Sunday, September 6, 2009

We Started a Fire/Year of the Jaguar/Everything is Awesome

So we are about halfway through mixing our new record and it's been a tremendously crazy year for me and for the band so I thought I'd start off the new blog filling you in on the skinny of some of the happenings/twists and turns. Jaguar Love started off 2009 in a super dark place. We were burnt out, weary from a crippling bout of writers block and after having spent all of November and December trying to write a new record had nothing to show for our efforts. Everyone that's ever been in a band knows that feeling, where your in your dingy, poorly lit practice space, you've been tinkering with the same part over and over for the past 5 hours that nobody likes that much but is too scared to say anything, and you start daydreaming about being a diesel mechanic or starting a huckleberry farm or anything thats more productive than trying to be in a band that no one wants to be in anymore. That's where we were at. It was clear by the end of January that something needed to change or the band would soon be no more. After a lot of soul searching Cody and I decided that the only solution was to part ways with the immensely talented J Clark and proceed as a two piece. J still continues to write music and if you want to check out what he's up to he's got a myspace (myspace.com/locustofcontrol). Our vision was to re-tool our band as something that's a cross between a DJ and rockband, write songs that had a more dancefloor feel, and program everything but the guitar and vocals. It was a total gamble, we had no idea whatsoever if we could pull it off. To make matters more stressful, we came to the decision to move on as a two piece two weeks before flying all the way across the world to play the Soundwave festival in Australia. To make matters "have a stroke and die stressfull", two days after deciding to rework the band as a two piece we got a call from our manager informing us that we had just been offered main support for two nine fucking inch nails shows. We got to work immediately and the new vision for the band proved to be a tremendous boon of creative progress, we wrote 9 new songs and reworked another 3 from take me to sea in just under a week. In case you aren't Australian, you wouldn't know it, but Soundwave is basically what I imagine warped tour is like over here, you've got your Underoaths, your Forever the Sickest Kids, the usual gamut of hot topic fare. So we didn't exactly fit in but we had a blast none the less and Jaguar Love 2.0 went better than we could have imagined. The NIN shows were beyond nerve racking, I've heard horror stories about NIN being exceedingly unkind to their opening bands, and having had my fare share of livid heckling (my favorite being an AFI fan shouting "shoot your self in the fucking head faggot" when the BB's opened for them) I was certain that they would have to escort us in an armored car to an undisclosed location immediatey following our set. But much to my surprise people seemed to like it. Who knew?
The whole tour traveled together in these immense charter flights which was great because Cody and I became friends with dozens of bands that otherwise we would have never really come across. It was like summer camp for grown men. We'd finish our set at like 2 in the afternoon then just hang out in australia for the rest of the day and drink wine with our new dudes in horse the band, hellogoodbye and evertime I die, pretty radical.
After the australia trip we headed off to South by Southwest. Amazingly it was me and cody's first time ever at SXSW as the bloodbrothers never went. Additionally nobody working for us including our manager, our booking agent, or Matador had yet to see or hear us as a two piece and needless to say, they were all a little skeptical. Now we had to prove to everybody working for us that we we're not only just a vital as a two piece, we were better. We'll like Condoleezza Rice always used to say about the war in Iraq, when one door closes another door opens. At the exact same showcase at the Beauty Bar in Austin where Matador saw Jaguar Love 2.0 and decided to "drop us like its hot", the old blood brothers publicist was also in attendance accompanied by the head of Fat Possum records (home of Andrew Bird, Wavves and Black Keys) and loved it and a few short months later the band had a new home.
We got home from SXSW and a short run with the band OK Go and three weeks later my wife gave birth to a mind bendingly beautiful baby girl, Bijoux Elizabeth Whitney. Being a father is the most instantaneously transformative event I have ever experienced. She brings me joy and inspiration every waking moment. Plus she sounds just like me when she screams.
In the months that followed Cody and I tenaciously plunged headfirst into composing the record, writing 20 songs and arranging a cover of Janis Joplins "Take Another Piece of My Heart". I think that both Cody and I can confidently say that it has been the most enjoyable and productive season of our lives as artists. The wellspring of quality material that we have both brought forth into the world has surpassed either of our wildest expectations especially considering the state we were in creatively just 9 months ago. For those of you that haven't seen us live yet and heard any of the new song, it's definitley more Neon Blonde than Blood Brothers, kind of an amalgamation of Daft Punk, New order, and black flag. It is the most surreal experience to be in a band with someone where there is only love and no ego or jealousy whatsoever. I can't even describe it.
So that brings us to the present. Since the beginning of August we've been bunkered down at Bog Roll (fucking dumb name John!) studio's in Seattle recording with our old friend John "get some" Goodmanson (producer engineer of the last two blood brothers records, blond redhead, sleater kinney, the gossip). The tracking is finished, we are now into mixing. We recorded 15 songs and we are in the horns of a dillema because we love every single one of them like cute little children but they can't all make it onto the record. Whatever happens I can honestly say though that this record is the best piece of music I have ever ever ever ever made ever. Not that I'm going to, but if I for instance I got trampled by a brontosaurus tomorrow, I would die a happy man because I feel like for the first time since I started playing music, at least to me, I made a record that I was 100% happy with and really enjoyed myself while I was doing it.
So what's to come? The record should be coming out early next year world wide. Expect us to be in all nooks and crannies of the world touring, we may end up recruiting a drummer or a keyboard player/hypeman/woman, but that's yet to be dermined. We want to play as many house shows/housepartys as possible this fall before the inevitable months and months and months touring off the new record begins next year so if anyone in the portland/vancouver/seattle area knows or does houseshows and wants to have us please drop us a line on our myspace or at jaguarloveband@gmail.com. Additionally on a cooking show I did for shockhound.com last year I meantioned that I was writing a book and a lot of you have emailed asking about that. I was about 100 pages into it when we kicked J out of the band and since then I've had to devote every free second to programming/writing/touring so it kind of got shelved for the past 9 months. I hope to finish it before the record comes out along with some short fiction I've been working on and I plan to post some of it on this blog so check back in a bit for that. And as always we will be debuting a boatload, dare I say a yachtload of new crystal city gear in the months to come so check back for that as well.
Lastly I want to extend my most sincere gratitude to our manager Blaze, and our booking agents Craig and Rob for believing in us through out this year of immense growth and change, and to Mathew at Fat Possum and Laura and Steve our publicists at Nasty for taking a chance on us when no one else would. And I want to thank all of you who have stuck with us, come to our shows, brought us cookies etc through the very sad break up of the blood brothers and the rebirth of Jaguar Love. 2010 is going to be the year of the Jaguar and I promise you all are going to be very very pleased with what we've got cooking.

