As March 30th, the date of Our Lady Peace’s stop in Kelowna, fast approaches, Jason Pierce was gracious enough to spend some time talking about their New album and the tour that is underway currently with fellow Canadian rock legend Matthew Good. With two Canadian Rock Music heavyweights at the helm, it will prove to be a tour not to be missed. If the conversation with Jason, from Our Lady Peace, is any indication you will not want to miss their stop in Kelowna.
Curtis Woodcock: So far how has the tour been?
Jason: Oh, incredible. We started out in St. Johns and did Moncton and Halifax so far, and the tour is starting to come together. Halifax was the first night with the joint encore of Hello Time Bomb with Matt Good and his band.
CW: That is so awesome!
J: Oh yeah it was friggin’ awesome! It was my childhood dream come true to play the cowbell in the bridge of Hello Time Bomb. I got to rock an arena with a cowbell!
CW: That's amazing! Are you guys doing that the whole tour?
J: Yeah, I think the plan is to do that most nights!
CW: In regards to the new album, how did you guys approach the recording process?
J: The recording process from what I know is different for the band on this record. We did most of the record live off of the floor as a full band. I don't think they have approached it that way before. We all piled in the Jackson Brown studio in Santa Monica and just locked ourselves in there for a few days for the first half of the record and just banged it out. The vibe of that studio built that first half of the record. It's awesome!
CW: That's great! It's fun to be able to do a live setting so you’re recording it all together. A lot of the times its sending files to each other from other parts of the world and it isn't as connected. It's great that technology enables us to get stuff done on busy schedules like that.
J: Totally, there is a track on the record that we approached that way. We ended up tracking drums and bass in my studio in Toronto and sending them to Raine in L.A. So there was a bit of that on one of the songs but on the whole, the record was done organically. We ended up being precious with the overdubs and things like that. The record is just that: it's not touched up, it's not edited, it’s just four guys in the studio.
CW: I enjoyed the sound of the record, so its great to know that it was just you guys doing what you love! In regards to other bands you've recorded with is that process different?
J: Oh absolutely. Most records that I have done, I have played on probably around a hundred records so far in my career. I have been really lucky that way cause I was a session touring guy for a long time so I wouldn't even need the artist. I would be in a room with a producer tracking drums and the next time I hear it it's on the radio. So there is no attachment to it that way. So this is completely different, I am involved from the ground floor of the songwriting on this record too. Which is incredible because I am the new guy in the band! They didn't have to do that, but I am super glad that they brought me into the family with open arms.
CW: That's good to hear! You always wonder how it is when a new member joins a band how the connection is at first and what it grows into. That's awesome that it has been a wonderful thing right from the get-go.
J: Absolutely! My first connection with the band when I was going through the audition process was sitting down having a coffee and a pastry with Duncan. We started off as friends, and it's been super organic growing into the four-piece unit that it is today. I could not be happier with how that worked out!
CW: Another thing I was curious about was what events led up to the change from a touring drummer to a full member. I know that you joined them in 2014 as a touring member so what fostered that relationship into a full member of the band?
J: it probably has a lot to do with the fact that Duncan and I are the two that live in Toronto and Raine and Steve live in L.A. So Duncan and I started getting together and tried writing together. This would have been about two years ago. This happened once in a while, and now it's at the point where he comes over two times two or three days a week. We just work on stuff and became best friends through all of this.
CW: With one of the tracks on the album being a tribute to Gord Downie I was wondering what kind of effect has his passing had on you?
J: Oh, “Ballad of a Poet” yeah, I caught the live broadcast of the last show, and it brought me to tears. Feeling the gravity of the situation and trying to put myself in his perspective and it hit super close to home. I can't even imagine being on the stage looking out and knowing that this is the last time that I am getting my soul connected to this arena.
CW: I remember seeing that show and just being blown away by his composure and passion. I couldn't imagine how that would feel either. Something else that I was thinking about was you were touring with Never Ending White Lights and you guys opened up for Our Lady Peace and if that was when you guys first met?
J: Yeah that was the first time we met. The first show was in Victoria at the Save on Foods centre. I was born in ‘85, so I grew up with Clumsy, everyone had a copy of it you know? I was a super OLP fan, wore my Clumsy shirts until they had holes in it, meeting them on that tour I was beyond excited! I don't think I slept much on that tour.
CW: What is one of your favourite songs to play from the back catalogue?
J: I am going to have to go with “One Man Army”. I have always been a huge fan of Taggert's drum work and being able to honour him by playing that is just ridiculous. I love it, and when I see that song on the set list, it puts an instant smile on my face.
CW: It’s such a great live song and has such a great feel to it! On the new album what would your favourite song to play live?
J: I hate to say it because it was the first single off of it, but I would have to say “Drop Me in the Water”. Honestly, the crowd reaction to that song has been on par with the Clumsy era of material from the first time we ever played it. It's a bold thing to say, but every band member agrees that the crowd reaction to it is insane. We opened up the first three shows with “Drop Me in the Water”. Seeing arenas light up when that first guitar riff hit is incredible.
CW: That's pretty amazing to have people connect to your guy's music in a similar kind of meaningful way that they connected to your guy's older material!
J: The other night in Halifax, I posted a video recently actually, when we were playing “Ballad of a Poet” there were five or six thousand people in this arena with their cell phones lighting the place up. To have a song from the era of the band that I'm from, and this record and everything, having that kind of connection with the crowd, it was probably one of the most real moments of my career.
CW: In regards to you personally, what are some of your most important musical influences?
J: Ohh that's a tough one. It changes it changes. I am really into a band called PVRIS right now. Their last couple of records are great. I listen to them at the gym, and I listen to them while I'm trying to fall asleep. It's funny that the same music that I work out to is the same music that I can fall asleep. That's just a little step in my mind. I'm really into them, and I am also really into a band called Eisley. I have been a fan of theirs for probably over a decade now. Going back to older music it would have to be Zeppelin. Every drummer on earth is obsessed with John Bonnom with good reason. More recent people probably Josh Friese, growing up he was my number one hero. In 2011 in the Paramore camp he was the one playing drums with them before me. It was terrifying, but it was awesome.
CW: It may be a little early to ask but are there any follow-up album plans or tours?
J: I am not sure about concrete plans but we will tour heavily in support of this album, and we will not stop expressing ourselves through creating new music.
CW: Since joining OLP what has been one of the more meaningful experiences that you've had?
J: “The Ballad of the Poet’ in Halifax would probably be the top of my list. Other than that probably my second show with the band was out in Victoria at Rock the Shores back in 2014. We were playing a song called “Angels Losing Sleep”, and it was the first time that that song sat properly from the drum perspective, and we just gelled as a unit, and I had goosebumps over my entire body as we were playing that song.
We went on to discuss a possible rescheduling of a Naveed 20 tour in celebration of its 20th anniversary. As of right now, it is undetermined, but it does sound like they will be touring quite heavily in the next while. The new album Somethingness was also reviewed recently, so make sure to check out what the Phoenix had to say about it. This is a very exciting tour, and we thank Jason for spending some time with the Phoenix to discuss some of the highlights thus far. Pick up some tickets to see Jason and the rest of Our Lady Peace in action on March 30, 2018, at Prospera Place.