Me and Adam give a director’s commentary for, “Made This For You: The Mixtape As Literature.”
How it happened:
I wanted to do something special for the 2012 American Writers and Poets Conference (AWP), which was to be held in Chicago at the end of February. I conceived the project as a sort of audio guide to the present and future of literature, and on February 19th I went into Will Jones’ Yellow Hat Studios with the tracks for this album in sequence. Still, I was unsure if anyone else would dig the “mix tape” I had built out of three tracks from a finished album recorded over two years ago, three tracks from an unreleased album recorded a year ago, six tracks recorded two days prior to final production, and an assortment of sometimes candid and sometimes orchestrated audio clips of varying fidelity, which I whittled down from seven hours worth of iPod voice memos and radio show interviews. Determined to have a finished product before leaving St. Louis for the AWP, Will Jones and I completed the album at around 1:15AM on the 21st—just a week before the release and so close that it was yet to have its title, “Made This For You: The Mix Tape As Literature.” I want to show some love to Will for helping me pull this off. I’d like to add a special thanks to KDHX 88.1 and Sou’wester Literary Magazine if possible.
Track by track:
“Turning It On,” This first bit contains SIUE grad students and a professor at Stagger Inn, a short clip of Adam Sirgany’s (He’s an SIUE Graduate Student with Creative Writing Specialization.) Saxophone from Vince Café, and novelist Lloyd Kropp either from a selection of Literature for the Halibut or a recording I did of him at Sacred Grounds in Edwardsville.
“Inferno” is a retelling of Dante’s story with Eliot and Shakespeare thrown in for good measure. Emily Sudholt is singing the hook. (She interned at NASA, by the way.)
People that are somewhere in this track are: Will Jones, Jerry Hill/ DJ Uptown, Mic Boshans of Humdrum and Nee, Elaine Holtz, Dan Meehan of Humdrum, Dan McKenzie, Emily Sudholt, Josh Evans, Shae Moseley of Ghost in Light, Dustin Sendejas of Arts & Sciences, Jon Weiss of Arts & Sciences
“Ander Monson, I’m Losing You,” This was a section of a prerecorded interview. This section of the interview wasn’t aired on KDHX as his phone was cutting out. But Monson’s book, Other Electricities, has been described by Michael Martone as being, “Like Franklin’s discovery of the electricity we do know, Ander Monson’s luminous, galvanized book represents a paradigm shift. The frequencies of the novel have been scrambled and redefined by this elegant experiment.”
“Faust” self explanatory, right?
“Taking Shots At Legends: Bob Dylan Now Works For Cadillac,” This was a late night think tank featuring me in a bad mood about Bob Dylan. I love Freewheeling Bob Dylan, but do not love Cadillac. Neil C. Luke and Nate Fisher (SIUE Grad Student in Creative Writing) speak up for dear old Bob. I’m not especially proud of this moment. But this mix tape idea wasn’t about clipping moments where I’m proud of myself. There are plenty of moments where I’m on there stuttering, more on this later (if you ask).
“Overhearing Black Power Poems,” is a response to a reading the that the Eugene Redmond Writers Club put together at the Mo History Museum featuring Haki R. Madhubuti, Amiri Baraka, and my former SIUE professor Eugene Redmond. The track features SIUE Graduate Creative Writing Students Adam Sirgany on sax and David Rawson on bass.
“Adam Says It’s About Fame,” Adam Sirgany, Tim Harvey and me, running our mouths at Stagger Inn.
“The Thermodynamics Of Laundromats,” is a Dan Meehan original beat, we think. I sent it to him and he thinks he remembers recording it for me at my old place in St. Louis.
“Adam Doesn’t Save The World,” Adam Sirgany running his mouth at Stagger Inn.
“Matt Madden’s Dream Machine,” Artist and Author and Friend Matt Madden, exert from Literature for the Halibut.
“Giant Man, After Matt Kindt: Graphic Novel As Poem And Song,” Matt’s book is also becoming a movie, but there’s already an River Front Times story on that.
“How Many Purses David?” David Rawson runs his mouth at the Stagger Inn.
“Basquiat” is another massive track with all or most of these people: Will Jones, Jerry Hill/ DJ Uptown, Mic Boshans of Humdrum and Nee, Elaine Holtz, Dan Meehan of Humdrum, Dan McKenzie, Emily Sudholt, Josh Evans, Shae Moseley of Ghost in Light, Dustin Sendejas of Arts & Sciences, Jon Weiss of Arts & Sciences
“He Marries The Legless Woman,” Lloyd Kropp taken out of context in a recording of him I did at Sacred Grounds.
“The Fly,” Features Carl Pandolfi of The Lettuce Heads on drums and bass, and Adam Sirgany on sax.
“Extra,” Adam Sirgany, Tim Harvey and me, running our mouths at Stagger Inn.
“Reanimator” is a true story about this Scientist Mark Roth. (www.esquire.com/features/best-and-brightest-2008/bringing-back-the-dead-1208)
“Scott Phillips In French And Jedidiah Ayres In Laughter,” clipped from Literature for the Halibut.
“Alma Mater,” is me, the geese, and a memory.
“Is The Book Dead, Al Katkowsky?” is clipped from Literature for the Halibut.
“Lowdown Redhead Blues: How My Ex-Girlfriend Slept With Ryan Adams While I Was In L.A.” Also true story. Recorded live at Venice café with the iPhone in my pocket. Adam Sirgany and I had never played together before that night. We don’t know what that drummers name was, but we liked him, and still do.
“Dundee” is clipped from Literature for the Halibut.
“Faux Pas” Adam Sirgany on sax and David Rawson on bass.
“Really Creepy Breathy,” David Rawson runs his mouth at the Fine Dinning Hall at SIUE.
“Death By Blackhole,” is writing for astophysicist, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who has a book by the same name. The track features Carl Pandolfi of The Lettuce Heads on drums, bass, and piano.
“Curtain Comes Down,” is Lloyd Kropp taken out of context in a recording of him I did at Sacred Grounds.
Jason Braun is Jason and The Beast. These are his friends who helped him on this:
Will Jones (Producer/ Engineer)
Jerry Hill/ DJ Uptown (Produced a number of tracks)
Mic Boshans of Humdrum and Nee (Drums, Found Object Percussion)
Elaine Holtz (Keys)
Dan Meehan of Humdrum (Guitar, Keys, Bass)
Dan McKenzie (Fife, Bass, Vibes, Atari)
Emily Sudholt (Vocals)
Josh Evans (Engineering/ Bass/ Guitar)
Shae Moseley of Ghost in Light (Drums, Bass, Backing Vocals)
Dustin Sendejas of Arts & Sciences (French Horn)
Jon Weiss of Arts & Sciences (Trombone, Tuba)
Matt Kindt (Logo)
Carl Pandolfi of The Lettuce Heads (Bass, Piano, And More)
Adam Sirgany (Sax)
David Rawson (Bass)
Neil C. Luke