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Future Shockers - Pick out the Jams

Maximum guitar magazine November 1997

    "We're incredibly hard workers," says Mike Turner, guitarist for the Canadian hard-rock quartet Our lady Peace.  Even that's an understatement:  In recording Clumsy for Columbia Records, the band locked itself in a studio-cabin north of Toronto for up to 17 hours a day.  Talk about cabin fever!

    But even after studiously filling up countless reels of tape with jamming and sonic experiements, then meticulously replaying everything, the best parts of clumsy all happened by accident.  The scary little guitar lick on "carnival", for instance, was a mystery monument.  " I don't even remember playing it," admits Turner. 

    Like "Carnival" and the tight, catchy first single "Superman's Dead", most of Clumsy ( the follow-up to 1994's Gold-selling debut Naveed) serves up two distinct guitar parts in the same song.  "There should always be a few things to listen to, never just one thing", says Turner.   "Instead of just playing the meat and potatoes part, there's another little piece we put into the space".

    Turner's big-and-small sounds, combined with Raine Maida's moaning vocals and the booming rhythm section of the basist Duncan Coutts and drummer Jeremy Taggart, makes for a dark arena-rock sound that conjoures up visions of Smashing Pumpkins and Alice in Chains beating the shit out of each other.

    The hard part is reproducing clumsy live-and it means cameos by reluctant rhythm guitarist Maida.  "I prefer to use the guitar more as a writing tool", the singer says.  "I leave all that other stuff for Mike to handle.   I have no desire to be a lead guitar payer."  Fair enough, cabin boy.

                                                                                                                        -Steve Knopper