Our Lady Peace Biography

 Duncan, Raine, Jeremy and Mike

    It all started in late 1992, when Raine Maida, a former criminology student at the University of Toronto, answered a "musicians wanted" classified ad, placed by punk guitarist Mike Turner. The duo met up with producer/songwriter Arnold Lanni at a musical seminar, and after scrounging up all their money, made a demo with him. It included the hit song Starseed, and was recorded at Arnyard Studios in the northern Toronto suburb of Weston. The demo got passed around to select labels, and sparked interest in a number of them, both in Canada and in the U.S.

    Reps from many different labels were present at auditions held for the two remaining spots. Eventually, 17 year old drummer Jeremy Taggart, who was still in high school, and bassist Duncan Coutts, a friend of Raine's, were chosen.

 Soon after, Duncan left to further his education, and was replaced by Chris Eacrett, who had been studying marketing at Ryerson University in Toronto.  Though all 4 members were from Toronto, Raine, Mike, Chris and Jeremy had the most diverse tastes in music imaginable - from Middle Eastern sounds to Punk to Metal to Jazz. This wide range challenged the guys to take their music to a higher level, and from the success they got, it's safe to say that it worked!

    The name of the band, Our Lady Peace, comes from a 1943 poem by Mark Van Doren, because it represents the optimism and the range of interpretation in their music.

    With the interest shown, the band decided that if these companies were serious about them, then they'd have to come watch a rehearsal, where OLP would play their five songs to date. Only one label, Sony Canada, accepted the invitation, and arrived with three executives, including the company's president, Rick Cameleri. They ended up liking the songs, so the band told them exactly what they needed - full creative control, over the music, album art and marketing, and the right to develop slowly, at their own pace, to develop a career. Also, they had only played a few shows together to that point, and needed some time to work on that. All of this determination paid off. The men from Sony told them to make a record that sounded just like the demo, and they'd have no outside interference. OLP also found a small label in the U.S., Relativity, who agreed on the same terms. In the spring of '93, they were signed to both, and doing what every band dreams of doing.

     Our Lady Peace waited for Jeremy to graduate from high school, and because they only had three songs recorded, they rented a place in Mississauga, Ontario to jam all day onto a cheap cassette player. Arnold Lanni would check up on them daily, to make sure that everything was OK, and to help them with songs. They worked on this right through the summer, and later returned to good ol' Arnyard Studios to record, hiring Lanni as their full-time producer. They released their first album, Naveed in May 1994 (on Sony in Canada, Relativity in the U.S.), describing the music as "dark optimism". For the moment, they chose to first focus their efforts on the songwriting part of the music, rather than the live show.Naveed went on to sell over half a million copies around the world, and led to huge opening slots for Page/Plant, Van Halen, the Rolling Stones, I Mother Earth, The Ramones, Sponge, Letters To Cleo, Alanis Morissette, Bush, Elastica, and Better Than Ezra. Before the making of Naveed, OLP had only done 7 dates together. After it's release, they went on to do more than 400 shows to over half a million people - about six concerts a week.

     A "spiritual and philosophical difference" was growing between bassist Chris Eacrett and the rest of the band. They sat down together, talked, and acknowleged the fact that they were heading down different paths, both musically and as people. So, in October 1995, Chris was replaced by Duncan Coutts, who had gone back to studying filmduring the production and touring of Naveed.

    In May 1996, Our Lady Peace restarted the writing process for their second album, Clumsy (originally titled either Propeller or Trapeze). To relieve some tension, and to be more focused, they isolated themselves in a rented cottage north of Toronto for six weeks. There, it was easier to just wake up beside a guitar, and write, without any pressure or egos. At the end of the day, when they were sick of playing, they'd go out and have a hockey game. In the production stage, again with Arnold Lanni at Arnyard Studios, doing things cheaply again, the guys spent a lot of time experimenting, trying out new ideas. Duncan plays keyboards and sings, so there were a few more options and angles to explore for the sophomore album. They even tried cello in a couple of songs, but "it didn't seem to fit". Luckily, the record company didn't interfere; they gave the band the time they needed. Because of this, Clumsy took longer to release than expected, and though scheduled for September 1996, wasn't ready until January of 1997. The good thing was that the band was happy with every song.

    Clumsy also did very well, and surpassed sales of Naveed. In the summer of 1997, Our Lady Peace accepted the invitation to headline the Canadian music festival, Edgefest, which included a heap of canadian talent including I Mother Earth, the Age of Electric and Econoline Crush.

