Though Raine has his own
reasons and inspirations for writing the lyrics of songs, he prefers that
the listener takes something different from each one, instead of him telling
fans what they mean. It's important that the lyrics be challenging enough
for him to sing, to keep interest in the long term. "I'm the one
who has to sing these songs and if it ends up being 300 nights a year,
they'd better have a powerful effect on my life. Otherwise, they'll end
up feeling stale."
going to go on stage and sing your own music, and, I guess, my lyrics,
I just have to be completely honest. You just let yourself go with it.
[They're] meant to be interpreted. I have a huge fear of being pretentious
or grandstanding with my lyrics. So I try to make them a little bit more
ambiguous, just to make them more universal, just so that each listener
can approach it from every angle and take whatever they want from it, rather
than me just sitting there telling them about my problems. They're really
not that unique. It's a fine balance between being passionate about what
I'm talking about and not giving it all away at the same time."
people criticized me for being honest than for being some guy who is preachy
or full of shit."
"I think it's
like having a baby [the lyric writing process] is very painful for me.
It's all observational for me and I take notes about things that interest
me. I go back to them every couple of weeks or months and see if they have
any relevance to me and slowly decipher stuff until we're ready to put
music to the words. It's a really strange thing how it all happens for
me and it's tough, because when I write, I'm playing the acoustic guitar
and trying to put all these melodies to the words and, all of a sudden,
you have all these rules. It's not like poetry, but I feel that I'm becoming
better at it and hope to continue getting better."
"As a lyricist,
I've grown tenfold. I don't know for what reason, maybe you just get better
with age or experience. I think the lyrics are not as surreal and ambiguous
as they were on the Naveed disc. I think Clumsy's lyrics kind of hit home,
a little more. They all derive from personal experience, but I don't think
people will think I'm overindulgent and just talking about myself. Clumsy's
lyrics guide the listener through the story a lot quicker. You'll be able
to pick up on the meaning within the song, without trying as hard. There's
a lot of room for interpretation, they're still very open, which I think
is important. My problems really aren't all that unique, so if people can't
take them home with them and feel like they can somehow relate them to
their lives, then it's not really worth it."
general and open-ended you can leave lyrics, the more people are going
to be able to take home for themselves and put their own perceptions on
them, and not be so narrow-minded because someone is telling them specifically
what you need to take out of a song"
he was some kind of politician that lost it and was living on the streets
and just going nuts all night,"
with the brand of easy charisma that assures a spellbound audience for
each of his effortless tales.
"It was so
strange. [The next morning] I just caught a few words as I passed by him,
and he was one of the most
people I've ever heard speak. Right then I had this enlightenment. I didn't
give him a chance, and
so many times where you miss opportunities because you form an opinion
so quickly." - Raine Maida
other songs, this too is based on a book. I believe that it's by Ken Carey,
and is titled "You are the seed, the origin of much that is to come."
whole lot [is behind the song]. The lyrics are my take on religion. I'm
into a lot of meditating. My Dad was Catholic and he tried to school me
in that, but I never really caught on. I'm always interested in religion
and the way it effects society. The "Starseed" thing is about going out
on a meditation journey and coming back with something tangible. Something
you actually believe in. Something that means something to me. In Western
society, trying to have that incorporated into any religion would be hard
to accept. Most people are hard pressed to change their views. I realized
with my Dad you can't change the old dog." -
based on this book by Ken Carey, 'The Starseed Transmission,' about a channeling
experience he had .I took the premise of that and combined it with Western
religion and how it's so hard to convince my father's generation of anything
other than the religious values instilled in them. My dad tried to raise
me as a Catholic. Every time I talk about religion with [him] it's kind
of tough, you just kind of have to go about it on your own and persevere
under the duress of your family, usually. I think our whole generation
is looking for [answers] and looking for bits and parts of religion and
not being sucked in by the whole stringent approach, like Catholicism and
stuff like that. And the [song's] whole chorus is about if you've had this
channeling experience and found something that actually meant something
to you, bringing it back and trying to convince anybody else is
an easy task. We're obviously not the first generation to [seek spiritual
answers], but it seems really relevant right now, especially the last few
years with the economy and everything, everyone's questioning stuff. Especially
my three years at the University [of Toronto], it seemed like everybody
was just passing time, and they knew they wouldn't have a job [upon graduation].
They were still going through the motions. It's just been a weird few years.
