There’s a whole lotta motherlodgin going on these days.
On Jan 20th, we, and by we, I mean Alana Amram, Thomas Bartlett, Rob Beitzel, Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, Rob Cantwell, Nath Ann Carrera, Michael Cerveris, Rebecca Hart, Erin Hill, Brian Kantor, Josh Kaufman, Dawn Landes, Paul Loren, Corn Mo, Taylor Mac, Nate Martinez, Lucas Papaelias a.k.a. L.P. Funk, Adam Rapp, Lady Rizo, Ray Rizzo, Michael Shannon, Georgiana Starlington, Elizabeth Ziman, Natalie Bajandas, John Byrne, Kimmet Cantwell, Danny Flanigan, Tim Halcomb, Michael Arthur, and myself, put on the Motherlodge Fleetwood Mac Orgy, a pretty ridiculous fundraiser at Joe’s Pub in NYC.
a bit more info and some photos from the Orgy
It was quite the splendid evening. Sold out house, fantastic performers, deep energy. The money raised will go towards our Spring Motherlodge in Louisville KY, March 28-31, the final schedule of which will be announced soon (and which we’re EXTREMELY VERY RIDICULOUSLY HOLY CRAPWADS EXCITED ABOUT).
The new Yet Cut Breath record is mixed and off to be mastered. Anna, Jake, Luke, and I are really excited about this one, and we’re aiming to get this one out there as soon as a couple last puzzle pieces fall into place. When it’s finally ready to go, you’ll hear about it here first, unless you hear about it somewhere else before that, in which case you’ll hear about it here second, third, fourth, or some larger extended numerical designation depending on how many places you look for updates about new records coming out.
This winter has had me huddled up in various studios, working on records with friends old and new (not to mention working on Spring Motherlodge, which IS GOING TO BE MEGA-AWESOME), but this upcoming week, I’m going to be filling in the drum chair with The Silverhounds, a psychobilly/thrash trio from NJ, for a little east-coast-to-midwest jaunt.
Fri, 2/15 – Frederick, MD @ Guido’s
Sat, 2/16 – Frostburg, MD @ Duncan’s
Sun, 2/17 – Columbus, OH @ The Shrunken Head
Tue, 2/19 – Chicago, IL @ Stage Bar
Wed, 2/20 – Chicago, IL @ The Mutiny
Thu, 2/21 – Indianapolis, IN @ Melody Inn Tavern
Fri, 2/22 – Latonia, KY @ Mahogany’s Bar
Sat, 2/23 – Cleveland, OH @ Spitfire Saloon
First, before anything else! If you’re in Louisville this weekend, two gigs I gotta plug: first, myself and Pierson Keating at the Rudyard Kipling tonight (sat, nov 11). He and I have played together for years and in so many contexts, but duos are always especially fun, and we’ll be doing an off-the cuff set of whatever we feel like. It’ll be groovy.
Next, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville is hosting a fundraiser for spring Motherlodge 2013 on Sunday evening! As always, there’s going to be music, visual arts, theatre, laughs, and a pretty awesome experience. If you’re free, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Motherlodge.com for the full details, yo.
But why am I in Louisville, you may ask? Well, you probably didn’t, but I’ll tell you anyway: rehearsing with Pierson to record his first full album at Shangri La in Lexington, KY next week. Pretty excited about this one. We’ve been playing some of this music together nearly as long as I’ve known P, and I really think Shangri La is the going to be perfect environment to capture this stuff. Piano rock in the Elton John/Ben Folds sorta tradition, but not. Dig? It’ll be groovy.
I love Louisville. I feel deeply at home here, and I always look forward to returning for a few days or even just passing trough on tour, but this particular visit is tempered by the recent impact of Hurricane Sandy. You’ve probably seen the news, but in person, the damage is even more surreal, and I haven’t even seen some of the worst of it with my own eyes. Right now, part of me wants nothing more than to be back in NY, doing… something, anything, to help with the cleanup and rebuilding that must happen. And quite unfortunately, much will remain to be done for a long time after I return.
