Our Lady Peace Are Putty In Producer Bob Rock's Hands

Quick trip to his Hawaii studio turns into Canadian rockers' fifth album.

Sometimes you just can't stop the Rock.

Bob Rock, that is.

Canadian rockers Our Lady Peace learned that lesson this winter when they

flew to the famed producer's studio in Maui, Hawaii, to record two new

tracks for a live album and returned home with their entire fifth album,

Gravity, due Tuesday.

"We recorded a song with Bob, and it was amazing," Our Lady Peace singer

Raine Maida explained. "The vibe was so intense. By the time we were ready

to leave, he said, 'Look guys, if you think you have the material, I say we

make a record, 'cause there's something special going on.' It's kinda heavy

when a producer is asking you. The passion he was showing was like, 'F---

yeah. We gotta do this.' And it was done in like 10 weeks, which is so short

for us."

Gravity takes its name from the line "You're falling out of reach/

Defying gravity/ I know you're out there/ Somewhere out there" in the

album's first single, "Somewhere Out There," currently #8 on the

Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. Maida said the album, too, defies

gravity, in that it takes the band in the opposite direction it was heading

on 2001's Spiritual Machines.

"It really is the antithesis of what Spiritual Machines was. It was a

very information-heavy, very futuristic record concept-wise and lyrically.

This record has felt so grounded. It's very real. A song like 'Bring Back

the Sun,' we only recorded it four or five times and just took one take. No

overdubs. There's a lot of that kind of vibe. It's very grounded, and [the

title] Gravity suits."

The album's straightforwardness can be credited to Rock, who's known for

capturing a band's live energy in the studio. It helped that Our Lady Peace,

who recorded their previous albums in Toronto with producer and friend

Arnold Lanni, were eager to work with Rock.

"We had a talk with him before [and said], 'We don't need to make one that

sounds like our last four,' " Maida said. "We love [Metallica's] Black

Album, the simplicity of it. Rock licks and rock songs. It wasn't like we

were fighting against someone changing our sound. We were open to it."

Maida was also open to Rock's ideas about his lyrical approach, which were

in line with the simplified beats and guitar hooks. It was the first time he

had a producer influence his writing.

"He told me some great James Hetfield stories about pushing him to simplify

sh--, not be so big with words," Maida said. "I tend to be more ethereal. My

whole fear is once you start talking about yourself it comes off as really

pretentious. He understands that but knew there's a way to do it. You need

people to connect with what you talk about on a very visceral level, and he

said to do that you almost have to feel like you're giving too much up and

have that nervous energy when you're singing."

As a result, Gravity sounds like a diary (most of the tracks are

about relationships) with a rock and roll soundtrack. "Sorry," in

particular, seems soaked in honesty, with lyrics like, "I'm sorry I can't

lie/ I wasted too much time/ Drowning, I've been blind."

The album also possesses a sort of evolutionary spirit, in part because the

longtime guitarist Mike Turner quit midway through recording and was

replaced by Detroit native Steve Mazur.

"We were limited by our guitar player," Maida said. "We always wanted to be

a rock band, and all the songs I write are rock songs, but he was much more

of an atmosphere guy. We never had a guitar player that could step out there

and be at one with his instrument. Like a Jimmy Page, someone who has a

voice. Now we have that."

Maida said Mazur's presence is especially obvious in Our Lady Peace's live

show. So far the group has played only a few dates, but it has a month of

shows lined up beginning next week. Although Gravity has been

circulating on the Internet for only a few weeks, the band's loyal fanbase

already seems to have fallen for the record.

"We just did our first three club shows, and these kids are singing all the

new songs," Maida said. "They're calling out songs. It's amazing. I don't

even know some of the lyrics yet. All of a sudden these kids are singing all

the lyrics and I'm f---ing them up. It's what any band wants. You don't want

kids singing just the single. You make records 'cause you want them to dig

the whole record."