Our progress on “Meltdown” as of Saturday, April 6th. 17 songs - three of which are unfortunately ending up on the guillotine to avoid the expensive route of double-album format. The good news is that they’ll surface later on a 12” maxi-single/EP companion piece to be released three months after the full-length. Could be a lot worse…
—Do You Ever Get Tired Of Keeping The Faith? (demo)
Looks like we’ve got a “Train In Vain” situation on our hands? We were so close to finishing tracking this weekend. Yesterday as the band was filing into Station House studios to lay down the last three songs - “Dead Celebrity Party,” “Angel Of Sleep,” and “Don’t Invite Me To Your Party,” Gabriel was already at the piano hammering this out at the zero hour, having just wrote it the night before, and now we’re aiming to turn it into a Byrds meets Lords of The New Church nihilist anthem to kick off the record.
Gabriel Hart and Claire Mckeown performing “The Foggy Dew” (accompanied by party host and Lexingtons keyboardist Nathaniel Nose) on St. Paddy’s Night 2013. The two are in the process of arranging a set of Irish rebel songs to record for an upcoming record to come out later this year.
Joseph Mattson lays down his chilling slice of surrealist sadism for the JW track “Midnight Meltdown Radio” - not a song as much as it is radio drama/confession/nightmare/audio hallucination/hypnotherapy session. The piece will also feature reluctant poet/painter John Tottenham, The Abigails, and Jail Weddings covering Wendy Rene. Jean Paul Garnier (AKA Loopool, pictured on the left) will be producing the track, seasoning it with his suffocating soundscapes.
While holed up in the studio, the band’s limited budget and deep rolling personnel tends to humble us to Little Caesar’s $5 Hot and Readys (or “H & Rs” as Marty lovingly refers to them) but at this point we’ve developed a sort of rhythm of expectation, and often excitement, knowing exactly what is coming to us when we are famished. In other words, as we learn to love each other, we also learn to love sub-par pie. Here’s Gabe showing us all how it’s done, while chaperoned by the Shepherd Sisters with their inherently greasy AND G-Rated b-side, “Eatin’ Pizza.
Gabriel and Marty Vs. The Case of Rogue Resonance: While laying his keys down on The Station House’s beautiful upright for “Party Girl”, there occurred a single maddening mutant D note that would just keep ringing long after he let his hands up. The only way around this other than calling the ol’ curmudgeony piano tuner, was to have Gabe locate the right strings and manually mute them with his fingers within one teetering second after Marty would hit that one specific note in the dizzying midst of his cascading run.
As reported last month, JW rhythm section Mike Shelbourn and original member Josh Puklavetz had jumped ship smack dab in the middle of recording our new record. Luckily we didn’t have to look too far to fill their still mysteriously smoking shoes. Dave Clifford (who you will also know from bands like The VSS, Tarot Bolero, Pleasure Forever, Red Sparowes, etc) was a seasoned player in Gabriel’s past projects The Starvations and Fortune’s Flesh, so the tiresome search for a drummer with the right vibe, endurance, and compelling signature eyebrow hike in almost every photo ever taken of him was deemed almost immediately frivolous. To make matters even more fortunate, for a bassist we merely had to grab another Hart from their slightly crooked, heavily gnarled family tree - Gabriel’s own cousin Morgan Hart Delaney was humbly asked to be Puklavetz’s predecessor. He called back 30 minutes later to report that had already learned Love Is Lawless in it’s entirety. We told him, “That’s great, you’re in, but uh…we’re not really going to be playing those songs anymore….”
Dave Clifford, Jail Weddings new drummer.
Morgan Hart Delany, trusty cousin to Gabriel Hart, is Jail Weddings new bassist.
