Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tea For The Voyage! Exclusive Interview Part One!

     Canada and America share pretty much the same birthday weekend which is always rad. It's like as a child if you and your older, cooler bro or sis get to do the same and even though you're younger and you suck at life your parents insist that you share a party. 

     So for one glorious afternoon a summer you get to strut around with kids two years your senior and make believe you're pals in real life and it just makes you feel good, deep down. That's what the start of July feels like nowadays except instead of splitting a crappy frozen cake and some jack-ass clown two nations get to combine firework resources and blow shit up!  

      This past independence day I was lucky enough to pound some brews with three members of Canadian ska sensation, Tea For The Voyage. It was a night of frivolity at bassist Garett's home on a little lake in the Ontario back-woods. 

     A land lost in time where people still confess love by spray-painting rocks on the side of the highway and the neighbors are just a little too casual when it comes to operating a chain-saw. Canada. Drink it in.

     In case you haven't heard, Tea For The Voyage is a six-piece ska-rock-reggae bonanza that after years of playing together and honing their musical craft with their own solo junk have evolved into a tight, musical brand of funk that George Clinton would be envious of. (I'm sure He'd give his left ball dread for Tea's sick brass section). So at the lake I managed to be hanging with about half of the band and we were all feeling delightfully drunken and greasy. 

     Earlier this summer they released a new album and I blew eighty bucks on a voice recorder so the pieces were set for one of the greatest interviews anyone will ever read! After making light of a recent car-murder tragedy thingy that went down in our home town and driving a few more beers and burgs into us we decided to get down with the nitty gritty. 

     (To prelude, we're in the wilderness on a dock and all a wee bit tipsy. Friend of the band Zach T. and I have just had a lengthy discussion about whether or not lizards live wild in Canada and it got us a little distracted from the actual interview. No one seemed to mind.) 

JRBT: Have you guys ever seen a lizard in Canada? Aside from a pet store.

Garett Barr (bass): Oh I’ve seen plenty of lizards. I’ve seen a lizard so big...

JRBT: How big?

Garett: ...It would rip the head off your body and it would destroy everything that you’ve ever held dear.

JRBT: Are you talking about Godzilla?

Garett: I’m talking about all the lizards. The lizard inside each and every one of us.

JRBT: The lizard that comes out with whiskey?

Garett: The lizard within.

JRBT: The lizard within. Alec have you ever seen a real, non-figurative lizard in Canada? Besides a pet store?

Alec Donaldson (Guitar): I did once see a Gorn. On the way to work.

Garett: It was a young Gorn.

Alec: No it wasn’t young at all it was seasoned… It was a Gorn Captain actually.

JRBT: A seasoned, Captain Gorn?

Alec: Yes I think it may have been the same one that Kirk defeated.

JRBT: Good.

Alec: Episode 18 of the original series.

JRBT: Good! I’m glad. Sean, have you ever seen a lizard or a Gorn in Canada?

Sean Donldson (Drums): What’s a Gorn?

Garett: It’s from Star Trek.

Sean: How can I answer that?

JRBT: Have you ever seen a lizard cause Zach and I were talking about…

Sean: Of course I have!

JRBT: Yeah like a wild, Canadian lizard.

Sean: Yeah I’ve seen a chameleon before.

JRBT: They exist, Zach.

Zach T. (Friend-o-band): No there are no chameleons in Canada.

Sean: Yeah. Yeah. When I was in the Yukon.  Have you ever seen one in the Yukon?

JRBT: I’ve seen one in Ontario.

Sean: There are snow chameleons.

JRBT: Snow chameleons?

Sean: They only have one colour though. I don’t know if they’re special or anything.

JRBT: What colour is that?

Sean: Oh it’s, it’s just white.

Alec: It’s all they need.

Sean: It’s the only colour they need.

Alec: They could change colour if they wanted to.

Sean: But why? Green over white or something. 

JRBT: Would you Shawn, as a musician say that global warming could have a posative effect on the, ugh, Canadian Yukon Gorn? 

Alec: No no,

JRBT: Sorry the arctic Chameleon.

Alec: No it would hurt it.

Sean: Global warming? It will kill em! They’ll be white in a grassy area and the wolves will just take it down.

The Terrible Gorn

JRBT: Fucking wolves. Garett when was Tea For The Voyage founded?

Garett: Tea For The Voyage …

JRBT: Alec, when was Tea founded?

Garett: Tea For The Voyage was originally founded in the year of 1867.

Sean: That’s true.

Garett: We really were against confederation.

Alec: Wait what? 2003?

Garett: No, 1867. We were really opposed to confederation and you know what? Those bastards voted it in.

JRBT: Good that answers my question.

Alec: I think it was 2003 though, right?

JRBT: Next real band question. How many albums have you made?

Sean:  Six I think.

Alec: The deuce?