    On Thursday, September 18th, 1997, the Much Music Video awards took place in Toronto. Our Lady Peace won 2 out of the 4 awards that they were nominated for, one being the People's Choice for best group. Though awards don't mean much to the band, the ones voted on by the fans are higher up there, because "that's what it's all about". They also performed 'Superman's Dead' later that night.

    Just after that, Our Lady Peace announced a massive cross Canada arena tour, beginning January 3rd. Their goal was to make the "big arenas not seem like big arenas", which is a hard thing to do when you're selling out venues like Maple Leaf Gardens. However, after seeing the show in Vancouver myself, I can honestly say that they attained this goal, and even surpassed it. From the opening "doo doo...doo doo doo's" of Automatic Flowers, I could see the amount of preparation and worked involved in what they were doing. They directed their own short films to show during and in between songs, most featuring Saul Fox (the Birdman and Clumsy guy), which really got the crowd going. Other highlights were the slow piano version of Julia, based on a girl named Sarah Slean's demo tape, and an unreleased song, Trapeze, which had also been played on the Alanis tour. Trapeze had a great story to go along with it, and made you really focus on the lyrics to understand the ending.

    The summer of 1998 was definitely a highlight in Our Lady Peace's careers, as they finally were able to put on their own festival. 'Summersault' had been talked about for a while, and was put on in a few eastern Canadian cities. It showcased a wide variety of talent, including the Crystal Method, Sloan, Moist, Garbage, I Mother Earth, and numerous up and coming bands. All of these bands were connected to OLP in some way, whom they were either friends with or fans of.

  September 21st 1999...in Canada this marks the release of OLP's third album, Happiness...Is Not A Fish That You Can Catch.

For more recent information, check out the News section

Michael Raine Maida: Born Feb 18th 1970 in Weston, Ontario, Canada, he is the vocalist and lyricist of the band. He also plays guitar, especially for writing, but prefers to leave most of that to Mike. The first song he ever learned to play was 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' by U2. After three knee surgeries and chronic back problems, Raine started practicing yoga, and meditation to relieve the strain. He also plays more guitar live now to keep himself from going too crazy on stage. His lyrics are personal, yet very interpretable and cryptic. Raine is an avid reader, (songs Starseed and Hello Oskar are derived from books he's read) and a self proclaimed media junkie. His parents are divorced, his dad owns a construction business and he has a brother, Adam, who is 18 years younger. He also has a tattoo (a cross with vines covering it) on the right side of his back.Before Our Lady Peace Raine was studying criminology at the University of Toronto, and was only a four month semester, 2 1/2 credits away from his degree. His influences are mainly female singers, notably Sinead O'Connor, because they are more acrobatic, they "get much more naked vocally when they sing", and because of their lack of ego and machismo. He also likes middle eastern sounds, and artists like Jeff Buckley. Raine goes by his middle name to avoid confusion between him and Mike Turner.

Mike Turner: Born June 5, 1962 (or 1963???), he plays guitar, and does back-up vocals in the band. Mike a degree in English from the University of Western Ontario, and worked as a welder in amachine shop. He had to stop changing his hair around because it confused too many people. He was born and raised with three sisters, in Bradford, England during the punk explosion of the late '70s, which is where his style is derived from. Mike names the Sex Pistols as one of his big influences. On his 17th birthday, Mike got his first guitar as gift from his parents. The first song he ever learned to play on the guitar was 'Day Tripper' by the Beatles. After moving to Oshawa, Ontario, and forming Our Lady Peace, he realized that wanted to take some more lessons, and focus more on the technique of playing, rather than just power chords.

Jeremy Taggart: Born April 7, 1975. Jeremy (5'10") was playing in the band before he even finished high school (and got the band in trouble in bars for being underage), but they waited for him to graduate before recording Naveed. His drumming has always been very jazz influenced, playing with complicated time signatures and so on. Jeremy has three siblings (I've read both one brother and two sisters, and one sister and two brothers). The other guys joke around saying that he has the worst personal hygiene of all of them (his 'magic socks' seem to show up at every show) and sleeps the most too. He is also allergic to almost everything...including chocolate, weiners and alcohol. Poor guy.

Duncan Coutts: Born Feb 4th (or 5th), 1970, and an only child. He was with the band originally, but then left to continue studying film at Toronto's Ryerson University, before re-joining Our Lady Peace in 1995. Duncan (whose real name is Bob) used his melodic bass style in many Toronto bar bands. One of his pre-band jobs was a taxi driver in Whistler B.C., and he also worked as a set dresser on Due South. Along with bass he plays keyboards and cello, and occasionally sings back up.

More individual info can be found in an article from the Edgefest '97 tour guide

E-mail Alison - ourladypeacer@audiophile.com