucket Truck, The Crystal Method and Moist.
There were discussions of a Summersault festival for 1999, but the tour did not return until 2000, with a larger collection of bands and a more extensive Canadian itinerary. Over the first half of August 2000, the festival played at outdoor venues in eight of the largest Canadian metropolises.
|August 4||Vancouver||BC Place|
|August 6||Edmonton||Commonwealth Stadium|
|August 7||Saskatoon||Saskatchewan Place|
|August 9||Winnipeg||Winnipeg Stadium|
|August 11||Barrie||Molson Park|
|August 12||Montreal||Parc Jean-Drapeau|
|August 13||Ottawa||Rideau Carleton Raceway|
|August 16||Halifax||Citadel Hill|
|The Smashing Pumpkins|
|Our Lady Peace|
|A Perfect Circle|
|I Mother Earth|
By the early 2000s, the band was becoming restless, feeling a "numbness" with their popularity as well as the "over-saturation" of their songs on Canadian radio. The band almost broke up after completing their Spiritual Machines tour.
In December 2001, having dropped original producer Arnold Lanni, the band met with new producer Bob Rock to start work on their fifth album. Later the following month, founding guitarist Mike Turner either quit the band or was forced out due to the other members' concerns about his guitar-playing abilities. Said Maida of Turner's departure, "The last two records we've been yearning for a guitar player that can really stand up and have a strong voice and Mike (Turner) just wasn't that kind of guitar player." Turner later formed the band Fair Ground with Harem Scarem guitarist Pete Lesperance and later joined the band Crash Karma. Turner's last performance with the band was for Music Without Borders at Toronto's Air Canada Centre on October 21, 2001. In the months following Turner's departure, the band held auditions for a replacement lead guitarist. Steve Mazur, a friend of a friend of drummer Jeremy Taggart, was announced as the new guitarist in April 2002. Long-time touring musician Jamie Edwards also became an official band member around this time.
In June, their fifth album, Gravity, was completed and released. Shortly after the completion of the record, Jamie chose to leave the band for personal reasons, though he returned briefly to stand in for Mike Eisenstein during the Canadian tour of Gravity. The album received mixed reviews, with some critics and fans contending that the album was too drastic a departure from the band's original musical style into a more mainstream sound and lacking any creativity. Maida's signature nasal falsetto vocal technique was largely absent from the album. Maida said that the album was "pretty much the opposite of Spiritual Machines", calling it their "most basic album" since Naveed.Gravity's chart-topping first single, "Somewhere Out There", became the band's biggest international hit to date, while the second single, "Innocent", was also very popular and regained popularity in 2008 after a cover performance on American Idol. Gravity proved to be more successful than Spiritual Machines in both America and Canada, due to the success of the singles. In between their fifth and sixth albums, OLP released their first live album, titled simply Live, which contains a selection of the band's hits from their first five albums as played throughout tours in various Canadian cities.
In August 2005, the band released their sixth album, Healthy in Paranoid Times, which included the singles "Angels/Losing/Sleep", "Will the Future Blame Us", and "Where Are You?" According to Rolling Stone, it took 1165 days to create it, and its twelve tracks were chosen from forty-five that the band had written and produced. Maida has since criticized Healthy in Paranoid Times, saying that "(the) record was total excess, total bullshit in the sense of, we finally had succumbed to a label: making us record that many songs, trying to find the right singles for American radio and MTV." After nearly breaking up during the recording of Healthy in Paranoid Times the band took a prolonged hiatus.
In November 2006, Columbia Records released a greatest hits compilation titled A Decade, following the band's departure from the label. There were two previously unreleased songs on the album, "Kiss on the Mouth" and "Better Than Here". Steve Mazur wrote in a blog on the band's fan club that the new songs on the disc were two unreleased songs from the Healthy in Paranoid Times sessions. The collection also included a bonus DVD containing live concert footage and exclusive interviews at the Massey Hall concert. The single "Kiss on the Mouth", the first off A Decade, has received play on radio stations across Canada. Lead vocalist Raine Maida began work on his first solo album, The Hunters Lullaby, released in 2007, while the remaining members of the band pursued other personal endeavours. The hiatus would result in the longest time gap between OLP studio albums to date.