xoxo
Johnny

29 comments:

  1. Wow bro, glad to hear about the newborn! Loving the name actually, Bijoux is beautiful sounding :) Also glad to hear about the bands success, i in so many ways would just prefer for BB's to be back but as that will not happen i'll enjoy the other amazing music all of you are creating.

    Really, its like mcdonalds and im lovin it :)

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  2. Nice to hear this perspective on all the different things you've talked about.

    I'm very excited for the new album, and the book! (or any short fiction you may write)

    You're general enthusiasm you have for all of this excites and interests me. I really can't wait for this album!

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  3. Hey guys you should totally come back and rock out Australia again. A 35 minute set wasn't even close to long enough seeing you guys.

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  4. I believe anything that comes from your creative minds will always be great.

    Glad to hear the Neon Blonde approach. Maybe a little teaser song on your space?

    I love you guys and will always be here for support. God willing

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  5. Can't wait to see you guys in Austin Johnny.
    -Adam

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  6. Looking forward to the new album and i hope your book see's the light of day sometime soon. Visit sweden on your tour!

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  7. yay i'm excited! if you and Cody were on the east coast i would have TONS of houses that would have you! if you ever find yourself idly over here i'm sure there would be many who would shit their pants at the chance to have Jaguar Love 2.0 playing in their house.

    keep up the amazing work! take that good feeling and roollllllllll.

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  8. please, please get a drummer for live.
    i love you but you were an abortion at sxsw.
    i have faith that you will pull it back with another record now that you've had time to get yr shit together.

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  9. very excited for the album, book, clothes, etc. anything johnny excites me. hope to see you soon in lawrence or kc area. funny the afi fan made that comment to you when davy havoc is the gay one not you. lol idiots. btw im getting "my evil twin has no voice just the sound of helicopters crashing" tatooed on my butt cheek. bijoux is such a cool name!
    -taylor green

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  10. Nothing like homophobic AFI fans.

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  11. saw y'all in Detroit over the summer. By far the best show I've ever attended. I'm in Asia for the year, so pretty pretty pretty please let your next tour be a summer tour, pleaaaaase.
    http://photos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs088.snc1/5078_217576955121_776840121_7439534_5777352_n.jpg
    http://photos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs088.snc1/5078_217578265121_776840121_7439562_7113902_n.jpg
    loving the new stuff.
    your music is the best, nothing gets me like a good old whitney scream. weather its circa 1997 or maintenant. i dig.

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  12. congratulations on the baby! bijoux is a beautiful name.

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  13. Congratulations once again on the baby! People don't say that enough in these comments. I swear guys.

    That's awesome news, so how about a video of you singing to your baby? (:

    Can't wait for the new album!

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  14. I really enjoyed take me to the sea, but I was kind of (skeptical)wondering what direction you could take jaguar love in from there. There's plenty of great dance party two peices out there, death from above 1979 comes to mind personally. I like the direction your voice is taking, I hope you'll experiment alot, and I don't think you're writing has ever been better. 100% happy with an album! I but it's fucking fantastic! THANKS IN ADVANCE!

    You're going to be the coolest most loving father ever and congratulations to you and your wife.

