Forlorn Cowboys of Nuclear Winter
Where do all the freaks hang out these days?
This machine kills fascists
X Marks the Citizen
All Hail the Has Beens
July 13, 2018
Some personal news. I am now the father of a son. Charles was born June 30th and joins his older sister Frances, who’s two. I am damn, damn glad we got this record done before the birth as suddenly I haven’t slept in about two weeks and have been preoccupied with family visits, changing diapers and just enjoying family and being a father. This is truly the great joy of life to see your kids grow, press their little hands to yours, and at times even, engage in music.
Rancho Seco Victory has now had a first run at Mastering, and I think we’re close now to popping it out to ITunes. I want to have at least one video done to make the push and that will be “This Machine Kills Fascists” first. Finding time to do videos now is tough, and I’d prefer to make videos that aren’t the classic “people playing in a practice space” type – so it takes a bit of inspiration and thought to figure out what the hell we’re going to shoot.
What is Rancho Seco Victory by the way? For those in other parts of the country or elsewhere, Rancho Seco was a much maligned institution of electrical generation in the Sacramento valley. A nuclear monstrosity that was a testament to a previous American hubris. It was often shutdown due to mismanagement and other issues, and now rests as an icon to an earlier dogma of Americana. Sounded appropriate to me when writing this album as a metaphor for what this record is about.
June 29, 2018
Final, final few hours left of mixing this new record. As I said in an Instagram post, I’ve never been good at tooting the horn, promoting myself or my bands or whatnot. But I am really, really happy with this record and honestly feel it is the best record I’ve done in my career. Ok, enough of that. Just little slight things now – slight re-exports with guitars up or down, vocals up or down, de-esser on the vocal bus? Which type of compression on the Master? Does the kick still cut, does the bass need ducking, Etc.
I also feel that for the first time an album I’ve done has really hit a unified sense of how I’m interpreting the environment I’m in. And that environment now is midlife in this suddenly unique kind of American experience. Of course I’m talking politics a bit; of course I’m feeling jaded and dystopian about what’s going on in Americana. Of course I’m worried. I think all of that is conveyed in this record. You can’t listen to ‘This machine kills fascists’ without hearing that kind of concern – it’s pretty obvious there, but also in more subtle songs like ‘Boreal.’
Today, I might add, some nut went on another shooting rampage, this time at a newspaper in Annapolis, MD. Shortly after, a cable news anchor blamed it on a politician.
We still have hope. We have hope in the many, many things that are still so extraordinary about the American experience from the coasts to Texas, to wonderful Wyoming, to the Sawtooth mountains, to the Mississippi delta blues swamps. We have innovation and expression other countries are envious of, we have an institution that says a guy in a reality show can be elected (think about that – that cannot happen in Russia). In Russia that guy would need to have been part of the party and worked his way up through the system for decades.
That is part of the beauty of America. Anyone can still come from nowhere to have a voice. Troubling voices may emerge, that's true. And fights the we fight are tough, but so were the fights fought in ’64 and ’68 – and then literally entire neighborhoods were set ablaze.
And, we still can vote. And vote you should. To not vote these days borders on negligence. Elections matter. Votes matter.
And, buy this record pls.
Today – finishing some backing vocals for both This Machine Kills Fascists and to the song tentatively called Woman. Backing vocals always seem like they should take 5 minutes, but to do them well always become a total pain in the ass. How did bands from The Beach Boys to Alice in Chains get their harmonies to be so damn cool. I don’t want to cheat, I don’t want to use the computer to figure things out – I just want to hear it, but sometimes you don’t, and sometimes things sit there for weeks with a crappy backing vocal on it, and you know it sucks, and maybe there will be the day that the part comes to you while you’re driving or in the yard, and you got to record a version of it RIGHT THEN, or you’re going to forget the damn thing.
Really happy to get rights to use incredible picture by Christopher Henshaw for the album cover. Title right now: Rancho Seco Victories. More that to come.
Hi! Some decent radio pickup around the country this week! Hoping this trend continues.
Mixing for the new record continues here at Navigator studios. About seven songs mostly wrapped up and in the mixing phase. About four to five more with tracking still to be done. It's slow going to be sure, but things are sounding pretty awesome. Hope in the very near future to start uploading at least some near demos of these to soundcloud and posting here. Stay tuned.
Sept. 9, 2017:
Started basic work on a new full length album. Had three full days in the studio last week for vocals. An old Fathom One song 'Memoriam for the Wall' in the mix. Other tentative titles: 'Forlorn worksong of the jaded cowboy,' 'Brothers,' 'Mono, stereo.'
Check back for demos soon.
'Ameican Static' video
'The Silent Year' novel hits Amazon
My first tentative attempt at writing a novel is now on Amazon. Set in a rural California town, a small boy has mysteriously stopped speaking. Over time people realize quiet little Paul Price is the perfect person to confess their affairs, crimes and misdemeanors and lies to, leading the boy to slowly unravel the startling truth about a popular teenager’s drowning.
Back from the West was released last winter, during a blizzard.
"10/10" new review of Back from the West from musicexistence.com:
"4/5" review from scopemag.com
"7/10" of "Back to the West" by Owen Matheson from Nodepression.com
'10/10" from Gashouse Radio
A Word About The Name
Champ de Mars: A Google search would probably let you know that Champ de Mars is a large park in Paris, France near the Eiffel Tower. I’ll freely admit that after years of being in bands that had terrible, terrible names I’d finally resigned myself to pointing to a map one night and finding this. I’ll also admit that Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world. However, deeper reading reveals that the park was witness to a massive democratic rally to remove a despot from power which was met by fratricidal troops opening fire on its own people. How far have we come? The power of the people to speak freely is overwhelming.
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