JRBT: All your albums, even the shitty ones in high school.

Sean: There were no shitty ones in high school.

JRBT: Sorry, that just came out.

Alec: Four, we did four.

Garett: The albums that we produced were, ‘Caribbean Dreams’ 2004.  'Tea For The Voyage' 2005.  'Tea For The Voyage' 2007. 'Gimmie Them Beats' 2009.

Alec: Gimmie "Dem".

JRBT: Gimmie "Dem"?

Alec: Gimmie "Dem" Beats. 

Taylor Donaldson: Trombone
(Now the interview got a little ... personal. But it's the shit die hard fans want to know!)

JRBT: What is your favorite size of boob?

Sean: H.

JRBT: That’s pretty big.

Sean: It’s whale boob.

Alec: Whale tit!

Sean: That’s the word on the street, I dunno.

JRBT: So if you met a girl out there with whale boob you’d uh…

Sean: Oh. Haha Oh. Long story short, I guess.

JRBT: Alec, what is your favorite size of boob, sub-question: Can there be a boob too big?

Alec: I guess the long and the short of that would be no. but, I’m not so big on the whales as much as like, I dunno, maybe a hippoptimus.

JRBT: So not gargantuan but, like...

Sean: Enough to grab a hold of.

Alec: If H is whale, then I would have to say W is hippo. So I would have to say W.

JRBT: W, ok size W. The question for Garett, bass player for Tea For The Voyage is what is your favorite size of boob. Singular, not both.

Garett: I kind of enjoy the little handfuls.

Alec: What would that be in terms of classification?

JRBT: In letter size.

Garett: In letter size, oh. Well. I’m not prepared. I would say like the high C I suppose? I’m a middle range man. Personally.

Alec: That’s not very creative.

JRBT: Yeah, they were talking about hippopotamuses.

Garett: Oh Ok, well we saw a greyhound today with giant nipples…

Alec: Garret got a little turned on.

JRBT: Zach, friend of the band, what is your favorite kind of boob? I mean they’re all good but we gotta choose.

Zach: Personally I’m not much of a boob man myself. I would maybe say probably around the C range. The C range would probably be what I would go for but uh. I like to uh...

JRBT: You’re not going to nail yourself to just one?

Zach: I wouldn’t nail myself, I’d like to think that a personality really counts when I’m engaging with a woman.

JRBT: This isn’t a dating interview.

Zach: O.K. OK I guess I’ve said all that I need to say.

JRBT: Fine. C. Next Question. Out of all the songs you’ve ever played over the past four albums and all your years with the band what is your favorite? Be it musically, or you have just as much fun seeing the people get down to it, what’s your favorite song to play live?

Sean: Ain’t No Prophet. By Sublime.

Garett: It’s still your favorite song?

JRBT: Well, to play, right?

Sean: Well that’s a tough one. It was good, right? We haven’t played it in a long time though. So maybe not anymore. Probably The Buttered Chicken.

Alec: Damn you stole my answer.

Sean: I’m sorry!

Alec: That one is my favorite.

Sean: I get to fuckin’ rock on that one. You know?

Alec: Good answer.

JRBT: Garett what’s your favorite song to play?

Garett: Personally I think my favorite song is, you know, we come up with a lot of covers that are fantastic like Walk Of Life for example. Good groups that don’t neccecarily have anything to do with ska music. But I think that my favorite Tea for the Voyage original to play live would have to be Catch As Catch Can. Cause I rock the hell out and people always surprise me when they say they enjoy that song even though it was one of the first we wrote when we were like teenagers and still to this day people will hear that song and say it’s one of our best and it just boggles my mind.

JRBT: Cool.

Sean: I’m gonna change my answer to one of my new songs I’m writing called Jeff pooply.

JRBT: Good! Good! Alec what would you say is your favorite song to play. Being a guitarist you do get to shred on quite a few tracks.

Alec: I guess my favorite for just rocking the fuck out as a band would be Buttered Chicken because every time we play it there’s always a couple people there who are just like, ‘holy fuck’ and just lose their shit. It’s always good cause the rest of the band, Dave and everybody never play it the same way every time and last time we played it there was fuckin’ 90’s hip-hop break-down in it and it was just good. But for guitar rocking-out I used to play this one on our second album. It was like a cover of Rondo Al Turka by Mozart and I just got to play pretty bad-ass. (The other three break into the song) That. 

JRBT: Here’s a generic blogger type question. If you could lay with any celebrity who would it be and why?

Alec: I guess I would have to say...

JRBT: Don’t say George Clooney, He’s taken. By me.

Alec: I see. I guess if we were just lying on a beach or a dock like this I would say Sean Connery because his voice could put me to sleep like just magic.

JRBT: Sean if you could lay with any celebrity who would it be? And why? And try to make it the most erotic you can.

Alec: Not about Sean Connery either. He’s taken by me.

