Hey! We’ll be back soon! Been busy collecting so we can run a whole spring and summer without stopping publication. See you next week with an all new episode!

Jacob is on the east coast writing, and we’ve been swamped in the kitchen at work.  Got the newest selections from the past six months widdled down to the gems, so we’re ready to go.  Be back on air next week!

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DISPATCHES FROM THE COUNCIL OF THE SPACE CATERPILLAR

by Jacob Sunderlin

I love winter because winter is a free pass to sleep and read another book about serial killers and listen to Miles Davis and (almost) lose my shit.  Seasonal affective disorder is some kind of conspiracy (Illuminati). Winter makes me feel like some kind of psychic spelunker. It’s great. Like that John Prine song I tried to stare my bowl of oatmeal down, and won.  It’s maybe not the healthiest thing, but only if you count misanthropy and eating lots of soup as unhealthy things. When it’s nice outside, I feel like a guilty scumbag. Like I should be doing something important. When it’s shitty, it’s a great excuse to drink a bunch of…coffee…and listen to the Bitches Brew bootlegs.

One winter during college I worked in this coffee shop kitchen that I had to open at 5:30 in the morning. I lived twenty minutes away, and this was Indianapolis, so I was slamming the alarm at 4:55 every morning and jumping straight into my gnarly work shirt that smelled like onions and pancake batter and driving to work with a bunch of Christians in a town called Zionsville. Zionsville is like whatever the opposite of a hippie town is, ironically. Everyone was stressed out and lived in giant houses and watched a lot of reality television.

When my shift slinging breakfast burritos ended, the sun would be up and I would scrape the ice off my car for the second time that morning, smoke a couple cigarettes, and drive to 20th Century French Philosophy where we talked about deconstruction. One morning, the girl next to me said, “This room always smells weird, like a restaurant bathroom.” I made a concerned face and shrugged.  “Huh,” I said. And when THAT bullshit was over, I went to my other job tutoring people at the Writing Center on campus. “Tutoring” means that booze-sweating frat boys would come to me and complain about how their “bitch of an English teacher” gave their racist paper about immigration a C- and I was supposed to help them fix it.

Anyway, this was the time in my life that I got super-heavy into electric-era Miles Davis.  On the Corner is the only record that made any sense for me to listen to while driving down W. 10th St. toward the trailer parks in the Speedway neighborhood of Indianapolis where my apartment was. It’s all frog-leg chicken shacks and burnt-out gas stations. This era of Miles, from the complete session boxes of Tribute to Jack Johnson, Bitches Brew, and On the Corner, is like battery acid jazz.  It goes hard and stays raunchy.  It’s all right there in the exchange at the beginning of “Corrado”—an unreleased jam from the Bitches sessions—when the engineer interrupts the song to ask what they’re playing: “This is gonna be part nine—what difference does it make, motherfucker?” Miles spits back, with his couch syrup voice.

Forget Stagger Lee and that dude from Braveheart—Miles Davis is the baddest dude to ever walk the face of the earth. I’ve heard one story about him kidnapping a drummer during one of the Jack Johnson sessions and driving him around in his Ferrari, going ninety everywhere, with Axis: Bold as Love by Hendrix turned up to eleven on the speakers.  Drummer shouts, “So…you want me to play more like that?”  Miles turns and stares at him through his alien caterpillar shades, and says nothing.

And that’s what you hear when you listen to these tracks. Miles plays and arranges like the kind of dude who, given the choice between “getting to know someone” and “not” would choose “not” ninety-eight percent of the time, and would tell you to your face, unless you either knew how to blow or had some.

Lester Bangs calls On the Corner a record of place—that the inhuman-sounding squerks and bloops that tweak in and out of the channels, that disappear only to return eight or nine minutes later, are like characters you’d see after getting blasted and walking around a shitty neighborhood in search of a cheap bar. It’s Taxi Driver jazz. It’s half-repulsive, it’s nauseated, it’s human.

