When you turn on the radio today, the deluge of pop, rap and country utterly dominate the playlists of just about every station playing modern music. It’s easy to forget that not so long ago rock albums topped the charts and a casual flip through the radio dial would bring you the latest hits from bands like Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Alice in Chains as well as a little band from Canada known as Our Lady Peace, who in 1997 released their smash hit record “Clumsy,” which became a sort of signature album for the group.
That was 20 years ago, and this fall the band has hit the road to celebrate the anniversary of that album, while simultaneously peppering in a taste of what the next phase in the band’s career might bring. Our Lady Peace comes to Caesars 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, and we had a chance to chat with singer Raine Maida about the past, the future and the current state of rock music.
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Atlantic City Weekly: This tour is about looking back on past success. Are you a nostalgic person by nature?
Raine Maida: Not at all! It’s funny, the show is kind of split. The first half is “Clumsy” and the second half features a lot of new stuff. We just released an EP and the second volume comes out around Christmas. I love the fact that there is a balance. If we didn’t have the new stuff in there as well it might be weird, but I think it’s a good balance between new and old.
ACW: “Clumsy” was obviously a huge record for the band. Looking back on it, what was it about that album that people connected with so well?
RM: I don’t know. I think “Superman’s Dead” was the first single off that record and there was just something different about it. It was just something that stood out, I mean we made a good album and there were a lot of good songs on it. I think that’s what made it stand the test of time. You get lucky sometimes and you are able to write six or seven really good songs on an album. That helps.
ACW: Obviously that album came out at a time when rock music was all over the radio and MTV. Do you think it would be possible for a new band coming out today to have that type of success with a record?
RM: I think it happens, but it happens in a much more low-key way. Obviously the music business has changed so much and people get their music in different ways than they did back then. My kids don’t watch MTV, they don’t even really know what MTV is, but the cool thing is their playlists will have everything from Bowie to Frankie Valli to Kendrick Lamar and I think that is pretty sick how everything is all out there at once. But it’s tough to make a solid album go over because people are so not focused on that anymore.
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ACW: Looking back on “Clumsy,” is there anything you would change about it? Does anything make you cringe?
RM: Yeah, man, the shirt I was wearing on the back cover. It’s pretty heinous, but we were just trying our best back then. Everyone had a stylist and you listen to some people that you shouldn’t, but …
ACW: When you go in to record a new album to you approach things differently than you would have back in the ’90s?
RM: I think we really wanted to write some great songs and test them out live, so that is what we did. Then we entered the studio, which is Jackson Browne’s studio, which is set up to record bands live. So for the first time ever, these songs are recorded live. The band just hit record and everyone is playing and singing and that is what you hear on the record. I think the energy was captured. You really feel it in these songs. Things aren’t perfect, but I love it.
ACW: When can fans look forward to the new EP coming out?
RM: It’s pretty much done; I’m listening to mixes today actually. It’s just about finding the right date (to release it). I’d like to get it out before Christmas but we are trying to time it with a few other things. But it’s ready to go. It won’t be long.
ACW: What can fans expect from your show at Caesars?
RM: For fans that haven’t seen us in a while, this is the best version of the band in terms of us live. The shows are just so good! It’s weird, because sometimes it takes a while for a band to get in the groove and maybe it took us a bit longer, but the shows just slay … it’s pretty awesome.
ACW: If you had to pick one, what is the best song on “Clumsy”?
RM: I think “4am” to me. Just because it’s probably the most vulnerable honest song I’ve ever written. For whatever reason I felt like that song was channeled through me. I didn’t have a big part in writing it and when I think about being an artist, it’s one of the moments where you are like, “holy S--- — did that just come out of me?” It’s pretty humbling.
Cooper Levenson dances the night away to raise funds for Puerto Rico
Cooper Levenson organized a dance party to raise much-needed funds for Puerto Rico residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at Resorts Casino Hotel.
“We have several staff members with family in Puerto Rico who are facing insurmountable odds,” said Ken Calemmo, chief operating officer of Cooper Levenson. “We wanted to do what we could to help. Resorts Casino stepped up in a huge way to produce this event and we are grateful for their assistance in making it all happen.”
The event included live music by Jimmy Jorge and the Latin Express, a Salsa dance lesson by LaPalma Dance Studio, performances by Arlin’s Dance Academy teachers and Latin dance troupe, traditional Puerto Rican food by Resorts, and a special presentation of funds raised by the staff of Seashore Gardens Living Center.
Sponsors for the event included Resorts Casino Hotel, a Mohegan Sun Property, AtlantiCare, Fulton Bank of New Jersey, The Finkel Group, a Merrill Lynch firm, the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce, the Press of Atlantic City, SNJ Today, PhotoGraphics Photography, Argyle Interactive, Arlin’s Dance Academy, LaPalma Dance, and WEMG-MEGA 105.7 FM and 1310 AM. A special events production