Bob Mould (Solo Electric)

KUTX presents

Bob Mould (Solo Electric)

Will Johnson

Tue · April 25, 2017

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Advance: $25.00 // Day of Show: $27.00

This event is all ages

There is a $3.00 fee that is added to every ticket purchased at our Box Office. This includes Day of Show pricing.

Bob Mould - (Set time: 9:30 PM)
Bob Mould
Here's the deal. In 2012, people loved Silver Age (to a degree that surprised me, pleasantly), likewise Beauty & Ruin in 2014 (despite the heaviness of the subject matter, which I thought might be a bit alienating… apparently not. Another pleasant surprise.).

But PATCH THE SKY is the darkest one.

After the Letterman performance in February 2015 where "dust fell from the rafters," it would have seemed logical to go the punk rock route—an entire album of two-minute songs—but that wasn't where my soul was at.

I withdrew from everyday life. I wrote alone for six months. I love people, but I needed my solitude. The search for my own truth kept me alive. These songs are my salvation.

I've had a solid stretch of hard emotional times, and thanks for the condolences in advance. I don't want to go into the details—more death, relationships ending, life getting shorter—because they're already in the songs. Just listen and see if you can fit yourself into my stories. The words make you remember. The music makes you forget.

But PATCH THE SKY is also the catchiest one.

I always aim for the perfect balance of bright melodies and dark stories. I've used this juxtaposition for years. This time, I've tuned it to high contrast.

The first side of the album is generally simple and catchy. The second side is heavier in spirit and tone. Opposing forces and properties. I love both sides of PATCH THE SKY.

At the core of these songs is what I call the chemical chorus—you hear it once and your brain starts tingling. The heart rate picks up. It gets worse—you know it's coming again and you can barely stand the anticipation. Then, the beautifully heartbreaking bridge appears, and you're all set up—hooked for life. Music is an incredibly powerful drug. I want to be your drug dealer. I have what you need.

On the current band.

I'm currently in the best band in the world with Jon Wurster on drums and Jason Narducy on bass. We've been working together since March 2008. Jon and Jason are involved in many quality projects, and I'm amazed they find the time to play music with me. I am always thankful for their contributions.

On the recording process.

Beau Sorenson engineered the tracking sessions at Electrical Audio in Chicago. We all played really hard, and I used very loud amps. We mixed PATCH THE SKY at Different Fur in San Francisco. Bob Weston mastered the album at Chicago Mastering Service. Sonically, it's deeper and richer than the previous two albums.

On the state of my music.

Beyond the aforementioned trials of life, I found myself thinking about the 1970s, where heavy metal, soft rock, and confessional singer/songwriters collided (and gay porno was better). I circled back to the forgotten sounds of my teen years, and how I used to absorb, learn, and emulate in order to create.

When I was younger, I always felt the need to justify my work. These days, I don't have time or energy for that. I only want to finish the songs that get stuck in my head for days and weeks and months on end. And add lots of guitar solos.

On the last campaign, I had a song called "Little Glass Pill" that talked about "a window and a mirror." That's what music is to me, both as creator and lifelong fan. The window—where you can see inside my soul. The mirror—where I look to find my own truth. When the inspiration hits, roll with it. Write what you live, love, and know.

On gratitude.

Apparently I've been given some special dispensation. How many musicians get to play loud rock at 55 and still have an audience?

It's amazing that people from so many different cities, countries, ages, and walks of life all continue to find something in common in my music. I take the art form very seriously; I appreciate being recognized for my efforts, and I'm incredibly grateful for the time I've had in the light. I like the brightness, and Lord knows I've got darkness covered.

* * *

Anyhow—let's try to make something enjoyable out of all the heaviness of life and death and love and failure and fear and regret that we all go through. Talk with me about normal stuff. Ask me fun questions. I'll say some crazy shit because I'm old. Kids will think I'm out of touch with modern times. I love it. Let's do it.
Will Johnson - (Set time: 8:30 PM)
Will Johnson
Over the course of his quarter-century-plus career, Will Johnson has dealt with every challenge a musician can face. The silver lining, however, is that the Austin-based songwriter excels at taking bumps in the road and turning them into gold.

A week before Johnson was to begin tracking his fifth solo album, Hatteras Night, A Good Luck Charm, he hit one such bump: His usual studio haunt, the Echo Lab—where he’s recorded solo work, albums by his beloved former band Centro-matic and side projects such as South San Gabriel—suddenly became unavailable due to a fire. Luckily, a friend and collaborator, Britton Beisenherz (Monahans, Milton Mapes) stepped in and offered up his Austin, Texas, studio, Ramble Creek Recording.