One friend of mine, one of the most knowledgeable instrument builders and repairman I know, had his entire work space and tools destroyed. Some friends of friends had their entire recording studio, built by sweat and hard work over the past few years (and moved into a brand new space this year) wiped out: 100% loss. Too many homes to count have been damaged or destroyed in every borough. Others have lost even more: friends, family, parents, children.
As I get back and find how I can help, I’ll try to share what I can. For right now, in addition to the Red Cross, I can wholehearted suggesting these folks out: Occupy Sandy Relief, http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/. Started by a number of people invoked in OWS, OSR has turned into one of the most practical, pragmatic, and successfully coordinated local, community-driven disaster relief efforts I can think of. Those guys and gals are getting stuff done in the most hands on, pragmatic, unselfish way. They’re primarily set up to accept assistance in the hands on/dropped off donation capacity, so of you’re in the region and want to help, check them out. If you’re not, and can spare even $5, http://redcross.org/Hurricane_Aid is the place to go.
It’s been a long and crazy summer to say the least, and now that autumn has arrived, I find myself stationary in NYC for a little bit. I feel very much like a kid who just got way too sugared up on cotton candy and stayed on the merry-go-round a bit long: I may not be moving, but my inner ear hasn’t quite gotten the message yet. I’ve been on the road with These United States since the beginning of April. Six months and about 100 shows, live sessions, in-stores, and radio sessions later, we’re retiring to our respective corners of the country for a bit of rest and recoup. What a trip. The experiences I shared with my follow TUSers and our extended family across the country was amazing, beautiful, and nothing short of astounding. I can’t wait to make some more music with those folks, and more folks we met along the way, as soon as I can.
The Yet Cut Breath album is coming along nicely. Long story short: final mixing sessions for that are tentatively booked for December, and we’re very excited about what we’re hearing so far! Brace your earholes.
The road’s been great, but being (mostly) in NY for a little bit will be a nice change of pace. As I’m going to be around consistent wifi, a desk, and a tea kettle a lot more reliably for the next couple of months, I’ll be on here a lot more, and am quite looking forward to sharing some additional audio/video, info about a couple new projects, and a large number of collected thoughts about music and related life.
More good things soon/now/always.
If rock and roll plays a big enough part of your life to be visiting this page in the first place, you’re probably already aware of the truly great loss the musical community recently endured with the passing of Mark Lavon “Levon” Helm. Mr. Helm’s swaggering drumming, expressive, soulful voice, and personal resolve in the face of hardship (diagnosed with throat cancer in the late ’90s, Levon went on to recover and record three Grammy-winning solo albums) were a source of inspiration for generations of musicians I look up to, so many of my contemporaries, and myself.
Levon carried in his playing a powerful sense of self and honesty. If the true aim of technique is to provide a conduit between the interior life and intent of the artist and the experience of the listener, Levon was a technician of the highest order. You don’t need a terribly “trained” ear to understand the depth and power of his drumming: that earthy, flowing, joyful, dancing pulse, singing and weeping, sparring with and supporting the words and melodies around him.
I’m very excited to report that Modern Drummer asked me to write up a little entry for their Drummer’s Blog series.
I’ve been reading MD for as long as I’ve been playing drums, so it’s quite an honor to get to contribute to their publication in a small way. Pretty excited about that!
What a trip. Past two months of touring with These United States with Trampled by Turtles and Heartless Bastards were absolutely, totally incredible… such a treat to hang and play with folks who are equally amazing players and people. Thanks, cats, and see you all around soon!
There was a lot of a/v and review documentation of the past tour, most of which is just starting to float to the surface of the interwebs, but here’s a nice one with some interview and performance together: Gradually and Then Suddenly: These United States.
Back in NYC now, resting and recouping and catching up on emails and doing laundry and building bass drum microphone mounts and all the fun things touring musicians do on their time off, framed around the really strange sensation of sleeping in the same place for multiple nights in a row. (And not being in a moving vehicle. I made a very serious personal decision to not go anywhere that my own two legs can’t carry me for my first 72 hours back in the city, and it’s proven to be a pretty unexpectedly grounding way to interface with reality.).