Still unconvinced?  Consider this: Of the tasty slab I’ve presented below, four of the six jams were unreleased until Columbia decided to do some archival box-set exploitation in the last ten years.  That means that Miles organized a band, went into the studio, arranged the music (most of which were little more than a half-scribbled theme or some triad clusters written on the back of a paper bag), then plays his horn like he’s trying to blast off the face of the planet and kick Shiva in the scrote, listened back to the rough mix and said, “Eh.”

AND THEN IT WENT INTO THE GARBAGE FOR THIRTY YEARS.

And it’s the best stuff I’ve ever heard.  Desert island good. Winter got you down? Feeling antisocial? Turn this up and close out.

TRACK LIST

1. “Corrado” from The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions
2. “Ali (Take 3)” from The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions
3. “Guinnevere” from the Complete Bitches Brew Sessions
4. “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down” from Bitches Brew
5. “Honky Tonk (Take 5)” from The Complete Jack Johnson Sessions
6. “Helen Butte/Mr. Freedom X” from On the Corner

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Episode #34 – Dancefloor Mountain Radio: More Hits From The Prohibition Era And Beyond!

Episode #34:  More Hits From The Prohibition Era.  Enjoy.

Track listing:
1) Bob Wills – Rosetta
2) Cannon’s Jug Stompers – Last Chance Blues
3) Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five – Save It, Pretty Mama
4) The Hokum Boys – Hokum Blues
5) Johnson/Nelson/Porkchop – G. Burns Is Gonna Rise Again
6) The Virginia Rounders – I Like Bananas (Because They Have No Bone)
7) Memphis Jug Band – You Got Me Rollin
8) Robert Wilkins – That’s No Way To Get Along
9) Sleepy John Estes – Government Money
10) Norridge Mayhams & His Blue Chips – Nobody’s Darling But Mine
11) Derwood Brown & His Musical Brownies – Louise, Louise Blues
12) The Prairie Ramblers – Never Say Never Again
13) Sol Hoopii – Alekoki
14) Django Reinhardt – Blues Chair
15) Johnny Dodds’ Black Bottom Stompers – Melencholy
16) Eddie Lang & Joe Venuti – Pink Elephants
17) Norman Phelps – On A Road That Winds Down To The Sea

Play Here!!!

Go to iTunes and search – Hey Check Out This Song!, for this show and all other programs we’ve done.

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Episode #33 – Dancefloor Mountain Radio Hour: Donnie and Bill get married at The Sanctuary!

                                           The Sanctuary.

Congratulations Donnie and Bill!  Here’s one for the memories.  Great times in the big city!  Family, friends, music, food, beer and marriage.

Press Play Here, under these words.

Track list:
1) Intro/ Knock Me A Kiss – Louis Jordan
2) Bob Skyles & His Skyrockets – New Van Buren Blues
3) Dirty Britches – The Leap Frogs
4) Gimme a Pig’s Foot and a Bottle of Beer – Frankie ‘Half-Pint’ Jaxon
5) Stealin’ Sugar – Ray Batts
6) Down South in Birmingham – Del Thorne and her Trio
7) Deacon’s Parade – Big Jay McNeely
8) Be Bop Baby – The Peacheroos
9) Best of Friends – Dixie Doodlers
10) Pink Champagne – Joe ‘Honeydripper’ Liggins
11) Pepper Sauce Mama – Charlie Campbell and his Red Hot Peppers
12) I Ain’t Worried About Tomorrow – Jimmy & Johnny
13) You’re The Only Good Thing – Jack Toombs
14) Triflin’ Gal – Jimmie Revard & His Oklahoma Playboys
15) Loud Mouth – Smokey Wood & The Modern Mountaineers
16) Start Talking, Baby – The Cats & The Fiddle
17) Pig Meat On The Line – Memphis Minnie
18) Outro – AFRS Jubilee Radio Program (1948)

To subscribe to DANCEFLOOR MOUNTAIN RADIO and DISPATCHES FROM THE COUNCIL OF OUTER SPACE go to Hey Check Out This Song on iTunes, here.

