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Superman's alive again on Toronto band's nostalgic tour

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/4/2010 (3122 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

When it comes to music, it doesn't get much more different than Devo and Our Lady Peace.

One is a quirky new wave band whose members are known for wearing upside-down flower pots on their heads, while the other is a staple of Canadian rock.

Yet after guitarist Steve Mazur saw Devo playing their first two albums in order in concert last year, he was inspired to get OLP to hit the road to play Clumsy and Spiritual Machines in their entireties,

His original idea was to do a full week and cover every album, but the band narrowed it down to two discs, drummer Jeremy Taggart explains.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/4/2010 (3122 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Our Lady Peace (from left): Duncan Coutts (bass), Steve Mazur (guitar), Jeremy Taggart (drums) and Raine Maida (vocals).

SONY MUSIC CANADA

Our Lady Peace (from left): Duncan Coutts (bass), Steve Mazur (guitar), Jeremy Taggart (drums) and Raine Maida (vocals).

When it comes to music, it doesn't get much more different than Devo and Our Lady Peace.

One is a quirky new wave band whose members are known for wearing upside-down flower pots on their heads, while the other is a staple of Canadian rock.

Yet after guitarist Steve Mazur saw Devo playing their first two albums in order in concert last year, he was inspired to get OLP to hit the road to play Clumsy and Spiritual Machines in their entireties,

His original idea was to do a full week and cover every album, but the band narrowed it down to two discs, drummer Jeremy Taggart explains.

"His favourite record as a fan is Spiritual Machines and Clumsy is second, so every city we'll play two nights in a theatre," Taggart says, in advance of the two Winnipeg shows Friday and Saturday at the Burton Cummings Theatre

Clumsy seems like an obvious choice for the band to perform. It was a huge record for the Toronto group following its release in 1997, with the title track and Superman's Dead helping the album go diamond (sales of over one million in Canada).

On the flip side, Spiritual Machines was considered a relative commercial failure in 2000; it was the worst seller of all the band's early releases. The disc was the brainchild of former guitarist Mike Turner and frontman Raine Maida, who wanted to do a concept album based on a book they'd both read at the time, Ray Kurzweil's The Age of Spiritual Machines.

"Of course someone like a promoter would tell you to do only the ones that sold the most, or had the most radio hits. Clumsy sold two million copies and Spiritual Machines sold the least of all those early records, but it was critically acclaimed by fans," Taggart says.

"When Clumsy came out, it was us and the Spice Girls the whole year. It's not one of those things you expect to happen, but it did, but Spiritual Machines is something you do expect: it's triple platinum instead of diamond."

With the albums selected, the quartet then had to go back and relearn how to play some of the material, especially the songs that were never performed live. Mazur hadn't played on the albums — he joined the band in 2002 — but for Taggart it brought back memories of shows in scummy clubs (their first Winnipeg gig was at the Portage Village Inn with I Mother Earth) and criss-crossing the country in a van.

"I was 21 when I recorded Clumsy, and when I go back, I'm going back to a lot of first memories of growing up. For me, it's super nostalgic to think of recording that album," he says.

"In terms of playing that as a drummer, it's fun. A lot of friends of mine would say it's busy drumming; there's a lot of loud and bombastic parts, but that's the way it's supposed to be when you're a young punk."

Following the release of Clumsy, things changed for the band. They were in regular rotation on the radio, moved up to headliner status and went from clubs to theatres and, eventually, arenas.

This time, they wanted to present the shows in smaller venues to present a unique experience, Taggart says.

Each night also features a second set of greatest hits and songs from their new album, Burn, Burn, Burn.

rob.williams@freepress.mb.ca

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