The last-minute switch was a blessing in disguise. First, the session now brought together both old friends (his Centro-matic bandmate Matt Pence, a pal of 27 years and the Echo Lab’s manager) and newer friends (Beisenherz, Ricky Ray Jackson, who’s worked with Phosphorescent and Steve Earle).

In addition, this combination of musicians ended up unexpectedly adding more depth to the album’s desolate, folk- and Americana-leaning songs. Anxious soundscapes—specifically, hushed harmonies and a mélange of drums and splintered acoustic guitars—give “Hey-O, Hi” cinematic tension. Elsewhere, mournful, coyote-howl pedal steel wafts through the country croon “Childress (To Ogden)”; “Ruby Shameless” is a gentle, lullaby-like song with a chiming melodic backbone; and on the easygoing “Predator,” winking piano peeks out from layers of burnished guitar strums and sparking percussion.

“Having Britton’s personality and his fingerprints on this record definitely added more to it,” Johnson says. “At first, I thought Hatteras Night, A Good Luck Charm was just going to be Ricky Ray and me holed up in the live room, making a really subdued, largely acoustic, pedal steel-type of record. But it wound up turning into a more involved and layered affair, and one that was even more rocking in places than it might have been had we done it at the Echo Lab.”

The latter development is most evident on “Every Single Day Of Late,” which has a creeping sense of dread thanks to shuddering distorted guitars and rhythmically off-kilter percussion, and on the roaring, hurricane-like “Heresy And Snakes.” These moments might remind some people of Centro-matic, although Johnson says that band’s absence is more of an influence.

“When Centro-matic was still intact, my solo records were usually really subdued,” he says. “I would take them in a completely different direction than the cascade of guitars and feedback that we were really into. Now that Centro-matic is not in existence anymore, there are going to be moments where I just want to turn everything up and kind of go for it.”

On some level, his ability to let loose stems from his chemistry with Beisenherz and Jackson, both of whom added prominent instrumental contributions to Johnson’s last album, 2015’s Swan City Vampires. However, this approach also reflects his comfort level with Pence. Although Hatteras Night, A Good Luck Charm marked their first full session together since 2012, their creative and studio relationship always tends to pick up right where it left off.

That enduring connection especially helped this time around, since the crew only had five days to make Hatteras Night, A Good Luck Charm. Although Swan City Vampires was almost as economical—it was recorded over six days—that record found Johnson navigating both the loss of his mother and the 2014 breakup of Centro-matic. Hatteras Night, A Good Luck Charm is a different animal: The record largely revolves around fictional narratives featuring vibrant, well-defined characters dealing with “situations of tension,” as Johnson puts it.

On “Every Single Day of Late,” the protagonist finds much more than spiritual fulfillment after seeking out religious counsel, and soon becomes addicted to the taboo relationship. Milaak’s titular song demonstrates the anguish which often goes hand-in-hand with human connection, while on “Heresy and Snakes,” misunderstood Mazie May’s actions are perceived to be more nefarious than dignified. The keening “Filled With a Falcon’s Dream,” meanwhile, namechecks the ill-intentioned trio of Lucius, Timmy and Steve.

“I was in a mindset of exploring risky connections between people, and their willingness to look the other way and just go through with them, for the simple need of human affection and an almost devil-may-care attitude,” Johnson explains.

Still, he is a benevolent songwriter. For example, the narrator of “Ruby Shameless” looks at the song’s main character, a stripper, with tenderness and humanity; he sees her as a person worth cherishing, rather than a devalued object. Hatteras Night, A Good Luck Charm’s characters aren’t “morally bankrupt,” Johnson says, just dealing with a devil and an angel perched on their shoulders, whispering in their ears.

“I’m sympathetic to all of these characters, even though they’re flawed and maybe a little confused,” he says. “A lot of the time it’s good people making bad decisions. And they may just need some affection, and then will move on. It’s more coming to terms with, ‘I’m going to be alone in this world, and I’m okay with it. I’m totally okay with this solitary situation, and this empty bed.'”

As a solo artist, Johnson also knows all too well the balance required to navigate solitude and collaboration. However, on Hatteras Night, A Good Luck Charm, finding this equilibrium helps him discover nuanced and intriguing sonic directions. The album ends up a thought-provoking meditation on what it means to exist in a world that often misunderstands (or chooses to ignore) emotional complexity.
Venue Information:
3TEN Austin City Limits Live
310 Willie Nelson Blvd, Suite 1A
Austin, TX, 78701
http://www.3tenaustin.com/