Spring, Revisited

One of the most amazing things about spring in Minneapolis is how quickly it sets in. One second, you’re trying to figure out where you’re going to put this new foot of snow on your sidewalk; turn your head and—blammo—there’s grass and leaves and couples walking their dogs and flowers and pollen.

Of course, I’d probably enjoy the miracle of spring a little more if I was actually in Minneapolis. These days I’m spending most of my time with the Alternate Routes, which is to say I’m spending a lot of time on the road. Weather notwithstanding, I’m having a great time playing with these guys, and hopefully there will be new music coming your way soon.

Back home, I’ve been slowly (but surely!) putting the finishing touches on Dave Olson’s record. We started the record just over a year ago, and as much as I’d like to say we’ve been slaving over it every day since then, the truth is we’ve both been out of town more often than not. Regardless, I’m proud of the record so far and some things, as they say, take time.

Speaking of studio-type endeavors, I’ve also been putting some finishing touches on my little project studio. There are a few nice mics here, and among other things on the way are a pair of Avedis MA5s I’m excited to work with again. When it’s all said and done I’ll be able to professionally track drums a la casa, as well as pack things up easily for mobile overdubs. I might need a studio name, you know, for that extra-professional touch. Any suggestions?

In drum-geekery news, I’ve been really into these Istanbul Agop cymbals lately, and just got a new 19” Mel Lewis that I’m going to totally lay into inappropriately on every song at a session tonight with Molly Maher. The word on the street is there’s some sort of record coming out in the summer. Stay tuned.

The amp is a very important tool especially for rock music the more the amp is good the more the sound you make will be perfect!

– words of wisdom from a fan

Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.

– Gustave Flaubet

I don’t know if I even agree with this quote, but I know that I have sort of a regular and orderly life, so it’s reassuring to know someone has recommended this as a lifestyle.

I had an incredible amount of fun in February with the Alternate Routes. Here’s a vid from our Feb 12th show at Daniel St. in Milford, CT. (about one second into the song my ride cymbal stand imploded, making 2:12 pretty fun)

The Backyard Committee

I’ve been enjoying this album by my new friend via the Alternate Routes, Mike Sembos. Visiting the Bandcamp link above allows you download the record for free, yet somehow no one goes to prison and Mike actually encourages it. So, you know, go get a free record.


I spent the night before the new year in a friendly forest (our nickname for the Creative Workshop studio in Nashville, TN). I’m in my old hometown once again, this time gearing up for a short run with the Connecticut-based Alternate Routes. We’re headed into the ocean to play a four-day cruise-type-thing called the Rock Boat, which should be a ton of fun and a much better way to spend the first weeks of January than back home in the arctic tundra of Minnesota. While I’ve been here some friends and I have been putting down finishing touches on Dave’s record, which will hopefully be ready to mix this spring.

if there are any lessons I can carry into 2011 with me, it’s that I’m lucky to know, and be friends with, such talented and kindhearted people. It’s pretty damn inspiring.

Don’t bother trying to jog to this album. I tried recently, and instead of burning calories, I ended up sitting on a bench, whittling, and petting stray dogs.

My favorite review of All Birds Say so far.

One foot should be investigating the past; the other one shouldn’t know where it’s going at all.

– Jeff Watts