If you were paying attention to Canadian alternative music in the 1990’s, chances are you are familiar with the Juno award-winning hard rock band, I Mother Earth.
Indeed, you very well may have heard some of their awesome singles from back in the day, including “Levitate”, “Not Quite Sonic”, “One More Astronaut”, and “Another Sunday”, to name a few.
I Mother Earth was known for its unique blend of heavy rock / funk riffs, frenetic basslines, slamming beats, and added percussive elements, not to mention singer Edwin’s distinctive vocals and drummer Christian Tanna’s odd yet psychedelic stream-of-consciousness lyrics.
The band – a grassroots affair from Canada which ended up having global appeal – toured extensively during the early-to-mid 1990’s and was a staple of Canada’s version of MTV, called MuchMusic, where they had several music videos in rotation (MuchMusic still exists, but they don’t really play music anymore).
Mysterious rock stars that they were, and yet very approachable and low key, various members of I Mother Earth would appear here and there in interviews, where they would speak candidly about their love of playing live for their fans, and their desire to be authentic to their musical urges.
The band certainly wouldn’t have gotten far without its spikey-haired guitar wiz, Jagori Tanna, who is the subject of this article.
Born Andrew Koshowski in Hamilton, Ontario, I Mother Earth guitar player Jagori Tanna has been writing and producing for his band since 1991, when he and his brother Christian Tanna formed the group with singer Edwin, who they met at a shared rehearsal space at the time somewhere in Toronto.
Within a year of forming, I Mother Earth (Edwin, Jag, and Christian) was subject to a bidding war between music labels, eventually ending up on EMI Music Canada, a subsidiary of Capitol Records.
The band recorded its first album, 1993’s Dig, with Guns n’ Roses producer Mike Clink, which obviously had some bearing on the result – an epic rock record for the ages.
With their original bass player Franz Masini getting fired during these sessions (perhaps he was eating Frosted Mini Wheats too close to a rather expensive soundboard, who knows?), bass tracking duties fell to Jag, who played all of the bass on Dig (Bruce Gordon later signing on to tour Dig).
Even during the band’s early days, Jag had a flair for music production and was as responsible for the band’s vibe on record as Clink was, as Jag clearly had a specific sound in mind that he wanted for the guitar that record (presumably a combination of hard rock, funk, psychedelia, punk, and whatever special spice he had cooked up).
This producer role is something that Jag has always excelled at and he has produced albums well beyond I Mother Earth’s recorded output, which will be mentioned shortly.
In fact, it could be argued that the fantastic fidelity of that debut album, Dig, was largely responsible for the band’s ubiquity on alternative rock radio, and the reason I Mother Earth beat out, Rush, their childhood heroes, for a Juno Award in 1994 in the Best Hard Rock Album category.
The band was also a beloved live staple by this time, gigging tirelessly.
Jag’s Production Work
Fast forward a few more years, and I Mother Earth had a new singer – Brian Byrne, and Jag continued to create formidable tunes for his band, and produce them, as well. This lead to fans not batting an eye as the band switched singers and continued to have radio appeal, even as Edwin departed the band.
It was in the late 90’s that Jag won a Juno Award in 2000 for Best Recording Engineer (with Paul Northfield) for the band’s singles “Summertime in the Void” and “When Did You Get Back From Mars “.
His production work continued to evolve over the years. Jag produced music for bands such as Clarknova and dodger at ‘The Mother’s Hip’ in Toronto, and he owns the record label UpperLeftSide Music, based out of Peterborough, Ontario.
Jag Tanna has also co-produced Sarah Slean’s album The Baroness and her more recent EP, The Baroness Redecorates.
His more recent projects are the production of his own IFC Canada show, The Rawside Of… and INXS singer J. D. Fortune’s solo album, The Death of a Motivational Speaker.
Beyond production work, Jag is involved in several other projects. Not only is he the current guitarist / producer for I Mother Earth, but he is also the creative force behind Tanna Custom Guitars, as well as BigTimeGiving, and OpenMouth Music.
I Mother Earth has thus far released four albums: Dig (1993), Scenery and Fish (1996), Blue Green Orange (1`999), The Quicksilver Meat Dream (2003). Will we see more? Time will tell, but the band is back on tour as of 2022, so that is definitely a good sign.
The following picture can be found on I Mother Earth’s Facebook page.
Have an I Mother Earth story or Jag Tanna anecdote to share? Leave it below in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!