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DISPATCHES FROM THE COUCIL OF HEADACHE ROCK

by Jacob Sunderlin

Turns out the number one google search that results in people clicking on this site is “Kama Sutra Indiana.”

WHAT UP.

No long preamble here, I’ve just got some head-splitters to share:

Collected some songs after thinking about two recent conversations: one with Joshua Diamond about patience and the music that tests yours (we were talking about the new Swans record The Seer, which is both dope and really long) and one with Jimmy Frezza (of TV GHOST) about the Canadian band Women.

So, here are some tasty freakout jams.  Feed them into your ears.

PLAYLIST

1.  Chemirocha–Unknown Kenyan folk musician

2.  Raga Called Pat Pt. IV–John Fahey

3.  Sun Ray Harvester–Jackie O-Motherfucker

4.  Luxury Travel–Oneida

5.  Lawncare–Women

6.  Ossezaaddans–Sylvester Anfang II

7.  An Absurd Laceration–TV Ghost

8.  Solar Anus–Skullflower

9.  Inner Circle–The Cosmic Dead

10.  The Manifestation–Six Organs of Admittance

11.  Feedback/And We Bid You Good Night–Grateful Dead

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DISPATCHES FROM THE COUNCIL OF ROADTRIPPING SPIRIT ANIMALS AND SOLITUDE

by Jacob Sunderlin

There are blue whale-sized portions of America that seem to have no people in them at all.  Whole tracts of North Dakota, Idaho, Ohio, Pennsylvania go like this: highway, sky, expanse, fence, Dairy Queen, expanse, shrubbery, deer, deer, cow, expanse, sky, fence, dead skunk, for hundreds upon hundreds of acres in any direction.  It’s quite lovely with the right company and soundtrack.

I drove through some of these places recently on my way to the Wawawai Canyon, near the Snake River, to live with my ladyfriend Rosalie’s family and sleep in their winery–working days pruning grape vines and training tomatoes and cutting down thistles the size of a person, and slingin’ baked goods and greens at the farmers market in Moscow, ID, and getting bitten by some kind of spider and having my leg turn purple and green, and doing innumerable other farm-related things and eating the best vegetables of my life.

Then, just recently, I went the other way to Provincetown, Massachusetts for a writing fellowship I was lucky enough to nab at the Fine Arts Work Center.  Not quite coast-to-coast, but close.  Now, I’m staring down the barrel of some serious solitude, which is the theme of this particular group of songs, and the theme of some recent Dust-to-Digital projects I’ve been meaning to give some lip service:  the Steve Roden-curated music/book project …i listen to the wind that obliterates my traces, the wonderful archival document Opika Pende: Africa at 78 RPM and Your Past Comes Back to Haunt You: The Fonotone Years 1958-1965, a five-disc collection of John Fahey’s rarest and rawest material, recorded in Joe Bussard’s basement.

To get this out of the way quickly: if you’re interested in any of these, listen to the wind is the one to drop coin on, if there are any left.  It’s fucking great.  More on it to come.  But to say that isn’t to talk the others—there’s fantastic stuff on both—but OP has some pretty sonically-challenging North African vocal/bowed string recordings (driving around southern Indiana, I popped in the first disc and my friend James skunked up, turned it off, and said  “Have fun with that one by yourself…”) and the Fahey set is most definitely “for the diehards” (Read: disc two features Fahey playing 12-string, blasted off his gourd, and singing (!) made-up blues of varying degrees of insensitivity, like “I’m goin’ down to her seashore / Get me some craaaaaaaabs…”). 

