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Our Lady Peace

Our Lady Peace

Alternative band

Debut Bearer of Good News

Clumsys Sales Hardly Ungainly

Change of Venue Required Adaptation

Selected discography


Toronto based quartet Our Lady Peace has established itself as one of Canadas most successful alternative rock bands. Indeed, the bands heavy, melodic sound coupled with singer Raine Maidas emotional lyrics have earned Our Lady Peace something very foreign to most Canadian artists-a sizeable American audience. Although touring with rock super stars Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Van Halen, and the Rolling Stones ensured the band massive U.S. exposure, the key to their state-side success, saysMaida, is what the did with that exposure. They [fans] dont care that were from Canada, remarked Maida in Jam! Music. They just care that theyre connecting with the music and lyrics.

Our Lady Peace had humble beginnings. The first two members, Maida and guitarist Mike Turner, met while studying at the University of Toronto in 1992, and soon recruited Chris Eacrett on bass, and drummer Jeremy Taggart. Duncan Coutts joined band in October 1995, replacing Eacrett on bass. The quartet took its name from Mark Van Dorens poem called Our Lady Peace. The band sent unsolicited demos to a number of large labels, and were shocked and amazed when Sony Music Canada gave them not only a contract, but complete creative control. They signed with Sony Music Canada after only 14 months together, seven shows under their belts, only four songs produced, and no touring experience. Maida told Mike Ross of Express Writer, We were a bunch of naive kids.

Debut Bearer of Good News

In March of 1994, Our Lady Peace released its debut album, Naveed, on Sony Canada; it debuted in the United States on Relativity Records one year later. According to Billboard the album means bearer of good news, and reflects a title of Middle Eastern influence. In its review of Naveed, Entertainment Weekly noted the anguished vocals a la Pearl Jam, and churning guitars by way of Stone Temple Pilots, and called it an album that definitely would attract grunge addicts. A New York Times critic called Our Lady Peaces music passionate, hones, empathetic.

The single, Starseed, brought the band its first taste of major success, reaching th Top Ten in Canada as well as the Top 40 in the United States. Although the single initially received limited radio play in Canada, the video received extensive exposure on Canadas MuchMusic video channel. Starseed also caught the attention of rock god Robert Plants ear during radio play in New York during 1995. Plant contacted Our Lady Peaces management and before they knew it, the band was

For the Record

Members include Duncan Coutts , bass/keyboards (joined band October 1995)/ Chris Eacrett , bass (left band October 1995); Raine Maida , vocals; Jeremy Taggart , drums; Mike Turner , (born in England), guitar.

Toronto based band began in 1993 with vocalist, Maida, and guitarist Turner; recruited bassist, Chris Eacrett and drummer, Jeremy Taggart; within one year had three songs recorded on demo; signed with Sony Canada, 1994; released debut album Naveed, in Canada, 1994 under Sony Canada; on Relativity label March 1995 in U.S.;; toured extensively in the U.S. and Canada with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Van Halen, and Blind Melon; released Clumsy, 1997 on Columbia label; debuted at number one on the Canadian SoundScan chart; within three weeks hit platinum in Canada and double-platinum soon after.

Awards: Favorite Group, 1997 Canadian MuchMusic video awards.

Addresses: Record company Columbia Records, 550 Madison Ave., New York, NY 100223211. Sony Music Canada, 1121 Leslie St., North York, Ontario M3C 2J9, Canada.

opening for Jimmy Page and Robert Plant in Chicago. Plant told the band howmuch he loved the record, and he felt they emitted the most conviction he had noticed in a band in a number of years. In addition to opening for Page and Plant, the band has toured extensively in the United States and Canada with other major acts. In 1995 and 1996 they opened for Van Halen and Alanis Moris-sette in Edmonton, and, in November of 1997, they opened for the Rolling Stones in Quebec City. Since their beginning, the band has performed over 400 live shows, for over a half million people.

Clumsys Sales Hardly Ungainly

In early 1997, Our Lady Peace signed to Columbia Records and released their second album, Clumsy. Although one reviewer, Jan Stevenson of the Toronto Sun, found Clumsy a bit lacking in passion and originality, making this sophomore effort less powerful than their winning debut, the bands fans apparently felt differently. The album debuted at number one on the Canadian pop chart, and within three weeks of release sold over 100, 000 units. Clumsy was recorded at Arnyard Studios in Toronto by Arnold Lanni, who produced their debut album, as well. The albums first single, Supermans Dead, gained the band exposure on MTV. Maida provided some insight into the lyrics of Supermans Dead in an interview with Karen Bliss of Jam! Music. He discussed the difficulties kids have growing up in todays world, and about how strong the messages are from the media. He compared the old Supermanshows and to todays Beavis and Butt-Head. He [Superman] was a real hero but I think Beavis and Butt-Head wins today.

One of Maidas biggest heroes in singer, Sinead OConnor. Maida admires her ability to pour herself out to audiences, and told Kerry Gold of the Vancouver Sun that, she [OConnor], for me, is the ultimate. Other inspirations for Maida include Otis Redding, U2, Janis Joplin, and Stevie Wonder. In an interview with Alternative Rock World online, the other members claimed to be music junkies, naming Radiohead, Portishead, U2, the Beatles, and Elton John as some of their musical influences.