Sean: Hmmm. I don’t know ask Garett first I’ll think of something.

JRBT: Alright Garett same question. Erotic.

Garett: Clint Eastwood.

JRBT: Why are we picking old men?

Garett: There’s just something about them.

Alec: Silver-foxes.

Garett: Technically I would say Rachel McAdams but, Clint Eastwood.

JRBT: Technically you’d say Rachel McAdams?

Garett: In a jail cell.

Alec: A jail cell?

JRBT: Did you just say you’d have sex with jail bait?

Garett: That was an attempt at a Good The Bad And The Ugly joke.

JRBT: I misheard.

Sean: What about Miley Cirus?

Alec: She is closer to your age, Sean.

Sean: Or Hillary Duff.  

JRBT: Oh god hillary duff. Now THERE is a silver fox.

Alec: She’s not a silver fox.

Sean: Miley Cirus isn’t close to my age?

Alec: She’s 18 though right?

Sean: Yeah but I’m 19.

Alec: Well there you go.

JRBT: But Hillary Duff is a fox.  Zach what famous guy or lady would you like to have sex with?

Zach: Well you know I’d like to answer that question but I’m not a member of the band, so…

JRBT: Yeah but you’re a friend of the band. You’re like a friend of PBS.

Alec: And that’s just as good.

Zach: Yeah well, I like to keep my erotic exploits to myself. You know what I mean?

JRBT: To yourself and your diary.

Zach: Yeah you know for personal reasons I’d rather not divulge that information.

JRBT: Alright well, if you could smooch any celebrity who would it be?

Zach: Ummmm…

JRBT: It’s a simple question.

Sean: Denzel Washington? 

The Elusive Silver Fox 

JRBT: Lets hear your top five musical influences in no particular order.

Alec: The Pogues, Sublime, The Police, Planet Smashers and Don Ross.

Garett: I would say Studio One reggae dub records, old 70's reggae cuts, good funkin’ soul like T.O.P. Tower Of Power and good new wave music from the eighties like The Police, Elvis Costello, all the crazy stuff that was "besides the norm" and I’m gonna go with Sublime. Straight up. They brought me into all the other stuff I listen to.

Sean: Bach, Sublime, Buddy Rich, Reggae Music, Stuart Copeland, David Garibaldi was fuckin’ sweet. Tower Of Power.

JRBT: Would you say that was your favorite concert of all time?

Sean: Well, you know. Skatellites was pretty good too.

JRBT: Garett, favorite concert of all time?

Garett: It’s a tie for me and it’s cliché because we’re a ska reggae band and I go see a lot of stuff but it’s between The Skatellites and The Whalers but I’m probably leaning more towards The Whalers because my favorite bassist of all time happened to be playing with them that tour and it was spectacular.

JRBT: Excellent. Alec, favorite concert or concerts you’ve ever seen?

Alec: Hmmm… I did enjoy both of those shows. They were fantastic. I also did enjoy seeing Catch-22 several years ago when I was rather mangled out of my skull. They were good. I did enjoy, at a younger age seeing Natalie MacMaster and The Mahones. They were a very entertaining band. We played with them last summer and they were very good. They’re still good.

JRBT: Out of all the bands that you have played with, opened for and had open for you, who were your favorites to play with or even just hang out with?

Sean: Team Rocket. When we were in Guelph on a tour we played with a couple bands in a basement where there was toilet water coming down from a crack in their basement, which was nice and Team Rocket came out and they played and they were just these two crazy people.

JRBT: Garett same question.

Garett: Clock Strikes for me..

Alec: Oh yeah

Garett: Because we played with them and they really had a similar integrity and idea of music. The same idea that we have which is really hard to find with other bands because you play with a lot of people who come from a different background or whatever, they don’t listen to the same stuff. Clock Strikes was the same kind of band that even though they play one specific style, we play ska, they play punk and reggae, they were really wicked at being people who listen to anything but that kind of music. They all grew up on punk and we all grew up on ska but right now almost none of us listen to the brand of music we play today. We listen to a lot of rock or classical or anything, just crazy stuff. But yeah they’re really just bad-ass guys who have a wicked mentality and it sucks they broke up.

Alec: Yeah they were probably my favorite dudes to chill with. And they were really, really good to hang out with loud, but good. I do like them, they’re my favorites. 

JRBT: Good. Good. Good.

     Well that was the end of the greatest interview of my life. We then proceeded to pound more beers, watch Independence Day on the tube and drunkenly gawk at how cool Robert Loggia is. I guess we do have a weird thing for old men. 

Check out tracks from Tea's latest album on Myspace!


(cause it's awesome).

And Keep your eyes open for Tea For The Voyage! Exclusive Interview Part Two!  Coming soon!

1 comment:

  1. Jesus Christ... you are MEN!!!!!!!
    And I love you.