    I just joined crystal city's myspace and asked about the book, so I'm glad to see you'll keep us posted here. I was just thinking about how gian swan reminds me of JD salinger's "laughing man", and I always have schemes to write essays on stuff like that and send them to havard and the'll give me a job lecturing and shit I am excited about. I'll include alot of your work in my course.

    Totally can't wait for the new album.

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  15. P.s.:

    Always videos of you and cody dancing like crzy. And may your shows always be a room of people doing likewise.

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  16. Really looking forward to the new book, and record! And congrats on being a dad! I hope you guys stop buy Chicago somewhere along a tour this fall or next spring. From Jaguar Love (1 and 2.0), to Neon Blonde, to The Blood Brothers, to Crystal City Clothing I'm enjoying anything and everything that you've been working on. Keep up the good work!

    P.S. the new song is fantastic!

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  17. Congratulations on the baby, and i look forward to listening to the new jaguar love cd. However, I still miss the blood brothers to no end. reunion tour? please?

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  18. Hey Kids -

    Just wanted to plug my podcast which had 2 Blood Brothers themed podcasts! I think you'll enjoy them its like a DJ spinning a set of exclusively BB related stuff!

    Looking forward to new JagLove!

    http://dontsmokegetofftheinternet.blogspot.com/2009/06/those-cold-hooks-cemetary-claws-raking.html

    http://dontsmokegetofftheinternet.blogspot.com/2009/06/episode-9-blood-brothers-vol-2-hard.html

    dontsmokeinternetpodcast.blogspot.com

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  19. just one blog entry and thats it???

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  20. I was introduced to you as a concept by a man I wish I could say I ever loved. Because I hated him, I kinda hated you until I got into a funk and would only listen to you and nothing else. (I also hated my life at the time... a lot). You had a way of expressing exactly what I was feeling in a way most people could never understand until they sat themselves down and dedicated some time to listen (at least in my experience).

    Since then, you've become a staple in my musical library. Really, anything you touch is pretty rad. And although I am married to my wonderful wife (just a pinch over a year now), I am so ridiculously gay for you, it's not even funny. She understands, though, since she's pretty gay for you and Cody, too.

    But on top of that, I just want to thank you because you're really a very big source of inspiration to me and your music comforts me even in my worst of days (and truly they are the worst).
    And to know now that you're a father too, I don't even know what to do with myself. I'm just so happy for you that I'm writing this and I'm crying. I know that she's got to be the most beautiful and wonderful and amazing creature to you in the entire world. And I can only hope that when I have my daughter (I have a few more years before I have to worry about that. it's still just in the idea bank right now) that I can be as wonderful and caring a father to her as I know you will be to Bijoux.

    So, thank you for existing. From the bottom of my heart.
    -Jason.

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  21. Remarkable! Congratulations on having a daughter! I know you must feel so blessed. And it's incredibly good news to hear that Jaguar Love will live on. I am so heavily inspired by all of your creative endeavors, both past and present. Please don't ever give up. You have an incredible talent, and you apply it so wonderfully. Thank you for all you do.

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  22. Between blood brothers there will be more understanding... my respect for the pretty girl either way :-)

    wanna hear that new shit now!

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  23. I guess you are never gonna keep us updated huh?

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  25. I'm very surprised at myself for having just read this today. And i must say, after hearing the new album and seeing you guys live and meeting you and Cody afterwards, you guys' enthusiasm and humbleness is something to admire.
    After doing all of that and then reading your entry it really shows how much work you two have put into this. I've been a fan of you and Cody since I was in 6th grade. It still makes me laugh to think of my 11 year old self listening to the whispers and screams of The Blood Brothers.
    Nonetheless, once TBB split I was at a loss thinking I'd never hear that Whitney scream again. Jordan's whispers always seemed to be enhanced by your contrasting voice. Him alone just wasn't the same. Once finding out that you and Cody would still be playing together I was extatic.
    Take Me To The Sea was a great album. I loved it but I still felt like something was missing. After listening to Hologram Jams i was dumbfounded. I couldn't put that album down. As a matter-of-fact, I still can't. I can listen to the entire album on repeat non-stop. (Small fact: my computer crashed and I can't put Hologram Jams on my iPod so I've been carrying around my old cd player.)
    Also, I'd like to say congratulations to you and Amy for having your beautiful daughter. Maybe you and Bijoux could do a duet? Seeing that her screams mimic yours makes me laugh.
    So to wrap this all up, you and Cody have come so far and worked so hard. You two are probably the most hardworking, devoted people I have ever met. And to top it all off, you two are still grounded. You guys still have a place in your hearts for your fans.
    Thank you Johnny and Cody for being such awesome people. For not giving up on music or the people that love you. And most of all, for being two of the most sincere guys in the world. I will stick with you two where ever you go. From music, to clothing, to writing.
    (P.S. I think we'd all like to hear a small update on your writing. After hearing on that cooking show that you were writing a book and some fiction I've been excited ever since. And if your fiction is anything like your lyrics then we're all in for one hell of a story.
    --Chelsea

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