Having just shit-talked the others like I said I wouldn’t (Seriously–check them out, and have a listen, because they deserve more than I’m giving them here), I have to say that these complaints are ONLY a product of these projects comprehensive spirit, and the transcendental moments of greatness included here—The Kiko Kids paean to their record company “Tom-Tom,” Josaye Hedebe’s revelatory vocal trills on “Yina Wena Funa” and Fahey’s earliest-recorded fumblings through “In Christ There is No East or West”—are tracks that give me nothing less than hope for humanity.

Which is what permeates the whole of Steve Roden’s awe-inspiring listen to the wind. It is—put simply, two CD’s worth of music transferred from his collection of 78 RPM records, and a bunch of old photographs of people holding instruments—but the project moves with an emotional impact usually reserved for great poetry.  Partially, of course, this requires you to be the sort of person, like Roden, for whom the idea of an analog audio recording of someone walking across ice in 1936 is irresistible (this is included).  If you are, there’s more untamed control in Roden’s presentation of photographs and music, its crashing together of prose and image, more sense of style and subtlety than in most contemporary verse Wave Books puts out in a year.

Roden salts the book with quotations throughout, and one from James Agee highlights what’s so great about this book:

Get a radio or a phonograph capable of the most extreme loudness possible, and sit down to listen to a performance of Beethoven’s seventh symphony or of Schubert’s c-major symphony.  But I don’t mean just sit down and listen.  I mean this: turn it on as loud as you can get it, then get down on the floor and jam your ear as close to the loudspeaker as you can get it and stay there, breathing as lightly as possible, and not moving, and neither eating nor drinking.  Concentrate everything you can into your hearing and into your body.  You won’t hear it nicely.  If it hurts you, be glad of it, as near as you will ever get, you are inside the music; not only inside it, you are it; your body is no longer your shape and substance, it is the shape and substance of music.

 In his introductory essay, the two most commonly used words are “goosebumps” and “dead moths.” In the songs, we hear the ice-walker in question, a Gennett Sound Effects release on 78 from ’36 called “Walking on Ice.”  We hear a gnarly and anonymous home recording of a pop standard, accompanied by a guitar that sounds like it was open-tuned by squirrels.  We hear the dry-leaf caterwaul of Roy Smeck’s Hawaiian slide guitar, “Pinin’ Hawaii For You.”

Meanwhile, in the book’s photographs, men with godlike muttonchop sideburns sit atop Dr. Seussian music machines, with pedals and gizmos used to operate cellos, pianos, harmonicas, and cornets.  A man in the middle of the woods stares down the barrel of an elephant-gun-sized gramophone cone.  We see a one-armed, one-man band; a pair of ghostly twin sisters, orbited by the mushrooms of their poof sleeves, playing an array of wine glasses; we see a harp guitar evangelist; we see the flautist from a marching band in Woonsocket.

The overall effect of this is hard to describe–these are sounds and images for a particular kind of solitude, which might explain why I come to it now in mine.  There is the suggestion that such a collection is listening to its collector, writes Roden: “for who among us who is a collector, has not at one time or another sat in the throes of loneliness, melancholy or suffering, and held a communion of sorts with a record or two: one sits alone, listening in a darkened room, as the music floats, notes like a mass of moths, directed towards ears, as if a brightly lit pair of light bulbs in the night.

The gathering of things–ideas, images, sounds, Grateful Dead tapes, whatever–involves a kind of familiarity, or even kinship with imperfection.  A collection can never be complete, can never be perfect.

Here is a collection of songs, meant to communicate nothing but an evening.