I think these days with the whole global village, information is so readily
available, you can learn about Taoism or any type of philosophy or religion,
so you can pick good things out of all of them and make your own... If
you are going to have religion, it should be something you're comfortable
with, not something you're fighting." - Raine
Modern Age by Eric Boehlert/Billboard/week ending May 13, 1995
named after a friend of mine. His name is Naveed. He's Iranian and one
day he told me the background [of the name] was a person referred to as
a bearer of good news. We don't want to make this seem like a big concept
album. But it just seemed to be fitting for us to kind of put some optimism
in the whole record. I mean, the lyrics are kind of dark and I think one
can see there's an aggressive nature to the record. But we didn't want
to be another angry band that didn't think." -
is an ancient Middle Eastern term for bearer of good news encompassing
the distance between
and reality," he explains. Naveed bursts with emotional openness coupled
with Maida's stream of
musings. The singer intentionally leaves his lyrics open-ended, but the
themes are universal,
spirituality, love, liberty, hope and despair. "'Naveed' was a friend of
mine," explains Our Lady Peace singer Raine Maida about the title of his
band's debut record (on Relativity). "It's Persian for 'Bearer of Good
News,' and in the lyrics, there's always some kind of optimism... the idea
was to thread some positively through the entire record."
- Raine Maida
is kind of ties in all the lyrics. Naveed is a middle eastern name that
stands for the bearer of good news, and a lot of the songs talk about strife
and struggle, but it's more on a personal level for me. 'Naveed' talks
about someone scared to die, but at the same time interested in it." -
Lady Peace by Drew Masters/M.E.A.T. Magazine/March-April 1994, Issue
is the ancient Middle Eastern name for bearer of good news," explains Our
Lady Peace vocalist/lyricist
"We took the concept of Naveed and placed it into the dark optimism of
our music. Naveed is a
to obtain knowledge, possessed with the desire to grow mentally and spiritually.
We have forced
travel the distance between mysticism and bitter reality." -
just about how hard it is for kids to grow up today. They're inundated
with the media and images and cliques
they try to
have to fit into. Two images that are really strong for me lyrically are
ordinary's just not good enough
when I think of kids today, I would never think of a group of eight year
olds going out to a baseball
park and throwing
the ball around. It doesn't happen any more. I have a nine year old brother;
he's either inside playing Nintendo or staying up late on a school night
watching Beavis & Butt-Head. And you juxtapose that against the old
Superman, on the black and white series. He was a real hero, good values,
strong willed, a gentleman, but I think Beavis & Butt-Head wins today."
"Media in general
has made it pretty impossible to have an innocent view of heroism. No one
can be a hero without there being an ulterior motive. You're not doing
it because you're nice, you're trying to get something. That's sort of
an element of what we're talking about in 'Superman.' It's not good, kids
don't have their own identity because they get one made for them. Their
told by advertisers, media and entertainment. What they like, who they
should be friends with, what music they listen to, what clothes they wear.
They have a complete identity that they learned to conform to by they're
15 or 16. They've had absolutely no personal investment in getting their
own identity and that's not good." - Mike
Mr. Maida began
by thinking about a woman who lived alone in her apartment. She has little
going on in her life, and the apartment is dingy, without much of a view.
She has boxes from her childhood, and one day she takes out a pop-up book
and opens it to a garden with pop-up flowers. Whenever she wants to cheer
herself up, she opens the book.
put that entire history in the lyrics, just traces of it - ``Crying, crying/She
couldn't afford the view/Crying, crying/These automatic flowers won't do.''
"Hey, you all remember that game where you're, you're like 8 years old
or 9 years old, you'd be walking home from 4th grade, remember 4th grade?
Remember your 4th grade teacher? Mine was Ms.Bealak, she was a real bitch.
Remember 4th grade and you're walking home right? All of a sudden you're
jumping, like this, right? You're avoiding the cracks, you're not steppin'
on the cracks because, remember that game? Don't step on the cracks, don't
break you're mother's back. Well, we're playing in Denver, it's hot as
shit and we're all exhausted by the heat and all. Mike and I are walking
right, and we start hopping over the cracks like a bunch of idiot's. Hold
on, you don't understand. In my crazy head I start thinking about this
silly kids game. It's supposed to be this silly kids game were you hop
over the cracks, you don't break your mother's back. I'm thinking: you
know what this isn't a game, this is like preparation for being an adult,
or being like a teenager, and what happens, hold on, is those cracks become
the math exam you failed, or the girlfriend or boyfriend, and now you're
having a baby, they're pregnant, or the day your parents sit you down and
tell you that they're getting a divorce. Those are the cracks that you
have to hop over, you guys get that? This is what I'm thinking, and you're
mother's back becomes your back, and no shit that it's to hard to take
and sometimes you're gonna break right? Well this next song is about those
days when you feel like you're surrounded by the cracks, they're all around
you. It's called 'carnival'" - Raine Maida
A lot of people wanted to know about "Carnival."
