It was the news fans around the world had been dreaming of for seven years, but never thought they'd hear again - the official reformation of The Tea Party and a possible album on the way. According to enigmatic frontman Jeff Martin, judging from the success of last June's first round of reunion shows in Canada, "people need this music."
"Our agent in Canada had been fielding offers for gigs even though The Tea Party disbanded seven years ago," Martin reveals. "This is not a case of us coming back for the money. My feeling about The Tea Party situation is that my anger about the breakup of the band is now gone, I got over it, the guys got over it as well. The bond now is stronger than any of the bad stuff that happened and it's just been a case of baby-steps to get here. There was a phone call between the three of us and that was pleasant. We realise that there are still going to be personal issues between us, but that can be put aside for the sake of the music. We've done one tour already and judging from people's reactions, they really seem to need this kind of music, nobody else is doing anything remotely like this."
As Martin points out, the most amazing revelation about the recent reunion tour was the demographic he noticed out in the crowd. Much to his surprise, the audience was not a sea of 40-something-year-olds, but instead, largely a younger crowd and newer fans, which just went to prove the timeless nature the band's music.
"I think The Tea Party was 'timeless' in the sense of that it never belonged in a particular 'time' period," Martin explains. "You hear some bands and they have an '80s sound or a '90s sound, for example - but you hear The Tea Party and your guess is as good as anyone's what time period that band was around in. The key to that was always creating music within an exotic, rich, heavy rock music atmosphere, with the three of us in proximity of one another and exchanging that energy between us."
Which is the reason why Martin would have to relocate to Canada for some time should another Tea Party album ever be a possibility, according to the singer. At this point, anything is possible because Martin claims the band has never sounded better.
"The Tea Party is not the kind of band that could work from different parts of the world, and you know, exchanging email links and so on. When we did the tour in June, you'd think after seven years of three people not speaking and having no contact whatsoever, you'd be taking a massive risk to get them together in a room. You'd think there's be no fuel left in the tank or that you couldn't put personal differences aside. But it was absolute magic."
One of the lessons learned by all three, according to Martin, was that personal differences can and should be put aside if a band is still on the same page musically.
"We broke up because it was just a case of people judging other people who shouldn't be judged!" Martin recalls. "I've lived my life very differently from the other two guys, and let's just say it had something to do with that, but I don't think it was anybody's place to tell me if that was right or wrong, and I think all three of us understand that now. There were some artistic differences too at the time, I just didn't like the direction that the band was going towards in the end, and it all just culminated."
However, rather than turn his back on the music, Martin immersed himself in his craft even more - forming not one, but two successful bands over the last six years - The Armada and more recently, 777.
"The hunger to make music never went away," Martin states. "I'm especially hungry to make that kind of big-sounding music again! "
Jeff Martin will perform solo and acoustic at Ferntree Gully Hotel on Saturday October 15 and at Northcote Social Club on Sunday October 16.