OK, So It’s a New Record

May 25th, 2010

That’s what I’m working on. There’s at least one exciting detail I can’t talk about yet, but I can say a few things now. I’m currently writing a bunch of new songs and rehearsing them with a band. I intend to debut (or, “publicly screw up”) these new songs with this band, probably using an electric guitar, at a couple of shows in July:

Iron Horse – Northampton, MA
Thursday July 22 at 7 PM
Tickets: http://bit.ly/bs6VNn

Somerville Theater – Somerville, MA
Friday July 23 at 7:30 PM
Tickets: http://bit.ly/cFaSw4

And after that I’ll head back to NYC to write some more and rehearse some more. At some point after that we’ll go into an actual studio and record all my fantastic new songs with talented musicians using high quality audio equipment. Fully licensed audio professionals will record and mix everything. Might put a couple of old ones on there too, maybe a couple from The Aftermath, maybe a couple of deep tracks from the back catalog. But really, mostly new songs, I’m serious this time. I already have at least four that you haven’t heard, and one of them is about mustaches, so that’s good.

As you can imagine, I’m excited but mostly scared about all of this. Here are a few reasons why (I swear I am not fishing for compliments or encouragement – I’m fully invested in this plan and am going to do it no matter what you think, and even if it’s a TERRIBLE DISASTER):

Why The New Project Frightens Jonathan Coulton

1. I barely know anything about playing the electric guitar. For instance, what is an “amplifier?”
2. I’m not sure I can write good songs anymore, and suspect that my best work is behind me.
3. I’m not used to spending money on talented musicians, high quality recording equipment, and fully licensed audio professionals.
4. I fear collaboration with other musicians who might be more talented than me.
5. I’m afraid that even a small change in direction is going to disappoint some fans.
6. I’m worried that even a small change in direction is going to make some aspect of my business not work anymore and that I will have to get a real job.
7. Like most rational humans, I’m pretty sure that I am basically a fraud, and that this move will finally expose my fraudulence for all the world to see.
8. This probably will involve a label and some other new business things that are new to me, I don’t even know what to say about that.
9. Change. Mediocrity. Backlash. Bad reviews. Effort. Internet comments. Mistakes. Regret. Robots.
10. Number 10 is secret.

So, back to work. Mustaches, that’s funny, right?

165 responses to “OK, So It’s a New Record”

  1. Veektor says:

    Hey , I play drums and also the bass , I’ll play for free in the meantime…

  2. Jacob says:

    Totally stoked for you. Labels=more exposure=good idea (not all labels are evil… why do people who hate labels go to big movies? Different? Not really.). They Might Be Giants is on a label. They define not-mainstream for me in many ways. Totally behind you! I love new directions – they give me stuff to think about :-)

  3. Radien says:

    I’m not going to try to comfort you and assuage your fears, JC, but I AM going to tell the truth:

    I’m excited about this. Not because I think it’s your big break and you’re going to finally be catapulted to stardom (though I DO hope that does happen, why wouldn’t I?), but because for awhile I’ve been thinking of what awesome kinds of stuff could happen if you had a backup band.

    That concert I attended with Paul and Storm and Melissa all backing you up confirmed it for me: while Jonathan Coulton ten or twenty times over certainly makes for good digital recordings, it’d be awesome to add a group dynamic to that blend.

    I’m running out of valid musical terminology.

    Anyway, I can’t say what is the wisest thing to do, but this is musically exciting and I don’t think you’ve done anything that I can’t fully respect. After all, enormous, depressed cephalopods don’t work for free. Monkey’s gotta paid!

  4. Without risk there can be no reward, but you know this…you’ve done this…you’ve been rewarded. It’s going to be ok.

    My only advice is please please please don’t lose yourself in the fame and fortune that is on the horizon for you. I’m sure your family will keep you grounded but from what I understand (as I have not experienced this in any sort at all, just heard all the popular stories of fame ruining people) it’s easy to get lost. That would be a shame. It’s nice to see you in a small venue, audience members truly feel a part of the show. There is such a thing as too big. I love Bon Jovi, I’ve gone to several concerts, and while the put on a great show, I enjoy yours much more. So, don’t lose sight of what’s important. That’s all I have.

    Best of luck although you won’t need it. You are more talented than you know. Come back to Michigan! (please!!) : )

  5. Dan says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I, as a fan, am behind you on this. I understand your fears, as I think we all do, as we have all been there before in one way or another. I will continue to listen to your music and support you, as you have brought a lot of musical joy to my life, and I think you deserve something in return for that.

    Please persevere and good luck,


  6. Mr. Judgmental says:

    Dude, nut up and do it.

  7. The V Man says:

    Terribly late to the game, but I think it’ll all be fine. In fact I’ll hop on the bandwagon and say it thusly:

    Heya Jon, it’s Bob from the Label down the hall
    Good to see your moustache growin’ in
    The money’s been ok for me, except I hand out contracts now
    I really wish you’d sign this thing
    I think I speak for all of us, when I say I understand
    Why your folk-style resonates, even with no band
    But go get amplified; you’ll have all our guys screaming…

  8. Martha says:

    Have you considered working with DFTBA Records? I think you’d fit right in.

  9. Stu says:

    Before you sign with a label, heed the warnings of Amanda Fucking Palmer.

  10. Circe Link says:

    Your honesty rules. And like Mom always says “If you don’t step on some toes, you’re not dancing hard enough.”

  11. Muir L says:

    is number 10 named John? … Flansburg?

  12. Delta says:

    @Muir http://bigthink.com/jonathancoulton

    The whole interview is good, but skip to 36:40 for the pertinent info (the answer is yes).

  13. SRooker says:

    There are some great venues in Portland Maine – How do we get you to Portland Maine, I’l buy you – no – I’ll make you a lobster rolll (even though Im vegan and they now digust me). You can sleep in our guest house, well more like a garage, but you can crash there…

  14. SRooker says:

    Other Funny stuff:
    hair around the toilet rim – ok – thats more disgusting than funny…
    butt cracks. Butt cracks are funny

  15. Kzap says:

    Learning electric guitar and starting a band, sounds like a midlife-crisis to me.