PLAYLIST

  1. O Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie—Carl T. Sprague
  2. Bucket’s Got a Hole in It—John Fahey
  3. Yina Wena Funa—Josaya Hebede
  4. It Don’t Do Nothing But Rain—Lew Childre
  5. Stack O’ Lee Blues—Sol Hoopi’s Novelty Hawaiian Trio
  6. Brother Noah Built an Ark—Ex-Governor Alf Taylor’s Old Limber Quartet
  7. Tu Nja Tengene Elie—Mbongue Diboue Et Son Ensemble
  8. I Seen My Pretty Papa Standing on a Hill—Eva Parker
  9. The Rosary—Pale K. Lua
  10. Furaha Ya Kanu—O.S. Africa Jazz Onema Pascal
  11. Then We’ll Need That True Religion—Rev. Edward Claybourn
  12. Nongquangqua Lishonile—Orbert Nentambo Zahke
  13. Damfino Stump—Sylverster Weaver
  14. St. Louis Blues—John Fahey
  15. Napenda—Coast Social Orchestra
  16. Pinin’ Hawaii for You—Frank Ferera’s Hawaiians
  17. Kenessa—Jeli Bakary
  18. O Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie–John Fahey
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DISPATCHES FROM THE COUNCIL OF UNUSUAL HOOSIER FAUNA: THE TIGERFOX INTERVIEW

by Jacob Sunderlin

When Ryan Puetz’s CD book got stolen from his truck the summer we were driving from the celery bog to Otterbein every morning to work with his cousin laying brick, we only had what was in the stereo: Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which is a record about outer space by some European guy.  Every day for the next three months we listened to that album from start to finish.  Try and imagine that for a second—two hungover teenagers tearassing to work in a shit-hot Indiana cornfield listening to a dude in makeup singing “Five years / My brain hurts a lot! / Five years / That’s all we’ve got!” and you’ll have some idea of where Tigerfox is coming from.

I could tell you lots of stories about Ryan Puetz.  Full disclosure: I think his new band Tigerfox, and their record No More Style, is great.  Sounds like Television on future pills.  I don’t know what that means, future pills, but it makes me think of partying in suits.  It’s what we’ll eat in the future, instead of food:  future pills.  Except, instead of “future pills,” we’ll probably just call them “food” anyway, which is stupid.

Anyway.

I haven’t posted recently because I’m getting ready to bounce the Hoosier state for a while, so I’m glad I got the chance to sit down with one of my oldest friends before I did.  We played in a band together when we were in high school, called Tokyo Magnum.  I think Ryan’s an interesting dude, and you should too.  Buy No More Style here: http://tigerfox.bandcamp.com/album/no-more-style

INTERVIEW WITH RYAN PUETZ OF TIGERFOX

JACOB SUNDERLIN: What sounds influenced the Tigerfox songs?  I hear some Bowie in there, maybe just because I know you and I know you like David Bowie.

RYAN PUETZ: I love David Bowie.  I think the Modern Lovers, too. I’ve been way into Brian Eno, Roxy Music.  Drew Davis bought me a Roxy Music record probably two years ago.  I’d had the idea for Tigerfox for probably five years but I just couldn’t find the right people.  Coincidentally, I think when I sobered up I just thought, “Well, I’m going to do this.”  Around that same time, he bought me the first Roxy Music record—he bought me that and Brian Eno’s Here Come the Warm Jets—and it just blew my mind.  The sounds that came from it and the way it was recorded.  It’s really cool synthesizer sounds, tracked beautifully, everything cascading in and out from left to right.  It’s just really cool.  I didn’t know music could be played like that.  That was probably the biggest influence on me.

SUNDERLIN: You say you had an idea for Tigerfox for a while—how would you describe that idea?

PUETZ: Well, I’ve always been a kind of grandiose thinker when it comes to music, because I think that’s the only way you should play music.  If you don’t have a big idea about what it is you’re doing, then you shouldn’t be doing it.  Otherwise you’re just everybody else.

SUNDERLIN:  There are enough hacks.

PUETZ:  Yeah, there are enough people with guitars.  There are enough coffee shops for everybody to do the same thing.  I was drinking a lot at the time, too, and it’s really easy to come up with big ideas when you’re drinking and doing drugs.  But that’s when you’re at your most fragile state, so you’re always scared to do anything.  So, I don’t think it was a coincidence that when I quit drinking I thought—“You know what, I just don’t fucking care, everything’s going to be so new to me.”  I drank for so long, that’s I was like, I’m just going to do this.

