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.

Splendor Solis

The River
”The River” makes several references to the river Styx that, according to legend, lies in Hades.

Midsummer Day
The importance of the summer solstice led to the celebration of “Midsummer Day” (and Midsummer Eve) all over Europe in ancient times. This was a day when magic and mischief were in the air and the barrier that separates this world and the next was at its most tenuous, a day when anything might happen.

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.

Correspondences is also inspired by the writings of Baudelaire, who asserted that there is a correspondence between everything we perceive as separate (sound, colour, smell, taste, etc.) in this life.

The Badger
”The Badger”, on the other hand, was inspired by the existence of another artist, in this case Jeff´s friend Roy Harper, who was staying with him at the time.

”Silence” makes mention of Ophelia, a tragic character in Shakespeare´s Hamlet (she´s the one told to “get thee to a nunnery”) who eventually loses her mind and commits suicide by drowning. She has come to symbolize erotic tragedy in our modern culture.

Sister Awake
”Sister Awake” is, largely, about invoking the creative muse but there is also a line about “invoking the fates”. The fates might refer to the 3 Fates of Greek mythology; Clotho, who spins the thread of life, Lachesis who decides what sort of a life you´ll have and how long it will be and Atropos who cuts the thread at the end of life. If that is what Jeff had in mind then it is possible to see the song as an epic of birth, life and death. Perhaps he has the birth, life and death of an idea in mind ?

Drawing Down the Moon
The title refers to a ritual within Celtic worship in which the high priestess invokes or draws down the goddess. This webpage will give you a version of the format of this ritual.

The song “Inanna” is another reference to a analogous goddess from a different culture. Inanna is the Summerian goddess of heaven and earth, morning and night, love and war, creation and destruction. She was known as Ishtar to the Akkadians.


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.

At the risk of hitting you over the head with the obvious, “Babylon” is a reference to the Mesopotamian city of the same name. This city was legendary for both it´s magnificence and it´s decadence.

Army Ants
Totalitarianism is addressed in “Army Ants”. This song was inspired by the novel “We” by Evgenii Zamiatin (which is also spelled as Yvegeny Zamyatin) which warns us about the perils of a totalitarian system which not only curtails freedom of movement and speech but infringes on people´s ability to feel emotion and think creatively. Jeff also pays homage to another dystopian writer, Aldous Huxley with the line “…bring on the brave new world…”

The title “Psychopomp” refers to a spiritual guide who leads you to the place of the dead and comes from the Greek words for psyche and conductor. The term was created by C.G. Jung.

By contrast, “Release” was inspired not by literature, art or mythology but by the very real suffering of millions of women around the world because of outdated traditions, religious edicts and discrimination.

”I took a slide, slipping down a staircase, a piranesian dream” (from “Alarum”) is probably a reference to the work of Giovanni Battista Piranesi, a 16th century Italian engraver known for creating dramatic architectural drawings by using unusual angels and chiaroscuro (light and shadow) techniques.


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.

”Samsara” clearly refers to the Sanskrit word for “wandering through” that we have borrowed to refer to the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth.

Slight Attack
”Slight Attack”, by contrast, is a commentary on and a reaction to Marilyn Manson. Jeff asserts that Brian Warner, aka Marilyn Manson, claims an understanding of Nietzsche and Baudelaire to make him look like a real thinker and bona fide rock star but that he doesn´t understand what those writers are saying. Slight Attack is strong indictment and a powerful song!

The Interzone Mantras

The Interzone
”Interzone” is a reference to the international zone in Tangiers that is featured in William S. Burrough´s book of the same name.

The Master and Margarita
Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov´s book about Satan´s trip to Moscow, “The Master and the Margarita” is the inspiration for the song of the same name.

Must Must
”Must Must” is inspired by the song “Mustt Mustt (Lost in his work)” by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan a much mellower song than The Tea Party´s Must Must although both are permeated by a joyful energy.

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