The Cord interviews OLP

Our Lady Peace has become one of those permanent fixtures in Canadian music culture that fans will always remember for their stand-out albums.

The Toronto-based quartet has changed members a few times over their career that spans 18 years and seven studio albums.

Their biggest hit was “Clumsy”, from the album with the same name that was released in 1997; an entire generation grew up with that album and its memorable gems like “4 a.m.”.

OLP has never had trouble packing the clubs and theatres they tour for faithful fans.

Now, after all this time, they’re giving fans another chance to enjoy their music live with their An Evening with Our Lady Peace that began March 7 in Halifax.

The format pits OLP as the opening act for their own performances; something fans will be eager to witness.

The band spends consecutive nights at each venue on the road, and at each show they will play a single album all the way through, have an intermission, and then come back on stage to give concert-goers a full set list.

“People have been asking us to do this for years,” bassist Duncan Coutts told The Cord in a phone interview.

He explained that the band understands how special this would be, especially for their hard-core listeners.

“It was almost selfish on our part because we’ve never done it before.”

Without argument, it’s a testament to a musician’s talent when they can offer up such a legendary set list – when people come to see one band run the show.

This was most likely one of the deciding factors when Olympic organizing committees asked OLP to perform at the medal ceremonies for the Vancouver 2010 games.

They performed alongside other Canadian acts like Arkells on Feb. 17.

No Canadians were awarded medals on that day; however, Coutts said it was an amazing experience.

“It was everything you could hope it to be. It was an honour to be a part of [the Olympics] and you get to share the moment with [the athletes].”

Coutts joked that the band was disappointed that they didn’t get free access to any of the Olympic events but “it was really cool to be behind the curtain when [U.S. gold medalist] Lindsey Vonn was receiving her medal.”

The bassist also mentioned he thought it was unfair how much pressure was being put on Canadian athletes to succeed on home soil, but he was impressed with how the Olympic competitors handled the stress.

“All of it was great … even after the adversity with the luge athlete and the inclement weather. Regardless of where Canadians medaled they never gave up…. It was a chance to showcase how beautiful the country is and how vibrant we are,” said Coutts.

Like Canada’s Olympic athletes, mainstream bands often have a lot of pressure on them to release material that will consistently top the charts and please critics.

And also like sports, Coutts knows it’s about giving it your best and being satisfied with your performance.

The guys from OLP almost parted ways while recording their 2005 album Healthy in Paranoid Times. Coutts hinted producers were bogging them down.

Critics often cite the departure of guitarist Mike Turner in 2001 as a time when they feel OLP’s quality declined.

So when they began recording their latest album Burn Burn in 2007 they decided to go back to basics; OLP front man and vocalist Raine Maida took over the role of producer.

Coutts used two words to describe making a record without a producer.

“Absolute freedom,” he stated. “And it felt like this was the first time the four members were firing on all four cylinders.”

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