I wanted to play with people that I’d never played with before, but I also—I think I can be difficult to be in a band with, because I demand a lot.  Because I think I can produce a lot with people.  I brought Shawn Mullins in—he and Aaron Zernack, who’s really good with electronic sounds, and understands them.  I had already played in a band with them.  Shawn’s such a savant with instruments, and they knew how to handle me.  They always know that I’m not attacking anybody, I just feel really passionate about stuff.  So they were able to translate that to the new people.  I’ve always just really liked Todd and Zech.  Zech’s just an amazing guitar player.  It just worked out, I don’t know.

At the same time, I was starting to hear all these things in my head for vocal melodies that were new to me.  Just from listening to people, talking with different people around town who I’d met.  Hearing the way that different people sing.  Even people who sing terribly have such an interesting way of trying to pull it off.  Especially when they recognize that they’re not good, you know?  That’s the key—it’s recognizing that you aren’t what you think you are and, like, abusing that.

SUNDERLIN:  I hear a lot of—and the dudes we’ve talked about were influenced by this, too—but I hear a lot of kind of early doo-wop in the background vocals.

PUETZ:  Oh, yeah.  There’s always the pop.  And the Velvet Underground is and will always be—whether I want it to or not—that’s going to be my influence.  I always liked Bob Dylan and stuff like that, but that’s like a staple.  Everybody likes stuff like that.  But the Velvet Underground, which you showed me, was the first thing I heard that made me think about music.  Hearing what they did, it was like—You can do that?  You can sing that way?  You can talk about those sorts of things?  And they’ve always made it so that anytime I think about music, there’s more than just the music that should go with it, because it’s like—those guys were that band, at all times.  They lived that way, and I think people really enjoy that.  You don’t ever want to play a show and look like the people that you’re playing to, you know?  Because then they just assume that they can do what you do.  Which is not the case all the time.

SUNDERLIN:  The name of the record is No More Style but style’s obviously an important part of this band.  Tigerfox definitely has an articulated style, in terms of the visual aesthetic.

PUETZ:  Yeah.  I think you should look good.  Toliver, actually, was telling me a story about Bowie.  When he first started, he was big in Europe but having trouble breaking through in the U.S. so his manager rented him a limo and got him a posse, and bought him makeup and these crazy outfits, and they showed up in front of the record label and he gets out and everybody’s like, “Whoa—who the fuck is that guy?”  And people just immediately started taking pictures of him.

So, it’s definitely like trying to be in sort of a high—well, not high fashion—but you know, looking good.  Presenting a product in every way. Generally, if you’re looking good you’re feeling good.  You know, dress up.  To me, I’m going to do it regardless, because I think you should look good.  And if the rest of the band does it, then that’s just them telling me that they’re into whatever it is that I’m presenting to them.  So, it’s kind of like a give-and-take thing.  If you’re willing to do this for me, it tells me you’re on board with what I’m doing.

And I think people really enjoy it.  If anybody goes to see a show, you know, they want to see a show.  It’s art, but at the same time—unless it’s the artist, or other artists—it’s just entertainment to the people who come see it.  They don’t care about the art.  Most of the time, they don’t care about the meaning of a song.  They want to see something cool, you know?  Most people take away a visual from something.  We have Esteban, who shoots visuals onto us now, so that’s sort of where the white suits and light-colored apparel came from.  It was easier for him to project onto.

It’s hard for people in music to believe that you can dress up and look a part and present a product and wear make-up and play a part and “be glam” or whatever and play a show that people are into, because it’s so terrifying.  You know?  That’s such a hard thing to do.

SUNDERLIN:  Listening to the record this morning, I was thinking about how certain parts of the music are staples of party music, which we—or at least I—sometimes think of as being “dumb” in a fun way.  You know, a party song doesn’t require you to intellectualize it, but Tigerfox is also—I would never call it dumb, I think it’s really smart.  That’s an interesting tension in the music.  Bowie was that way.  The sounds of party music, music about partying, but done in a really intelligent way.