Change of Venue Required Adaptation

After several years of touring as a support band for better known bands, Our Lady Peace began its first headlining tour in 1998. This tour took them out of the small intimate clubs and on to the stages of large arenas. While the increased size of the venues they were now playing called for many technical adjustments, it also created certain emotional problems, such as the bands ability to remain connect with the audience. In an attempt to compensate for the size and lack of intimacy of large arenas, Our Lady Peace shot a series of short films to accompany their live concerts, hoping to reach each member of their audiences, emotionally, regardless of ones proximity to the stage.

With two hit albums and over 400 live performances in the United States and Canada, it looks like Our Lady Peace has two countries conquered, with thousands of fans on both sides of the border. The band hopes to have staying power, too, using their arena tours as an opportunity to secure their relationship with fans. It appears their fears of being just another disposable band or being aone-hit wonder are groundless. As Lisa Wilton of the Calgary Sun said, it was only a matter of time before Our Lady Peace attempts to take on the world. To which Maida replied, Absolutely.

Selected discography

Naveed, (included Starseed), Sony Canada, 1994; Relativity, 1995

Clumsy, (includes Supermans Dead), Columbia, 1997.



Billboard, February 25, 1995, p. 18.

Calgary Sun, August 26, 1997; January 8, 1998.

CNN Interactive, November 19, 1997.

Entertainment Weekly, March 312, 1995, p. 62.

Express Writer, January 21, 1997; August 29, 1997; January 18, 1998.

Free Press (Detroit), February 9, 1998.

Jam! Music, November 20, 1997.

Ottawa Sun, January 17, 1998.

Pollstar, October 13, 1997.

Scrawl Magazine, Spring 1998.

Sound Check, November/December 1997.

Toronto Sun, May 20, 1995; January, 19, 1997; January 21, 1997; January 8, 1998.

Vancouver Sun, January 22, 1998.


Additional information was provided by Columbia Records publicity, Fran DeFeo, New York, NY.

Debra Reilly

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Our Lady Peace


Formed: 1992, Toronto

Members: Duncan Coutts, bass (born Ontario, 4 February 1970); Raine Maida, vocals (born Ontario, 18 February 1970); Steve Mazur, guitar; Jeremy Taggart, drums (born Ontario, 7 April 1975). Former members: Chris Eacrett, bass (born Canada, 1971); Mike Turner, guitar (born Bradford, Ontario, 5 June 1967).

Genre: Rock

Best-selling album since 1990: Clumsy (1997)

Hit songs since 1990: "Superman's Dead," "Somewhere Out There"

Our Lady Peace made brief waves in alternative hard rock circles in the late 1990s with the hit "Superman's Dead."

While at the University of Toronto, criminology student and part-time singer Raine Maida hooked up with fellow student Mike Turner, an English major who played guitar. The pair recruited Chris Eacrett, a marketing student and bass player from nearby Ryerson University, as well as Jeremy Taggart, a seventeen-year-old jazz drummer, to round out its lineup. The quartet became known as Our Lady Peace, taking its name from a 1943 poem by American poet Mark Van Doren.

The band's demos attracted the attention of Sony Music Canada, which quickly snapped up the group. In 1995 Our Lady Peace released its debut album Naveed. The band enjoyed a minor alternative-radio hit with the hard-charging rocker "Starseed." On Naveed the band openly celebrates classic-rock influences such as Led Zeppelin, considered anathema to the raw, hard rock sounds favored by the grunge acts of the day. Our Lady Peace enhanced its profile by appearing as openers on fellow Canadian Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill tour.

Our Lady Peace enjoyed its biggest success with the release of Clumsy in 1997. With grunge fading in popularity, Our Lady Peace's style of hard rock found a wider audience. The surging "Superman's Dead" became the band's biggest hit, winning over fans with Maida's memorable, high-register wailing on chorus: "Alone I'm thinking / Why is superman dead / Is it in my head." On the strength of "Superman's Dead," Clumsy sold more than 2 million copies.

The band's subsequent two releases Happiness Is Not a Fish That You Can Catch (1999) and Spiritual Machines (2001) were hits in the band's native Canada, but failed to generate much interest in the United States. In part, hard rock had once again outmoded Our Lady Peace's sound, with acts such as Creed and Staind ushering in a period of bleak and moody, ballad-oriented hard rock.

Our Lady Peace resurfaced on American radio in 2002 with the minor hit "Somewhere Out There" from the album Gravity. A lush midtempo ballad, "Somewhere Out There" aimed at reaching pop audiences. Critics assailed the album for its bland hard rock, which belied the initial promise of the band.

Though, for the most part, hailed by reviewers for its smart and infectious style of hard rock, sustained commercial success eluded Our Lady Peace in the 1990s.


Naveed (Sony, 1995); Clumsy (Sony, 1997); Happiness Is Not a Fish That You Can Catch (Sony, 1999); Spiritual Machines (Sony, 2001); Gravity (Columbia, 2002).

scott tribble

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