The band began working on Burn Burn, their seventh studio album, in February 2007. On March 31, 2009, Legacy Recordings released OLP's second compilation album, The Very Best of Our Lady Peace as part of the Playlist series. The album includes the popular singles "Naveed" and "Somewhere Out There", as well as lesser-known songs such as "Car Crash" and "Stealing Babies". That same month, the band completed the new material, with Raine calling the new album "huge", and noted it as being a "proper rock album again", featuring a return to the raw originality of the band's first album Naveed, though a "little more mature". Maida produced the album himself, noting his excitement over "not (having had) anybody intrude on (recording) sessions". The album was released in North America on July 21, 2009 to mixed reviews, though the album later received Gold status in Canada. The band toured to promote Burn Burn and made stops in several cities across North America from July through December 2009.
In December 2009, the band announced a new tour. In a tour that ran from March to May of 2010, and spanned Canada and select U.S. cities, the band "recreated" both their 1997 album Clumsy and their 2000 album Spiritual Machines in their entirety.
Our Lady Peace's eighth studio album, Curve, began production in January 2010 and was released April 3, 2012. The album's first single, "Heavyweight", was released on December 20, 2011. In a March 2010 interview, lead singer Raine Maida noted that after having gone back to re-learn songs from Spiritual Machines and Clumsy in preparation for their tour, he was "brought back to the great things about this band". He added that fans -- especially those who are particularly fond of the pre-Gravity albums -- should expect to see "a lot of stuff (from pre-Gravity albums) creeping its way back into our music".
In 2012, the band released a song titled "Fight the Good Fight" in reaction to the Occupy Wall Street events that took place across North America in late 2011. This track appears on the Occupy This Album compilation box set.
A planned tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Naveed was cancelled in early 2014 due to "scheduling conflicts". In June 2014, speculation began that longtime drummer Jeremy Taggart was no longer part of the band; this was confirmed in statements by both Taggart and Our Lady Peace on June 30, 2014. Canadian drummer Jason Pierce (ex-touring drummer for Paramore and current touring drummer for Treble Charger) filled in during live shows, and Jason Boesel of Rilo Kiley handled recording duties.
On April 30, 2014, Raine Maida revealed on his Twitter account that OLP was headed back into the studio with producer Mike Elizondo, in Los Angeles. On July 10, 2014, the band débuted their single, "Won't Turn Back", on Toronto's 102.1 The Edge radio station. On July 17, "Won't Turn Back" was released on iTunes in Canada. Maida described the song as "poppier" than much of their discography.
On November 20, the band tweeted that it would be releasing unreleased songs and b-side tracks via email subscription. The first song from the "OLP Vault" was "No Warning", released on November 27. A second, a demo of "Not Afraid" was released on December 11. A live cover of Lana Del Rey's "Summertime Sadness" was released on December 24 and on January 15, a demo version of Consequence of Laughing, named "Immune" was released from the vault. On January 28, "Hurt Yourself", a track recorded during Healthy in Paranoid Times, and released alongside #BellLetsTalk to raise awareness for mental illness, was released. On February 14, the band released a clip of the demo "Say". A full version of the song "Vampires" was released on March 2.
It was later announced that Pierce was now an official member of Our Lady Peace.
On August 11, 2017 the band announced the release of their ninth album, Somethingness, on their Facebook page. The band planned the release in the form of two EP volumes. The first single "Drop Me In The Water" was released on August 18, and the Vol. 1 EP was released on August 25, 2017. The full album (including the tracks from the Vol. 1 EP) was released on February 23, 2018.
In the band's early years, especially on Naveed and Clumsy, their overall sound was often compared to alternative rock and grunge bands including Soundgarden, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Pearl Jam. The band's melodic structure was also said to echo that of bands such as The Beatles and Led Zeppelin. Lead singer Raine Maida's voice was called "erratic" and "truly unrivaled" in his field. In albums Naveed through Spiritual Machines, Maida sang in a countertenor vocal register and was known for his frequent use of falsetto. This singing method, in combination with the band's melody structure, often gave many songs a surreal sound and effect.
The band's song "Whatever" was used as professional wrestler Chris Benoit's WWE theme song from 2002 to 2007. They had not performed the song live for a number of years prior to the murder/suicide of Benoit and his family in 2007. In a 2012 interview, the band vowed to never play the song live ever again due to the circumstances of Benoit's death.