Our Lady Peace survives Paranoid Times

By Anushka Nagji

“Fights, lots of fights, there were tumultuous times, we would do six weeks and take another two off,” explains Jeremy Taggart, Drummer of Our Lady Peace on the recording of their latest album, Healthy in Paranoid Times. “It’s just the tension, it was taking a lot of time, we just kept recording songs and burning money. It really threw us off.” Through all of this the album almost didn’t make it. After 1,165 days and over 40 songs recorded, Healthy, and more importantly, Our Lady Peace survived.

“Healthy in Paranoid Times is my favorite album,” Taggart remarks. “We’ve never gone through so much adversity for a record and at the end of the day we came through it and this album is the resolution to all that.”

All of this led to a near redefinition of Our Lady Peace as a band with a darker, more personal edge and a new social conscience. This new outlook is best expressed on songs like “Boy” written by frontman Raine Maida about the birth of his two sons within 18 months and “Al Genina (Leave the Light On)” dedicated to the citizens of Darfur. While Maida’s outspoken views on Bush and the Darfur genocide may turn off some fans, Taggart supports his opinions.

“We’ve always been a socially conscious band, Raine went to the Middle East twice and he writes the lyrics,” he says. “Eventually it gets to the point where it’s unavoidable not to talk about what’s happening in the world around us.”

Clearly the band has matured and grown both musically and lyrically from their beginnings. The new OLP is a far cry from the band who penned “Superman’s Dead” and rose to stardom years ago.

“We’re light-years from where we were when we started out, I’ve spent half of my life with this band,” says Taggart. “When we started out we were more naive than anything else, we didn’t know what we were getting into.”

Behind all the politics and materialism defining the music industry, there is a strong message in Our Lady Peace’s seventh release. The message is even clear in the album’s title and offers sane advice when many sources give the opposite.

“Acceptance and empowerment, accepting that there are problems around, understanding those problems and then doing something about them,” Taggart elaborates. “Raine will tell you that ‘Jeremy hated the title, but it’s not that. Once I heard Healthy In Paranoid Times my initial reaction was that there was a possibility for the title to be confusing. But the unavoidable truth is that the world is paranoid in terms of religion, politics are volatile and the point is to empower yourself with knowledge and stay healthy. I have faith in my friends and my loved ones, they’re my number one faith. I have faith in humanity, hoping that there are more good people than bad, although it may not seem like it now.”

In the end, making music and a difference is what matters to the band. Certainly not your typical sentiment from rock royalty.

“Success was just having finished the album, hearing the final product,” he says. It doesn’t matter who likes it or how many people buy it. Success is best when found in yourself.”

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