|While “Within You Without
You” played in Jeff Martin´s bedroom, Robert Johnson was undoubtedly
welcome in the kitchen and it is in this melange of eastern and blues
music that the seeds of The Tea Party´s sound were sown. Jeff has
always maintained that his discovery of George Harrison´s sitar
infused song was a musical turning point for him, adjusting his mind to
appreciate eastern tunings and rhythms. He has said that he would scour
the local record stores for LP´s with names he couldn´t pronounce
to feed his hunger for Indian, middle eastern and north African music.
Growing up a mere stones throw from Detroit, the early influence of blues
music on the whole band is easy to explain. Detroit is the very active
center of a distinctive blues style. Jeff´s exploration of modern
blues rock, however, met with derision from his father. His dad insisted
that Jeff listen to the real blues and, while he resented it at the time,
this concentration on the fundamentals made a huge contribution to the
music the Tea Party makes to this day.
In addition to Jeff´s fascination with eastern melodies, both Stuart and Jeff Burrows make major contributions to the sound. Stuart´s fondness for electronic keyboard driven music has made more and more of an impact with each new album. “Transmission” and “Triptych” in particular show strong electronic influences. He is particularly fond of English underground DJ and electronic music while swing jazz percussion is a definite influence on JB´s style. An influence that is to be found more in what´s not there than what is.
They greatest outside influences, however, are to be found in the inspiration for the lyrics which are all written by Jeff Martin. Therefore, this section is largely about Jeff and what he has stated about his influences and what can be inferred.
”The River” makes several references to the river Styx that, according to legend, lies in Hades.
The Christian religion is also inspirational to Jeff and this can be seen in songs like “Little Miss Heaven”, “Sun Going Down”, “Fallen Angel” and “Goodman Rag” while Celtic religion is a possible inspiration for “Raven Skies” and “The Majestic Song” MAY refer to the tenants of Buddhist enlightenment with the line “Of the sage who has chosen to forfeit all he knows”.
|The Edges Of Twilight|
|Fire In The Head
Jeff has often cited Charles Baudelaire´s “Les Fleur du Mal” as a much read influence and the line “flowers of evil in my head” in “Fire in the Head” is an obvious reference to the title of this poem. What drew Jeff to Baudelaire is probably what draws so many, his ability to pluck beauty from the the jaws of decay, to find perfection in a garbage heap. The title of the song “Fire in the Head”, however, is drawn from Tom Cowan´s book of the same name (which also contains a chapter entitled “The Edges of Twilight” and Tom probably got the title from the poem “The Song of Wandering Aengus” by W. B. Yeats which is about experiencing a vision or hallucination and starts with the lines “I went out to the hazel wood, because a fire was in my head...”. Since Jeff has often said that the song was written about an LSD trip this connection to Yeats is especially appropriate although it could be coincidental.
Drawing Down the Moon
Transmission was influenced by the writings of Christopher Dewdney, Canadian poet, essayist and futurist, and also a friend of Jeff Martin´s. One of his works, “The Secular Grail” inspired the song “Gyroscope” and his ideas on the nature of consciousness and psychic equilibrium infuse many of the songs on this album.
The line “in this carnival of souls” in the song “Touch” might refer to goths or fetishist as what they often call their gatherings or it might allude to the cult film “Carnival of Souls”. These interpretations are quite tenuous but both fit the feeling of the song.
|THE INTERZONE MANTRAS|
”Interzone” is a reference to the international zone in Tangiers that is featured in William S. Burrough´s book of the same name.