Because today’s Internet culture is so obsessed with brevity, writing these pieces has been really fun for me. It’s nice to talk at depth about something for once.
I am currently sitting at LAX, waiting on a flight to London. To my left TSA workers to my next to frazzled men in rumbled suits, waiting to order artisan coffee as they fiddle with their smartphones. To the right of me, a guy in a denim blue shirt is talking loudly on his iPhone. “‘I guess I can’t swim’,” he says. “That would be funnier if he said that. I like a joke there, I just don’t like that joke. Any time you hear movie tropes, it’s always tricky.”
California is so dry and hot right now, it’s hard to believe. Anyone who is still denying climate change needs to open a window.
I’ll be in the UK for most of the summer, playing a few club and festival shows, working on my new album, shooting a part for an indie movie filming in Scotland and spending time with my girlfriend. It still surprises me how many times I get to keep going back to the place where it all began for me. It will be my fourth consecutive year playing Slam Dunk – the first time was with Weerd Science in 2011 and Eppard and I will never forget how much love we got that first time and how packed that tiny room was. I really love about traveling and playing shows in the UK in May – the weather is always perfect in that country that inspired the sad sounds of Joy Divison, the Smiths and the Cure. As Chaucer so aptly put it, when the arrival of spring in England always inpsires “longen folk to goon on pilgrimages”.
I’ve been doing really cool stuff in LA with some of my musician friends, and I have so much of the music that I’m ready to go somewhere new to finish recording and demoing the vocals. I always write better when I travel – some of my favorite songs were written on airplanes. I was stoked that people liked the preview of “Moleman (Hans Moleman)” track I posted on YouTube!
On Facebook and Twitter a few weeks ago, I announced that I’m not going to be on Warped Tour this year. Kevin likes to change it up and not put the non-headlining acts on summer after summer. I hope to do it again soon though, and if they ask me back (2015 maybe?) I will be honored to rock it again. So many friends and artists will be on Warped this year though, so you should all go! Please say hi to Less than Jake, mc chris, Watsky, K.Flay, I Fight Dragons, the Protomen for me if you do.
As I sit in LAX wrapping this update, I think back to the dozens of tours I’ve done over the year. I think about how important it is to stay relevant and topical and how that’s always been a big part of my journey as a writer and perofrmer. I met up with my old friend and former manager Tom Gates at Nettwerk when I was in LA last week. He’s always been a big inspiration and great person to bounce thoughts off of, and how’s important to not disappear for too long between projects.
I think that’s only natural for any artist who wants longevity – my Dad always reminds me about a song called “Garden Party” by Ricky Nelson. It’s a song about a singer who plays a show at an industry party where Dylan, Yoko Ono and a lot of other people are only want to hear his old songs. “If memories were all I sang,” he sings, “I rather drive a truck”, ending the song saying because “ya can’t please everyone… you got to please yourself.”
We have a meeting with our friend Adam F. Goldberg a month from tomorrow to talk to him about Yes Yes Y’all! He’s the “Zombie Dinosaur LP” executive producer and it will be fun to connect with him and talk about how we’re going to bring Pickles into homes around the world. I’ve been enjoying the Goldbergs and love the kids’ stuff he’s worked on.
RIP to Bob Hoskins. I had some tears yesterday about that. Who Framed Roger Rabbit will always be my favorite film and his performance in that was genius – it will live on forever.
In happier news, I’m stoked about the new shirt design, stoked about how the new songs are sounding, and stoked about the fact that I can read the new issue of MAD magazine on my iPad as I fly over the Atlantic Ocean tonight.
Back to Britain! Will keep you guys in the loop. Love to you all.
P.S. To anyone interested, a full list of current album concepts and demos to date follow here. Warning, major spoilers below for anyone who wants to be surprised. So far, we have:
1. A song about the origins of the cosmos. (“Space Rhyme Odyssey”)
2. A song about Hans Moleman (sample on YouTube)
3. A track about Kerouac’s journey and the Beats’ connection to hip-hop (“You Don’t Know Jack”)
4. A shout out to librarian mothers (with Watsky)
5. A ska song with Roger from Less than Jake and Suburban Legends
6. “Operation: Joyful Smiles” (a song about how to keep a positive attitude)
7. A song about my late Australia Grandfather
8. A song about Game of Thrones (“Dragon Blood”)
9. “Zombie T-Rex”
10. “Average White Guy in His 30s” (featuring Will Post, formerly of I Fight Dragons)
11. A song about the magical number Pi
12. “How Not to Write a Slayer Song”
13. “Your Retweets Are Annoying Me”
14. A punk rock song making fun of Southern Cali bros
15. A song about Juggalos
16. A song about Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit
17. A song about the economics Bitcoin
18. A song about brunch
19. A song with the Buckwheat Groats
20. An update of the “Signing Emo” saga
21. “Hipster Mom” (“Hipster Girl” grows up)
22. A song about California Gold Rush
23. A song about the Epic of Gilgamesh
24. A Zelda song
25. A song about Alfred E. Neuman
26. A song about the popularization and dilatuon of nerd culture
27. A song about why jazz is great
28. A song about explorers getting lost in the Pacific (featuring Random, Schaffer and WarRock)
29. A song about Romeo and Juliet
30. A song about a haunted tour bus (“Poltourgeist”)
31. A song about New Zealand
33. A nostalgic song about 2004
34. A song about life-long friendships
35. A song about coffee
36. A song about Calvin & Hobbes