We’re incredibly pumped about the new self-titled TUS album. It’s #5 for the band, and to my ears (and I say this semi-objectively because it was finished before I joined up with TUS, and yet with an unmistakeable air of subjectivity because I am in the band), it’s something special. I could say more, but you’d be best served checking out a couple tunes, Dead and Gone and Born Young, a spin and maybe picking up a copy when it drops on 6/12. We’ll be on the road in support of it doing primarily headlining shows through the summer.
These United States headlining tour as of 6/3:
Thurs, 6/14 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s w/ Juston Stens and the Get Real Gang
Fri, 6/15 – Brooklyn, NY @ Northside Festival - Knitting Factory*
Sat, 6/16 – Cambridge, MA @ TT The Bear’s
Sun, 6/17 – Providence, RI @ Local 121
Mon, 6/18 – New Haven, CT @ Shubert Theatre w/ Willie Nelson
Wed, 6/20 – Winooski, VT @ Monkey Bar
Thurs, 6/21 – Albany, NY @ Valentines
Fri, 6/22 – Toronto, ON @ The Garrison
Sat, 6/23 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Brillobox w/ Dream Job, Polar Scout
Sun, 6/24 – Cincinnati, OH @ MOTR Pub
Wed, 6/27 – Louisville, KY - WFPK Waterfront Wednesday** w/ Trampled by Turtles and The Walkmen
Thurs, 6/28 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement
Fri, 6/29 – Lexington, KY @ Cosmic Charlie’s w/ The Weeks
Sat, 6/30 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
Sun, 7/1 – Knoxville, TN @ Barley’s Taproom
Tues, 7/3 – Asheville, NC @ The Emerald Lounge w/ The Weeks, Kenneth Brian Band
Wed, 7/4 – Charlotte, NC @ U.S. National Whitewater Center – River Jam*
Thurs, 7/5 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 w/ The Henry Clay People
Fri, 7/6 – Charlottesville, VA @ The Southern w/ The Henry Clay People
Sat, 7/7 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat w/ The Henry Clay People, Kingsley Flood
Wed, 7/18 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas
Fri, 7/20 – Madison, WI @ Terrace@ Univesity of Wisconsin – Madison
Sat, 7/21 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry
Thurs-Fri, 9/6-9/7 – Portland, OR @ Music Fest NW*
But as always, check out the official TUS show calendar for the most up to date schedule.
And yep, you read that one right. We’re opening for Willie Nelson in two weeks! Talk about an honor… supremely looking forward to that evening.
Got a couple more surprises and variously cool things coming down the pipes in the next week… check back in a few for that.
best and see y’all out there!
I’m pumped+ecstatic+honored to be playing drums for These United States as they head around these here United States for the next couple of months with two amazing bands, Trampled by Turtles and Heartless Bastards. We’ll be playing some pretty sweet rooms all around.
To supplement the awesome quotient, handling bass duties will be none other than Anna of Yet Cut Breath. How sweet is that?
For an up to date show schedule, go to the TUS show calendar here.
As it looks as of 4/7, our schedule is as follows:
After a great night doing improvised film scoring at Haymarket tonight, I’ll be back playing the next Motherlodge happening again on Thursday with Jesse Elliott of These United States and some great Louisville cats: Chris Rhodahaffer, Noah Barker, Pierson Keating, and Luke McIntosh.
more motherlodge info to come, keep checking back… I’m playing Friday and Saturday, as well, but in wildly different capacities. Heehee!
I LOVE doing improvised film scores, and I’m very happy to announce that I’m doing just that with some of my favorite collaborators at Haymarket Whiskey Bar (www.facebook.com/haymarketwhiskeybar, 331 E. Market St Louisville, KY). Ray Rizzo, Noah Barker, Luke McIntosh, and myself, along with some special guests, will be scoring a mix of contemporary and classic films:
“A Day’s Messing,” Jeff Seal – A black and white modern silent short in the comedic style of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and Georges Méliès.
“A Late Freeze,” Danica Novgorodoff – A Ken Burns-influenced presentation of a graphic novel that Danica developed with Less the Band in 2006. “A Late Freeze” is a tale of love (between a bear and a robot), snow, and trouble with the authorities.
“A Trip to the Moon,” Georges Méliès – The classic and widely influential 1902 science fiction film
and a selection of Charlie Chaplin shorts to round out the evening!
We hit at 9:00.