Sunday, September 6, 2009

We Started a Fire/Year of the Jaguar/Everything is Awesome

So we are about halfway through mixing our new record and it's been a tremendously crazy year for me and for the band so I thought I'd start off the new blog filling you in on the skinny of some of the happenings/twists and turns. Jaguar Love started off 2009 in a super dark place. We were burnt out, weary from a crippling bout of writers block and after having spent all of November and December trying to write a new record had nothing to show for our efforts. Everyone that's ever been in a band knows that feeling, where your in your dingy, poorly lit practice space, you've been tinkering with the same part over and over for the past 5 hours that nobody likes that much but is too scared to say anything, and you start daydreaming about being a diesel mechanic or starting a huckleberry farm or anything thats more productive than trying to be in a band that no one wants to be in anymore. That's where we were at. It was clear by the end of January that something needed to change or the band would soon be no more. After a lot of soul searching Cody and I decided that the only solution was to part ways with the immensely talented J Clark and proceed as a two piece. J still continues to write music and if you want to check out what he's up to he's got a myspace ( Our vision was to re-tool our band as something that's a cross between a DJ and rockband, write songs that had a more dancefloor feel, and program everything but the guitar and vocals. It was a total gamble, we had no idea whatsoever if we could pull it off. To make matters more stressful, we came to the decision to move on as a two piece two weeks before flying all the way across the world to play the Soundwave festival in Australia. To make matters "have a stroke and die stressfull", two days after deciding to rework the band as a two piece we got a call from our manager informing us that we had just been offered main support for two nine fucking inch nails shows. We got to work immediately and the new vision for the band proved to be a tremendous boon of creative progress, we wrote 9 new songs and reworked another 3 from take me to sea in just under a week. In case you aren't Australian, you wouldn't know it, but Soundwave is basically what I imagine warped tour is like over here, you've got your Underoaths, your Forever the Sickest Kids, the usual gamut of hot topic fare. So we didn't exactly fit in but we had a blast none the less and Jaguar Love 2.0 went better than we could have imagined. The NIN shows were beyond nerve racking, I've heard horror stories about NIN being exceedingly unkind to their opening bands, and having had my fare share of livid heckling (my favorite being an AFI fan shouting "shoot your self in the fucking head faggot" when the BB's opened for them) I was certain that they would have to escort us in an armored car to an undisclosed location immediatey following our set. But much to my surprise people seemed to like it. Who knew?
The whole tour traveled together in these immense charter flights which was great because Cody and I became friends with dozens of bands that otherwise we would have never really come across. It was like summer camp for grown men. We'd finish our set at like 2 in the afternoon then just hang out in australia for the rest of the day and drink wine with our new dudes in horse the band, hellogoodbye and evertime I die, pretty radical.
After the australia trip we headed off to South by Southwest. Amazingly it was me and cody's first time ever at SXSW as the bloodbrothers never went. Additionally nobody working for us including our manager, our booking agent, or Matador had yet to see or hear us as a two piece and needless to say, they were all a little skeptical. Now we had to prove to everybody working for us that we we're not only just a vital as a two piece, we were better. We'll like Condoleezza Rice always used to say about the war in Iraq, when one door closes another door opens. At the exact same showcase at the Beauty Bar in Austin where Matador saw Jaguar Love 2.0 and decided to "drop us like its hot", the old blood brothers publicist was also in attendance accompanied by the head of Fat Possum records (home of Andrew Bird, Wavves and Black Keys) and loved it and a few short months later the band had a new home.
We got home from SXSW and a short run with the band OK Go and three weeks later my wife gave birth to a mind bendingly beautiful baby girl, Bijoux Elizabeth Whitney. Being a father is the most instantaneously transformative event I have ever experienced. She brings me joy and inspiration every waking moment. Plus she sounds just like me when she screams.
In the months that followed Cody and I tenaciously plunged headfirst into composing the record, writing 20 songs and arranging a cover of Janis Joplins "Take Another Piece of My Heart". I think that both Cody and I can confidently say that it has been the most enjoyable and productive season of our lives as artists. The wellspring of quality material that we have both brought forth into the world has surpassed either of our wildest expectations especially considering the state we were in creatively just 9 months ago. For those of you that haven't seen us live yet and heard any of the new song, it's definitley more Neon Blonde than Blood Brothers, kind of an amalgamation of Daft Punk, New order, and black flag. It is the most surreal experience to be in a band with someone where there is only love and no ego or jealousy whatsoever. I can't even describe it.
So that brings us to the present. Since the beginning of August we've been bunkered down at Bog Roll (fucking dumb name John!) studio's in Seattle recording with our old friend John "get some" Goodmanson (producer engineer of the last two blood brothers records, blond redhead, sleater kinney, the gossip). The tracking is finished, we are now into mixing. We recorded 15 songs and we are in the horns of a dillema because we love every single one of them like cute little children but they can't all make it onto the record. Whatever happens I can honestly say though that this record is the best piece of music I have ever ever ever ever made ever. Not that I'm going to, but if I for instance I got trampled by a brontosaurus tomorrow, I would die a happy man because I feel like for the first time since I started playing music, at least to me, I made a record that I was 100% happy with and really enjoyed myself while I was doing it.
So what's to come? The record should be coming out early next year world wide. Expect us to be in all nooks and crannies of the world touring, we may end up recruiting a drummer or a keyboard player/hypeman/woman, but that's yet to be dermined. We want to play as many house shows/housepartys as possible this fall before the inevitable months and months and months touring off the new record begins next year so if anyone in the portland/vancouver/seattle area knows or does houseshows and wants to have us please drop us a line on our myspace or at Additionally on a cooking show I did for last year I meantioned that I was writing a book and a lot of you have emailed asking about that. I was about 100 pages into it when we kicked J out of the band and since then I've had to devote every free second to programming/writing/touring so it kind of got shelved for the past 9 months. I hope to finish it before the record comes out along with some short fiction I've been working on and I plan to post some of it on this blog so check back in a bit for that. And as always we will be debuting a boatload, dare I say a yachtload of new crystal city gear in the months to come so check back for that as well.
Lastly I want to extend my most sincere gratitude to our manager Blaze, and our booking agents Craig and Rob for believing in us through out this year of immense growth and change, and to Mathew at Fat Possum and Laura and Steve our publicists at Nasty for taking a chance on us when no one else would. And I want to thank all of you who have stuck with us, come to our shows, brought us cookies etc through the very sad break up of the blood brothers and the rebirth of Jaguar Love. 2010 is going to be the year of the Jaguar and I promise you all are going to be very very pleased with what we've got cooking.