There's actually a cool story with how it happened. We sort of sequestered
ourselves in a
northern Toronto to write this record. We did it by leaving a tape running,
we had a cassette
a microphone in there, we just left it running. The cottage is also pretty
seriously haunted. I
says all granola and groovy.
It's never been haunted before.
Coutts family cottage, so he's still complaining about it. Jeremy saw stuff.
I saw stuff. Jeremy was playing with a wee gee board.
Which was stupid, stupid!
I only did it once before. I was with a bunch of people and they asked
"is this a good spirit or
a bad spirit"
and simultaneously all the candles in the room blow out. I'm like, I'm
never touching a wee
again. So Jeremy buys a wee gee board to bring up to the cottage. He's
like "I want a bad
want a bad spirit." He literally went into this trance 6 hours later and
some really weird things
We were sifting through the tape a couple days later.
We were going back through the tape and I heard that (hums the strange
Where did that come from?
No one remembered playing it. It was like "did anyone remember this? What
were we working
on when this
happen?" Basically that section was almost complete. The song sprang out
of that pretty
has that vibe. We tried to keep that kind of dark, semi twisted vibe to
It's just got one of those cool vibes too it, it'll always be a weird song
titled 'Spider Gun' and then 'Disgusted'
"We were at friend's house and this one person had a really cool looking
gun. He told me it's a Beretta. It's like a handgun, a real gun right.
So my friend decides to take a shower. So I take the gun and play with
it. I used to be this super huge Starky and Hutch fan. So i'm holding the
gun thinking I'm pretty cool I guess. I take the clip out because I don't
want to hurt anyone, obviously. So I put the clip back in the box thinking
I'm fine. I go to his bathroom and sneak behind this corner and I can see
him with my left eye. I decide that I'm gonna scare him. So when he shut
off the shower, I come around and I say BANG!!! And he falls on the shower
floor, very scared! He's laughing and crying. I just pointed his Beretta
on him (my best friend). He said, "Do you know that a Beretta has 13 bullets,
and there's a bullet still in the chamber you know!" - Raine Maida
"The song 'Big Dumb Rocket' is about me almost killing one of my best friends
with a gun. It was one of those stupid incidents. I didn't know there was
a bullet in the chamber, it was a Beretta, I removed the clip, but I didn't
the bullet stays in the chamber always. That happened about two and half
years ago, and I still have
about it. I was just a fucking idiot. Every song, is pretty much based
on those four or five seconds where you have the chance to make the right
or wrong decision. Luckily, in some of those instances, I didn't have to
pay, but I did make the wrong decision." -
a very personal song for Raine ("that song's about as personal as it gets").
His parents are really divorced, so this song has to do with the relationship
between him and his father. The title of the song has a double entendre
as well. '4am' - the time he wrote the song, and 'for A.M.', his father's
am was like an epiphany," he says. "It happened at about 4 a.m. in my bedroom
one night -- I wrote the chords and lyrics in about five minutes. Those
types of things scare me, because you can't rely on that stuff. I get a
little worried about that. When it happens that quickly, you feel like
it's a gift. Sometimes I feel like I didn't write it," he adds, cryptically.
"That someone, wherever, gave it to me." -
you guys doing this evening? So how many people here have younger brothers
or sisters here? That you're going to go home and beat the shit out of?
I have a younger brother...we did that until he got bigger than me, but
most of our songs are about just that i, try to write all the lyrics that
just specifically talk about pounding your siblings...but this next song
is about going home, maybe even this evening and giving them a hug, it's
called Clumsy." - Raine Maida
song is about hugging your brother" (sound on my sounds page)
From Live at the
Troubador - L.A. 1997
"There's a connection between the song 'Clumsy' and it being the title
of the album. There's a line in the song
'I'll be waving my hand/watching you drown/watching you scream', it's about
seeing something but not
for what it really is. It is about decisions. That image of 'waving your
hand/watching you drown', is about
in the water, they're waving back at you and you're just waving back, not
realizing that they are
Or, you think they're drowning, but they're just waving at you. It's those
weird situations where you just take something at face value, but you can
be so wrong. You have to look deeper and question things. I think it's
something that too many people don't do these days. We're so inundated
with fucking media, and you just believe it. How many times, not to just
focus on us, have we read an interview or an article where we've been completely
misquoted? We're just some small band, you think about some of the major
players and you really have to question how true it all is." -
all about perceptions. I think a lot of times people tend to not give people
the benefit of the doubt. It's a lot easier to get angry at someone and
shrug them off, than really spend the time and put the effort into feeling
out what may be troubling them or disturbing them or building a nurturing
relationship with someone that you care about." -
like I said before, it's just about perspective. At different times of
the day you see the same things differently. It's just about standing back
sometimes trying to really see what's happening and get to the heart of
may be. It's important to be analytical about things. i think sometimes
people are a little temperamental or judgmental. Sometimes the energy you
have stored up in your body comes out the wrong way and you have to be
aware of the things you say to people and the way you view your problems.
