1. How would you classify your sound?
An esoteric and curious amalgam of indie-rock and mid century pop. If I’m feeling laconic, I’ll would reply: ‘Rock and Roll’.
2. Who are your all-time or current top 5 musical influences?
Beatles, Brown, Bach, Beethoven, Buckley -should cover the ‘B’s (Sorry, Beck, Bono Beach Boys, Brickell; I only had 5)
3. What do you want fans to take from your music?
I’d be happy to have anyone consider him or herself a fan and inject themselves into my storyline. When I’m impacted enough by a song or phrase to want to pass it on to a friend, that’s what makes music a living thing: Sharing it.
4. How’s the music scene in Chicago?
When I was in my twenties, I’d see and hear dozens of artists per week in various venues, clubs, or studios. Nowadays, I keep myself to myself -in my backyard garden shed where the scene is a wooded area near Lake Michigan -North of Chicago. A little white dog is always in attendance. And even though he never claps, he seems to approve.
5. What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing out?
Maybe Jeff Buckley at the Wetlands NYC (1996 I think). I rarely perform live these days. My bandmates haven’t heard my new songs yet -that is an unfortunate side effect of playing every note on the record. When I do ‘play out’, it’s usually solo-acoustic to a small group where the challenge is to make it special -as best one man and guitar can accommodate.
6. Is there a song on The Ellipsis Album that stands out as your personal favorite?
Track 13 – ‘See you on the Other Side’. I had written and recorded a couple dozen songs in a two-month period. I like prime numbers and decided on 13 of those songs were to be on the record. On the eve of my deadline to send the master recording for the September 22nd release, that song fell upon me like a gift from the heavens. I only had time to record it in the way of an itinerant troubadour. I was so pleased with it, another decent composition was supplanted -lest it not be prime.
Also, my favorite airplane is the Supermarine Spitfire. Often, I imagine myself in Great Britain for the early days of of the war. Late summer 1940 was unseasonably warm and recent Luftwaffe raids made it not so “phoney” anymore. The island being terrorized nightly by such awesome and ruthless forces, I perpetually ruminate. Juxtaposition of beauty amidst horror and hideousness are the things of an epic picture. The Supermarine Spitfire itself is a flying contradiction -with it’s elegant and graceful lines, it wields such dreadful weaponry.
I’ve had a dream in which I dwell in London’s late afternoon hours of September 7th, 1940. There’s a warm-cinematic orange light from the west. Ever so faintly, I hear a growing and distant droning of Heinkel He-111s with Messerschmitt Bf 109 escorts that loom easterly in a cold-blue sky. Barrage balloons waft clumsily overhead and I sense impending doom.
This is a dream from which a song (Track 12) emerged. ‘Keep Calm (the sea lion sleeps tonight)’ was originally to be an ode to the Spitfire, but I realized while writing that it was more of an anthemic composition about collective perseverance of the British people at an important time.
7. After seven years off, this is your second release in less than a year. What was up with that long gap?
The ability to write and record everyday is an undeserved gift -let alone the fact that I seem to open my eyes each morning with a new day. There was a protracted period of radio silence due in part to physical impairment (that’s another story) and subsequent lack of will. After years of struggle, I’m now in a place to write with a renewed perspective, vigor, and gratefulness -the result of which is ‘The Ellipsis Album’. There’s a motif and counterpoint of that journey encapsulated in this body of work.
8. If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?
If I were to choose an artist who’s dead, would I travel to their time and place or would they be resurrected? I’m likely to abuse this just to travel to England in 1940. If I were to combine all those activities with a logically-feasible living artist, David Gray or Elvis Costello seem good candidates because I think we’d hit it off. Paul Mccartney, Morrissey, and Chrissie Hynde are vegetarians so dinner might be a drag. That said I’ll: meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, or have a drink with anyone, famous or not: but preferably alive.