Fair Ground is the culmination of years of friendship between Pete Lesperance and Mike Turner, two Canadian guitarists, who have sold millions world-wide in their respective projects Harem Scarem and Our Lady Peace. What began as a simple guest appearance on Petes solo record turned into a desire to fully collaborate on what was to become Fair Grounds debut Down In It.
Hello Pete, how are you doing?|
Pete Lesperance: Hey Juha
All is well here in Toronto.
You?re a busy man with 2 album releases. Harem Scarem has a new fantastic album coming out and your new project Fair Ground. Are you pleased with the Fair Ground album?
Pete Lesperance: Im really proud on the FG record, weve been sitting on it for quite some time now and Im really happy that its finally available.
Can you tell us about Fair Ground?
Pete Lesperance: Fair Ground is a band I put together with a very good friend of mine named Mike Turner.
Mike was the original guitarist from Our Lady Peace and I had asked him to play on my solo record a couple years ago and liked what we came up with so much that I asked him if hed be interested in turning it into a band project.
You have the same title and almost the same track list as you had on your solo album from 2004. Why did you want to re-record that album?
Pete Lesperance: The main reason was that my solo record came out in Japan but you couldnt get anywhere else, other then on import.
I really liked the new versions of the songs (with Mike) and I felt strongly enough about the tunes that I wanted to try and get them heard by people in Europe and North America as well.
I think this album rocks more with tougher guitar sound and leans more to the sound Harem Scarem has. Was that something you were looking for with this release?
Pete Lesperance: Not really.
OLP was very much a guitar band as well and I think most of the toughening up came from adding Mikes parts to the songs.
The beauty of Fair Ground for me is that its a totally different thing from Harem Scarem.
I get to sing my songs and the pressure of being the only guitarist is off since Mike does more of the more intricate guitar work while Im singing.
There is one brand new track called What Are You Waiting For? Tell us about that one?
Pete Lesperance: Its a song about a bad ending to a good relationship that I had.
I had written that right after finishing my solo record and it takes the place of "Where You Want Me" on the Fair Ground record.
I have always loved the harmony and background vocals Harem Scarem delivers on each album. So it?s great to hear you sing lead again and I must say that you sound brilliant. What are you vocal influences?
Pete Lesperance: Thanks very much...glad you like it.
Some of my favorite singers are Kelly Jones from the Stereophonics, Bono, Gavin Degraw and the list goes on.
How did you get in contact with guitarist Mike Turner of ex-Our Lady Peace?
Pete Lesperance: Mike and I have been great friends for years.
When we were kids I used to work at a music store in our hometown and Mike was a millwright at the time and a customer of mine.
Weve always kept in touch while making records and touring in our respective bands.
Mike was so supportive of the material on the record that I asked him if he wanted to be part of it.
What has the reaction been so far on the album?
Pete Lesperance: So far the reaction is good and we were in the top 5 sellers on cdbaby.com for a couple weeks.
cdbaby.com is a great site where you can buy independent music.
Check it out at cdbaby.com/cd/fairground
The people that have heard the record really like it but the hardest part as an independent artist is the marketing. The big job is going to be finding ways to make as many people as possible aware of Fair Ground.
You released Boy Without A Clue as the first single to be played on the radio, a great choice if you ask me. Have it got any airplay?
Pete Lesperance: It has been added and/or featured at many stations in Canada.
Are you gonna tour with Fair Ground and who?s gonna play in your liveband?
Pete Lesperance: We are just putting the band together at the moment and are probably going to start with some Canadian dates.
Wed love to bring Fair Ground to Europe but its really going to depend on whet we can get going on there.
Is this just a onealbum project or can we expect more from Fair Ground in the future?
Pete Lesperance: The plan is to work this record then start thinking about the next one.
This time Mike will be involved in the writing.
Ok Pete let?s talk about the new Harem Scarem album. I talked to Harry earlier and he was happy over the new album Human Nature. Do you feel the same?
Pete Lesperance: I do...
I can honestly say that I think its the best HS record in years.
I think this is your strongest album since Mood Swings with awesome melodies and catchy songs. How did the talk go in the studio when you started to record this new album and what direction did you wanted this album to sound like?
Pete Lesperance: We definitely knew we were making this record for the fans of the old school "Harem Scarem".
For years people have been saying that we should make another album like "Moodswings" and though I dont think weve given them "Moodswings 2", the record was definitely recorded in the same spirit and I think thats what the fans are connecting with.
I still remember the first time I heard the riffs to Saviour Never Cry and was blown away. On Human Nature I think you shine out again with outstanding guitarriffs. Do you agree that there?s again more guitars on the album?
Pete Lesperance: Yeah...Im pretty happy with this record and I really concentrated on the guitar a lot more this time.
Not just more guitar but a specific kind of feel.
I tried to think about the guitar parts the way I used to when we were making a record.
What?s your favorite song on the album and why?
Pete Lesperance: My favorite tune is definitely "Caught Up In Your World".
Its probably one of the stronger songs on the record and has my favorite riff as well.
How was it to have Tony Harnell in the studio helping out with the background vocals?
Pete Lesperance: Harry and Tony have been speaking for quite some time now about working on a project together.
We have always been huge TNT fans and it was very cool for us to have Tony guest on the record.
You have produced almost every Harem Scarem album together with Harry Hess. How do you come to an agreement in the studio? It seems like you two are two souls in one.
Pete Lesperance: We have worked together long enough that we pretty much have the same vision for Harem Scarem.
Also when it comes to production Harry really focuses more on the vocals and I focus more on the music.
It works out seamlessly.
What?s the biggest different when you released your debut album to present day?
Pete Lesperance: Its so hard to say...
Its been so long since the debut that we are totally different people then we were when we were 19 years old.
The music industry has also seen huge changes and there are still more to come.
What has the reaction been from fans and press on your new album?
Pete Lesperance: The reviews are really positive from critics and fans alike.
Its a great feeling to know that something youve done is connecting with people.
I feel very fortunate that there are people that have hung in with us after all our crazy changes over the years.
Are there any plans for you to tour outside Canada?
Pete Lesperance: We are speaking with some promoters in Europe now and hopefully will work some dates out for spring/summer 2007.
Ok Pete, thanks for taking your time for this interview. Is there something you would like to add or say to Melodic.net readers?
Pete Lesperance: If youve followed Harem Scarem over the years Id like to thank you for the support and hope you enjoy Fair Ground!
Did you know that?
James blunt´s "Goodbye My Lover" was recorded in his slightly insane landlady´s bathroom where the piano was kept.