Magic Act, a bit about...
I've got a new album in the works called Magic Act. 12 pop songs of varying psychedelic decree. Some of these songs were written for the third Three Minute Tease album. TMT is my erstwhile UK band with former Soft Boys/Egyptians Andy Metcalfe and Morris Windsor. A sudden case of "artistic differences" meant a change in course and I found myself making a solo record all over the place with all sorts of people. Colin Moulding from XTC played bass on one track, Martin Gordon from Sparks on another. Karla Kane from the Corner Laughers sent vocal tracks from her laptop to my Dropbox, while Allyson Seconds and Larry Tagg came to my dad's house in Sacramento for cups of tea and tracking. "You've got to start out or end up in the same room at some point, hopefully." It's important for me to have that "in the room" connection with the people I make music with, but this record was made as much online as anywhere. While Morris did come to Berlin for one session, a week later he was recording with Pat Collier in London with me producing via Skype. I never sing about the Internet or mobile phones or pretty much any aspect of our very tech-rich lives, but this album is as anti-luddite as can be.
The title, Magic Act, however, is as "analogue and hiss" as it gets, and quite nostalgic. My uncle Don had been a professional magician and he passed his magic kit on to me. I did magic shows as a kid for a bit before getting into acting, where my first role was as Jesus in Godspell. Kinda hard to top that and my "drama career" went downhill thankfully from there. Meanwhile, synths and songwriting came into my teenage life and I was saved! Music, at its best, IS magic for me. How the hell does Julian Cope just preening onstage make everything glow cosmic purple? And you can read or write chapters on John Lennon's voice, but that sound he makes transcends a thousand words. I'm so fortunate to be doing music, and to be doing it with heroes of mine is not something I take for granted. Sure, I've put in all the hard work in the world, but it's the magic that pays its own reward.
I'll say a few words about a few of the songs on the album, just in case! The album starts with High Noon, a song that asks the question "Did the CIA really kill the Virgin Mary by sending her on a suicide mission to the moon?" Milk Churn In The Morning was inspired by the Polish entry in Eurovision 2014. Google it. And it features Andy and Morris, "artistic differences" be damned! Sit Your Leggy Down is the most spontaneous track on the album, made up on the spot at home in Sacramento. Guitars, vocals, bass and drums in 40 minutes! Broken In Two, on the other hand, was written and recorded slowly over months, bit by bit, as I stared deeper and deeper into the pages of Jung's captivating Red Book. The Wait Of You comes from somewhere near Avebury, Swindon is a love song (with vampires) for the other Liverpool in my life while Blue Lamp Rider references my California days working every weekend as a musician in the suburbs and surrounding towns. I could say more about these and the other songs, but that would be telling!