PUETZ: I think what makes bands like the Velvet Underground and Bowie so unique is that they wrote those things, but the words and the power in the music is partly in the way its presented.  Everybody wants to hear those songs regardless, but the wit is what makes the songs better.  Sort of comical, but not funny.  Stuff you kind of think about and think, “Wow—that was clever.”

And then, I think, just mixing the sounds in with it.  Me and this guy Taylor—I didn’t know how to use any of the equipment, so it was basically just me telling him a bunch of ridiculous things that I wanted to do with panning and synthesizer sounds moving from the left to the right in parts and then finding themselves in the middle when a weird phrasing of words or a solo comes in.  Your ear follows the words by following the synthesizer from left to right.  Stuff like that.  I think that helps a lot, you know?

But, I definitely think a lot of the songs do have that dumb rock ‘n roll backtheme to it, but I mean, there’s a reason why those things stand the test of time.  Because everybody enjoys—you know, you can play your opus right before it, but if you play “Do You Like Rock and Roll Music” after that people are going to like it better.  I think you just have to mix those things.

SUNDERLIN:  And that seems to play into the way that the record was recorded. Could you describe that?  How was the record recorded?  What was the process?

PUETZ: We recorded at Sound Logic Studio and we did probably sixty percent of it live because I feel like you have to capture that moment.  I think we did a little bit on this album, you know?  I think it could be better, and I think it will in the future.  But, if you’re going to be in the studio—and that’s just an amazing studio, and it’s like, in the middle of a cornfield, and the dude has two million dollars of recording equipment in there that you couldn’t even get in L.A. or someplace.  So, you are recording, it’s not live, and you can do so much more and I just wanted to capitalize on that.  Because, if you didn’t why would you even go there when you could just sit in your room and record it on tape.

But yeah, we used a lot of interesting techniques like doing the back-up vocals into the piano and putting the mic in the piano.  Just different things like that.  Overdubbing guitar solos in different octaves.  There’s a lot of work that went in.  Way more went into mixing than went into laying the parts down.

SUNDERLIN:  How long did it take?

PUETZ:  I would say total, like a month because of scheduling and stuff.  But, it went pretty quick because we were so hungry to do it.  We’ve still not even been a band a year, so it was kind of like, “Let’s get in and do this so we can do the next thing.”  Everybody was just real excited, because I think everyone, including myself, had never been in a studio like that to record an album, so it was like, “Let’s do this.”  And it came together really well.

SUNDERLIN:  When you guys played at the Black Sparrow with Digital Leather—your second show, I think—the songs were already really tight, so I’m sure that helps too.

PUETZ:  Yeah.  A lot of people like playing music, but any time you really want something to sort of transcend through the rest of the stuff, you have to put in a lot of work.  And, like, practicing…is not something that people in bands generally like to do.  But, it is necessary and, you know, it’s not something that people recognize necessarily.  People don’t hear a band and ever go, “Oh, this band practices a lot.”  It’s just something that they can’t put a finger on, but you know when a band is really tight.  It comes across.

The hardest thing about a good idea isn’t thinking of it; everybody thinks of amazing ideas.  It’s pulling up your pants and doing it.  Or pulling down your pants—whatever way you want to look at it.  I think there are people that are very afraid of what happens if you put yourself out there, but I’m not going to just sit around and wait for something to happen.

I was in this band with all these dudes who were probably the most amazing musicians I’ve ever played with, but we never practiced.  We were always tight and nailed the songs down, but it was like—you know, there’s always something missing from the show.  And its not energy—everyone can fake being energetic.  But there wasn’t the sort of trust among the people there, knowing that at any time something terrible could happen and we’ll all get through it, you know?  And that just comes with practice.  That chemistry comes.  You’ve gotta know that…you know…Dick Guy playing bass can get totally shitfaced and still play his parts and it doesn’t have any kind of mental strain on you and take anything out of your performance.  So, I think that’s kind of where practicing comes in.  You’ve got to know that everybody’s got it and you can let yourself get into it.