By Gabriel Hart
I am an unfortunate sufferer of chronic insomnia. While my nocturnal irregularities have improved considerably since undergoing regular hypnotherapy with Jada Wagensomer, I am still one of 50-70 million American adults that struggle with this taunting medical condition. At it’s worse, I will be awake for 2-3 days then finally crash hard for up to 12-14 hours, sometimes sleeping right through my alarm for work. At this rate, I often wonder what was even the use of swearing off methamphetamines all those years ago, as these patterns are eerily similar to those of any bona-fide tweaker. But let this not be some kind of regression of regret, but a journey into unchartered waters. Last Thursday evening, I wasn’t so much tossing and turning in my sleep, as much as I was…swimming.
In the throes of one of my more merciful deep sleeps, I dreamt we were all filing into JW rehearsal like we do every Tueday, Friday and sometimes Sunday. We were setting up, when all of a sudden our guitarist Chris Rager says, somewhat frantic, “Did anyone bring the whale? Who’s turn was it to bring the whale?!”
We all turn and look at each other, not out of confusion but out of disappointment that no one brought “the whale,” as if it was as business as usual as someone expected to grab the 12-pack that week. Marty Sataman and I look at each other, and say, “Alright, you wanna do this? I guess we haven’t gone in a while…”
Jump cut to Marty and I swimming in the middle of a turbulent ocean, navigating the waves considerably well. We treaded water in one particular spot, and waited, as if we had radar for this kind of thing. Suddenly the ocean swelled as if an island was emerging from it, but it was not an island - it was a blue whale the size of a commercial airplane and we were suddenly right on top of it, hook, line and sinker. We began to throw rope around then whole creature and harness the whole thing to our torsos, and the whale was submissive enough to come along, no questions asked, no thrashings dished out, no meals made of us. We swam to shore with this poor behemoth that God forgot and…
…jump cut to the parking lot of our rehearsal space, where there now lie a whale, dead as dead could get dead. Our bandmates came out to survey our newest capture, all rubbing chins inquisitively.
“Shit, how are we going to get it inside the rehearsal space?” someone asked.
“Well, we can just start cutting it up, I guess…” someone else replied.
There we went hack hack hacking away at the thing with large sabers we happened to all be carrying. We cut the whole thing up into hundreds large cubes of quivering bloody blubber, each the size of a bale of cardboard or small couch. We dutifully began carrying each massive piece into the rehearsal space, and stacked tall towers of it wherever there was room.
Again, we stood staring with question marks above our heads.
“Well, what do we do with it all now?” someone asked.
“Well, I guess we could start cooking it up? There’s that BBQ outside that someone left and I think I’ve got a bottle of Sriracha in my car…” said Marty.
Without a word we fire up the grill and start cooking each massive piece, unaffected by the pure foreign gore of the whole experience. We hungrily dig in, some of us feeding each other huge gristly bites too big too get into our mouths, laughing hysterically.
Not long after the feast begins, whale gore covering every inch of our faces, clothes, the ground, our practice space, Chris decides to burst the bubble.
“Hey guys, you’re not going to like this, but I just realized….I’m PREEEETY sure when we were supposed to get the whale, it wasn’t supposed to be taken literally. We were actually supposed to make that new song just sound as BIG as a whale!”
A wave of depression washed over us, now sadly chewing on the big fish. This quickly turned into contagious and triumphant hands-on-hip laughter that spread to all nine members, once we realized what a silly, silly mistake we made, but what a delicious, delicious meal we also made as a result.
There was some early speculation that recording this new record and immersing ourselves in the theme - the dissection the personal apocalypse - would have some prophetic effects on the band’s personnel. While it’s no mistake that we are all slowly going mad making “Meltdown”, our drummer Mike Shelbourn and original bassist (and the group’s undisputed “enfant terrible”) Josh Puklavetz decided this month very suddenly that the weight of this burden was having a trepidacious influence on both of their mental foundations, and have resigned from the group under mysterious rationale other than having their own respective “meltdowns” from the arduous process of making this thing.
The rhythm is gonna get you, eh Miss Estefan? Well in this case, our own rhythm got “got.”
Luckily, we have already been overwhelmed with friend’s and strangers alike that are volunteering to replace the irreplaceable, and we are making some hard decisions right as you read this. Stay tuned for more details as they unfold…