That's the whole 'watching' thing. You can see someone and they might appear
to be waving you good-bye and you can walk away and they'll end up drowning,
or you an see it from a different perspective and see that they are drowning
and they need your help and you need to jump in and save them." -
from a book titled 'Hello, Oscar', about schizophrenia. There is a reference
to Betty Page, who was a 50's pin-up girl, one of the most photographed
people ever - up there with Marilyn Monroe. She would pose nude for lingerie,
until one day she just disapeared. She probably left to pursue a normal
life, and no one has heard from her since. The character Betty Boop was
based on this woman.
Story of 100 Aisles
the only songs on the album where the title is exactly what the song means.
(sound on my sounds
a song about a, the long country road. It's 2:30 in the morning and you're
driving home. And you're tired and your eyes are falling. You can't see
too far ahead of you. All of a sudden traffic slows down, right? And all
you see is brake lights for miles. In your mind, frustration builds. Slowly
but surely traffic moves, and you finally get over this hill, and you can
see there's all these beacons, right, it's a police car, or, an ambulance
or both. Frustration slowly, slowly turns into anxiety, right, and you
wanna see what's going on up ahead. All of a sudden your car gets close
enough to where you can see that there's another car that's flipped over
in the ditch, and there's, one beyond that, is maybe on fire, and there's
police officers and ambulance attendants, and everyone's frantic, right,
and you, you reach for that door, to get out, and then something pulls
you back and you get this sick feeling in your stomach right, that, tells
you to stay in your car. This next song's about a night just like that
and the reason you were stopped in your car is because somebody crossed
that yellow line and tried to kill themselves. It's a song called Car Crash."
From Live at the
Troubador - L.A. 1997
I have an interesting story, The story is something I read about four years
ago. This story is about the Russian circus, or the country that used to
be Russia, that was famous for this circus, and in that circus they were
most famous for their high flying trapeze artists, right. Hold on, These
trapeze artists, the unique thing about this was that these two famous,
or most famous people was they were married. They were a husband and wife
team, how romantic is that? The funny thing, one day, they'd been touring
for eight or nine years, the husband before he's about to perform makes
his way slowly, slowly but surely up the stand to his little perch, right
up here, he'd be there in big arenas like this right, they were playing
arenas like this, right. So the husband would be perched up here, right,
and he'd be waiting patiently for his show to begin, right. So he would
stand up there all ready and his wife would be at the other end of the
arena, that'd be way over here, and what he'd done for eight years was,
just before they were about to perform he would give this loving, knowing
glance to his wife. So, once there was this time he looked across the arena,
he looked across the arena and he would pick up the beautiful smile she
had. Now this one particular evening, the husband was up there, he knows
it's time, and he looks across the arena right, he waits for his wife's
knowing glance, that beautiful, knowing glance, and he looks for it, only
this time, hey, hey, only this time the wife perched up there is not looking
that way but she's looking down in the corner, and in that corner is the
human cannonball, so the husband starts thinking, his mind starts racing,
he's thinking about the last two days, two weeks, two months, two years,
and he realizes, he says to himself "Holy shit...my wife's fucking the
human cannonball" And this next song, we've recorded but have not yet released
is about the four seconds that he has to decide whether he actually wants
to catch his wife or not, it's a song called "Trapeze"."
Arena Tour 1997
of the first lyrics I wrote were for 'Trapeze', a song which never made
the record, but we play it live. These initial ideas kind of set the tone,
because I really told a story. 'Trapeze' is about the head trapeze artist
at a Russian circus who was married to one of the female performers. The
couple got a divorce because he found out she was having an affair with
someone else in the camp. That kind of set the tone for the record, which
I think is based on making decisions, but when you get caught off guard
and you have to make a choice. It's about what people choose to do in those
times." - Raine Maida
Army' is about the struggle for individuality. It's about finding the courage
to strip naked and set fire to all your inhibitions. It's about cleansing
yourself of all the people and things that suffocate your individuality."
- Raine Maida
a distress signal, really. It's a call to everyone who's found themselves
stuck in their rooms having their souls sucked out of them by TV and having
television or the Internet mold their values and interests. It's a call
for help from one isolated person to another." -