Hey hey! So, today we announced that this new band deal I’m doing is, in fact a real thing. We’re called Brendan Kelly and the Wandering birds (named for the early 20th century countercultural movement/German boyscouts turned crossdressing hobos, the Wandervogel) and we should have an ep out just after Christmas and a full length out in the spring (just in time to be haughtily dismissed as lame and dull while everyone digs into the awesome new Menzingers and mind boggling new Sidekicks albums). You can read all about it over at http://www.altpress.com/features/entry/exclusive_brendan_kelly_the_lawrence_arms_new_band_wandering_birds
Here’s the deal: I wrote all these songs over the course of the last few years since Buttsweat and Tears came out. They came together really slowly and for a long time, I didn’t know what to do with them because while some were pretty punk rock and could conceivably been Falcon or TLA songs, most of them were not. I didn’t really know who I wanted to play the songs with or what I wanted to happen in general. Also, I was in the process of becoming a new dad, a stay at home dad and then a father of two, so I didn’t have a lot of time or energy to spend on thinking about my own little selfish projects.
I went out to Denver for the holidays and ended up hooking up with my good buddy Eric Halborg, who plays in the Swayback and is one of the most enthusiastic people I know. I told him I had a whole record worth of material floating in my head and he suggested we call his buddy Shawn Astrom who’s this Euro dance music making computer whiz, and see if we couldn’t lay down a demo. Well, one night we set up in Eric’s in-laws’ walk in pantry in their kitchen to do a song. I played and sang everything over a click track while Eric and Shawn engineered it from the kitchen counter. They took the media files I had done and went back to the lab. I forgot all about it until they sent it to me about three months later and it didn’t sound like a shitty demo. It sounded finished. Eric was right. Shawn WAS a fucking genius and Eric had added his own flavor to it as well with some great backing vox. The song turned out so well I decided I wanted to do more of my tunes with these dudes and hopefully eventually build a record.
A few months after that, I was back in Denver and we laid down three more songs. Those also turned out amazingly, but it took over six months to get those mixes back. At that point, armed with a completed fourth of a record, but frustrated with the slow timeline, I decided I should just find some players here and do the rest at Atlas (where the Lawrence Arms record). I enlisted my gradeschool/highschool/longtime buddy and collaborative partner (and the first person I ever made music with in my life) Nick Martin who’s a great engineer, drummer, guitarist, bassist, pianist and singer, to help me flesh out these songs. Together Nick and I put our finishing touches on the rest of the tunes and went into Atlas to record them. When we were done, we sent the files for 9 more songs back to Shawn and Eric to mix. That process is still going on, but should be finished this week or next week. Everything with those Denver assholes takes fucking forever.
So that’s the Wandering Birds…it’s a weird kind of collective, but it’s really just four of us at the core of it, although nobody but me is on every song. Most of it is me and Nick playing and Eric and Shawn producing. It’s a different vibe, organization wise, than I’ve ever been a part of, but one I’m comfortable with because the people involved are so great.
To answer some questions, 1) no, this does not mean the Lawrence Arms are broken up. We JUST announced shows, you fucking babies! 2) Yes, the Wandering Birds will play shows. I just need to make a few moves to get the right people in place (Nick can’t play drums and guitars at the same time, for example) and finally, uh, I don’t know, erect or flaccid? I’m a bit of a grower.
Okay, as you were. I gotta get my kid from school.