Our Lady Peace (also known as simply OLP) is an alternative rock band that formed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1992. Headed by lead vocalist Raine Maida since its formation, the band additionally consists of Jeremy Taggart on percussion, Duncan Coutts on bass, and Steve Mazur as lead guitarist. The band has sold millions of albums worldwide, won four Juno Awards, and won ten MuchMusic Video Awards — the most MMVAs ever awarded to any artist or group.
OLP has released seven studio albums, one live album, and two compilation albums to date, with their 1997 album Clumsy often being considered their signature and most widely recognized work. They have enjoyed many hit singles, ranging from "Starseed" in 1994, to "Somewhere Out There" in 2002.
The band's earlier albums are often praised for their distinctly unique sound and style, with lead singer Maida being called "erratic" and "truly unrivaled" as a vocalist. Their fifth album, Gravity (2002), is sometimes noted to have been a "radical departure" from this distinctive style, and has been criticized as being "too mainstream". Lead singer Maida has confirmed the difference, calling Gravity "vastly different" than their previous records. The coincidental 2001 departures of both co-founding member Mike Turner and longtime-producer Arnold Lanni, in combination with influence from then-new producer Bob Rock, are sometimes credited as main factors in the style evolution.
After nearly breaking up during the recording of their sixth studio album Healthy in Paranoid Times in 2005, the band took a prolonged hiatus before releasing their seventh and most recent album, Burn Burn, in July 2009. Recently, the band completed a North American tour featuring both their 1997 album Clumsy and their 2000 album Spiritual Machines in entirety, and have also begun work on their eighth album which they hope to finish and release in 2011.
In late 1991, guitarist Mike Turner placed an ad in Toronto-based Now Magazine 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 soon after, 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 thereafter, the band's name was changed to Our Lady Peace, after a Mark Van Doren poem of the same name. With encouragement from their producer 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 given name "Raine" instead of "Mike" to reduce confusion about having two Mikes in the band. He has used this name professionally ever since, even with Mike Turner having left the band.
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 MuchMusic on their 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 and opened shows for Page & Plant. Touring of 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" became a hit in Canada and also charted in the United States. "Starseed" would later be added on the Armageddon film soundtrack.
In early 1997, Our Lady Peace was offered and accepted an American signing with Columbia Records, expanding their horizons within Sony Music. After touring 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 OLP's second album.
Our Lady Peace's second album, Clumsy, was released in January 1997. Album singles "Superman's Dead" and "Clumsy" found immense success especially in Canada. Clumsy 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 became a diamond-certified album in Canada. After Clumsy's release, the band founded the Summersault festival that toured across Canada in 1998 and again in 2000, with lineups that included the Foo Fighters, A Perfect Circle and The Smashing Pumpkins.
In 1999 the band 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 named Mina Kim that the band met 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 1996 for the sessions for the album and remained an unofficial member of the band until 2001 when he was asked to officially join the band to finish the album Gravity. Shortly after the completion of the record, Jamie chose to leave the band, returning briefly to stand in for Mike Eisenstein during the Canadian tour of Gravity. The band also played an eleven song set at Woodstock 1999.
In 2000, the band 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; Matt Cameron, Pearl Jam's drummer and then-former member of Soundgarden, 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.
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, which resulted in them almost breaking 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 that 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, but later left that year for personal reasons.
In the following few months their fifth album, Gravity, was completed and released. The album received mixed reviews, with some critics and fans contending that the album was a significant departure from the band's original musical style, adopting a more mainstream sound and lacking any creativity. Maida's signature nasal falsetto vocal technique was also 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. 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 tracks "Angels/Losing/Sleep", "Will the Future Blame Us", and "Where Are You?" Shortly after recording the album, the band disclosed that during the making of the album, they nearly broke up. 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."
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.
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 famed singles such as "Naveed" and "Somewhere Out There", as well as lesser-known songs such as "Car Crash" and "Stealing Babies".
After the release of their 2006 compilation album, A Decade, the band entered a short hiatus period after having parted ways with Columbia Records. Lead vocalist Raine Maida began work on his first solo album, The Hunter's Lullaby, which was released in 2007, while the remaining members of the band also became preoccupied with other personal endeavors. 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, completing it in March 2009. Raine Maida called 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 solely produced the album, noting his excitement over "not (having had) anybody intrude on (recording) sessions". The album was released in North America on July 21, 2009. 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 that they would be "recreating" both their 1997 album Clumsy and their 2000 album Spiritual Machines by performing them live in their entireties throughout a new tour that ran from March–May 2010. The tour spanned Canada and select U.S. cities.
Band members have also confirmed that a new studio album follow-up to Burn Burn is in the process of being recorded, and that it is expected to be released in 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 the band's early years and especially in Naveed, Our Lady Peace's overall sound was often compared to alternative rock 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.
After meeting then-70-year-old art model Saul Fox in 1993, the band asked him to pose for Naveed's album cover. Since then, Fox has been used on four additional Our Lady Peace album covers: Clumsy, Happiness..., Spiritual Machines and A Decade. According to lead singer Maida in a 1998 interview, Fox "represent(ed) a whole lot of stuff with the band ... he's a very unique individual, a very inspiring individual". Fox, when asked about the meaning of his use in Our Lady Peace's artwork, said: "What they have to say inside is difficult for them to express. They don't have the vocabulary. They don't have the ability to express it in words. They have a difficult time even identifying it. All they know is that their soul has a feeling and they've got to express it."
When the band changed their musical and artistic direction in 2002, they stopped using Fox on their album covers. On Gravity's album cover, a photo of the band members was used, and on the cover for Healthy in Paranoid Times, a painting of a 20-something man sitting on a chair was used. For the album cover of their 2009 album Burn Burn, the band re-embraced the Saul Fox theme concept, incorporating a middle-aged Fox look-alike wearing an outfit similar to the one used by Fox on the cover of the band's 1999 album Happiness... Is Not a Fish That You Can Catch. In a recent interview, band bassist Duncan Coutts suggested that Saul Fox may have recently died, as his health had been declining although this has yet to be confirmed.
• Raine Maida (1992–present): lead vocals, rhythm guitar
• Jeremy Taggart (1993–present): drums, percussion
• Duncan Coutts (1995–present): bass, backing vocals
• Steve Mazur (2002–present): lead guitar, backing vocals
• Mike Turner (1992–2001): guitar, backing vocals
• Chris Eacrett (1992–1995): bass
• Jim Newell (1992–1993): drums
Official Website: http://www.ourladypeace.net/