SUNDERLIN: Around town, that’s kind of become your thing that people talk about, I think.  If you play with Puetz, you better be serious about it.

PUETZ:  Yeah, I mean, I’ve always been serious about it, even when we played together.  And everybody else did then, too.  Which is why Tokyo Magnum was still probably one of my favorite bands ever to play it.  Like, we had that chemistry.  The trust was there that, you know—no matter how stoned Aaron got, or how drunk I got—it was going to work.  Because everybody knew their place.

When you practice a lot, if you can calculate that these things are going to happen you almost start to write around it.  So, I can leave this part open for someone else to shine through, or kick back and let him take over if you can’t do it, you know?  That’s a lot of what Tigerfox is.  I don’t write them out all the way, because I’m putting trust in all these guys without really having the chemistry there yet.  And that’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just time, it isn’t there yet.  But, I mean, I write them all open, so I’m thinking you know—“You break out something here for this amount of time, or if you don’t want to, then he can, or we’ll just let it breathe.”  And I think that comes along really well, you know.

I think the art of the three-and-a-half minute song is dying.  In the early 2000s and late 90s people were writing a lot of Pink Floyd songs, but its really hard to keep somebody’s attention for that long.  There’s an art in being able to write a song that’s three-and-half-minutes long and can hold people’s attention.  I think it’s not over-saturating it and letting things breathe, and I think that’s what I picked up from a lot of Brian Eno’s stuff.  He has so many pieces going, but you don’t always hear them all at once.  He pulls stuff back, and I think Bowie picked up on a lot of that stuff, too, like in the 70’s when he wanted to start working with him.  That helps a lot, you know, you have to let things be what they are within the context of what you write.

SUNDERLIN:  So what’s the future for Tigerfox?

PUETZ:  You know, hopefully taking the world by storm one article at a time and one show at a time.  I don’t know, it’s just something that I feel so—it’s an overwhelming feeling of passion.  It’s all that I think about.  Any time there’s a free moment, you know, it’s: “What can I do with this to make it better for everyone.”  Not just the people playing but the people listening.  How can I present this product to them that they can get excited about?

So, hopefully more records.  I hate sitting on music.  It’s not good for anybody.  Having a hundred songs and having one of them released—you know, I don’t believe any bands that say they’ve got a ton of material.  It’s like, prove it, you know?  That’s kind of my mentality with music and people.  Nobody cares what you have to say—you have to prove it to them.  That’s what people want.  They can sit at home and write songs and say that they have a hundred songs, or that they have a great idea for a stage set, or a great idea about how to attract 200 people to come see their show, but that doesn’t carry a lot of weight if it’s never acted out.  My new thrill is just sort of throwing myself out there to see if it happens.  I think generally if you have some talent within you and you put yourself out there you’ll get on your feet.  You’ll probably get knocked down sometimes, but you’ll get there.  And I’ve knocked myself down enough times.  It’s all those cliché things: you learn from your mistakes, you gotta see the bottom of the barrel before you can float on top…that sort of thing.  But that’s true, you know.

PLAYLIST

1.  Tigerfox–”Today in News”

2.  David Bowie–”Cracked Actor”

3.  The Shirelles–”Boys”

4.  The Four Tops–”Reach Out (I’ll Be There)”

5.  Tigerfox–”Nighthawk Drive”

6.  Brian Eno–”Third Uncle”

7.  The Velvet Underground–”I Can’t Stand It”

8.  Tokyo Magnum–”Imposter”

9.  Roxy Music–”Ladytron”

10.  David Bowie–”Boys Keep Swinging”

11.  Pink Floyd–”Astronomy Domine”

12.  The Velvet Underground–”One of These Days”

13.  Friction–”Television”

14.  Tigerfox–”I Can’t Explain”

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