Restless in Peace

MIKE ROSS

, Last Updated: 12:27 AM ET

When it Raines, it pours.

I can't resist. The singer of Our Lady Peace is so serious. He's the angst-ridden Hamlet of Canadian rock 'n' roll.

In a recent phone interview, 29-year-old Raine Maida weighs in on the media, gun control, the evils of television, the obsession with celebrity, you name the issue, he has an opinion. He's fed up with with the trivial, disgusted by materialism and repulsed by small talk. Even the customary, "How are you today?" that follows "Hello" rankles him.

He can sum it up with a line from the title track of Our Lady Peace's new album, Happiness ... Is Not a Fish That You Can Catch: "Talking is just masturbating without the mess."

Says he, "That, to me, just sums up a lot. Especially in the music business, so many people just talk to hear themselves talk and build themselves up to fulfil their own egos. It's such bulls--- and if people would just get over that character trait, they would would find themselves so much happier, because you're not so consumed with yourself.

"If you have something to say, make sure that there's some passion behind it. Don't just talk for the sake of talking. That's just boring and redundant. And it's a waste a time."

How ironic that he says one of his biggest fears is being "preachy" in his work, which is why he uses irony and poetry to mask the message in the music. During interviews, however, he does tend to get off on a rant.

WALLS OF GUITAR

This album is no departure: Same walls of guitar, same plaintive vocals, same producer/honorary fifth band member Arnold Lanni, who's worked with the band since its inception (and 70-something model Saul Fox, the band's mascot, once again graces the album cover).

Maida's goal was to make a record fans can listen to all the way through.

"It doesn't matter to us if we have the big hit single," he says, though One Man Army is as fine a tune as the band's ever made. The main difference you might notice is that both the songs and that man that wrote the lyrics (which the rest of the band doesn't usually see until the CD artwork is done) are a lot more cynical. Extensive touring in America is partly to blame.

Off he goes: "I will not move from Canada now. I've learned to appreciate this country. I can bitch about the way we abuse things in Canada. It has its own problems. But there's nothing like living and not being scared to walk around at night. There's just a different sense when we're in America."

For more on this topic, Maida says he's working on a book about the decline of the U.S. and its effect on Canada. It's a work in progress. "I'll see how I feel about it," he says. I suggest he listen to left-wing spoken-word guru Jello Biafra, who makes Maida look as shallow as a Backstreet Boy clone.

Meanwhile, the music takes priority.

BORING TV

He goes on, "A lot of this record came from obsessions: Definitely seeing those obsessions in the States, the guns, the Gap ads and how the media determines who you are these days. But we have all the same commercials in Canada. It's so boring these days to sit in front of the television and waste your life. It's such a drag and so many people do it. And I think I'm just getting more passionate about it. During the recording of this record, we talked a lot about death, for whatever reason. There's definitely an obsession with death and a huge fear. But in knowing that, it makes you hate these other things more, because it's not what life's about. Buying Tommy Hilfinger (sic) because it's cool has nothing to do with any kind of emotional value or content, and music for me does. So when they hit each other, I get pretty emotional about it."

Even to the point of punching out a paparazzi or something? Not quite, he says. But becoming a "rock star," which tends to happen when you sell millions of albums, is another thing Maida would despise.

"There's a thing called Star TV now. My God! It makes me puke. If I ever end up on that station, I'll definitely throw my TV out the window. I just hope I don't hit anybody."

Happiness ... Is Not a Fish That You Can Catch comes our tomorrow. Our Lady Peace is planning a winter tour of Canada to support it ("yeah, we're dumb"). If you meet Raine, don't ask him how he's doing unless you really want to know.


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