I’m not even sure this thing still works. WHAT YEAR IS IT. I have some shows to announce, but first I have to say a thing (scroll down if you get bored).
I’ve been very quiet lately, and it’s been nice. Somewhere in the middle of one of the various dumpster fires we’ve been living through these last few years, I started to become uncomfortable with my compulsive behavior around social media use. It started with me deciding to post less, because I was aware of how much I craved likes and replies, and I didn’t like being controlled by some algorithm that was an expert at making me feel that way. But I was still reading, reading EVERYTHING, like it was my job. I followed a lot of reporters and politicians, which I maybe thought was going to help me solve all the world’s problems? Or at least guarantee that when a problem was solved, I would hear about it right away. This only resulted in me hearing every bit of bad news very quickly, multiple times per day, flavored with all of the arguments and bad feelings everyone else in the world was having. On top of all that, some family health issues cropped up that made it feel important to shrink my horizon down, in order to focus on a much smaller bubble of time and space that surrounds me and the people I love. (Everyone is OK now, don’t worry.) So I stopped using the sosh meeds entirely. Sorry I didn’t tell you!
It was a great relief. Often, a thing would happen in the world, and I would be able to imagine in great detail who was saying what about it, and what issues other people would take with what they said, and what kind of dunks were being served on the people who were wrong about the thing that happened, and how those dunks would never land in a satisfying way. I was still reading the news, but reading it like, IN THE NEWS, and so I was still hearing about everything that happened, but without all the compulsive behavior and near constant bad feelings. From what I can tell, not many problems were solved, and it’s not because I wasn’t constantly looking at Twitter. Pretty sure.
COVID cut off a lot of connections that used to just happen by themselves, and I took the extra step of removing social media, so I made myself a very tall, and rather dry club sandwich of isolation. It was definitely what I needed at the time, but I miss everybody. I miss your dumb jokes and your complaints and your pictures of cute animals. Not a lot of shows have been happening, and I miss those too. I’m OK, but it’s been a rough couple of years, and it’s been hard to really accomplish much of anything. I know a lot of people are in a similar place – I hope you’re OK! I don’t know what’s next for me exactly, but it will be something, and it will not involve me doom scrolling Twitter seven hours a day.
Here are some things I’m very much looking forward to already:
Saturday Dec 31
College Street Music Hall, New Haven
Opening for They Might Be Giants
New Years Eve baby! If this show sells out, I will wear a tuxedo. Tickets on sale Sept 21
Wednesday Oct 12 and Thursday Oct 13
Largo, Los Angeles
Aimee Mann And Friends
Finally, I’m a And Friend!
Tickets for one show and tickets for the other show are on sale now.
I think writing these paragraphs counts as a full day of work for me, so I’ll leave it there. See you in 36 months (joke)!
“You mean Some Guys ARE Charting.” No, I do not!
The week of April 6, 2019, Some Guys is #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, #6 on Independent Albums, #9 on Digital Albums, #19 on Americana/Folk, and #29 on Top Album Sales. This is more than a little surprising to me! I expect I will drop off all the charts completely next week, as is my custom. Also, I’m not sure why my oldest, most nerd-pander-y photo is the one they’re using all over Billboard, but I wish I had gotten that T-shirt one size larger.
The Kickstarter was an amazing success, topping out at just over $150,000. At the time of this writing, I think that most if not all orders have been sent out including digital copies as well as the top tier Super Powered Mystery Boxes. It’s been officially released on all the digital music stores, and physical copies are still available through BackerKit for a limited time. Eventually this will transition to a physical merch store on my site, which I am busy setting up just as soon as I start doing it WHICH IS SOON. The vinyl LP edition is on Amazon as well, and the CD will be ALSO SOON. More links:
I really can’t thank everyone enough for the overwhelming number of positive comments about this album. I’m very proud of it, and I feel so lucky that my job is such that I got to turn what is kind of a dumb idea on paper into a real thing that seems to be bringing people so much joy. Thank you, and please keep telling everyone how great it is!
I’m very excited to make this secret project public today: I have a new album called Some Guys and it is covers of 70s soft rock songs that sound exactly like the originals. This is maybe not what anyone would have guessed was my next thing, especially me. But I really love it.
You can pre-order on Kickstarter RIGHT NOW!
In the 70s, I was sensitive kid who liked soft rock (both of those things are still true). These were some of the first songs that I remember really connecting to. I was always pretty sure that this was not a thing that made me cool, but now that I’m in my late 40s, I feel like it’s safe to come out as a soft rock lover. (Hello, I’m Jonathan, and I like Dan Fogelberg.) Lately, I’ve been listening to this kind of music a lot, rediscovering all my old friends, and I couldn’t shake the idea that it would be a lot of fun to just kind of make them again. I didn’t want to do new versions, I wanted to just rebuild the originals from the ground up. I wanted to live inside these songs for a while. I can tell you it felt very warm and cozy in there.
The album was produced by Solid State producer Christian Cassan, and I have to say, it sounds amazing. Most of the instruments are played by him and me, but we brought a few friends in for the stuff that was too hard. The rules: same keys, same tempos, same arrangements (as best we could manage). We hired real strings and real horns. We engineered and mixed in a way that we felt was faithful, but not slavish, to the original recordings, so the effect is this thrilling combination of old and new. I hope you like it as much as I do.
The release date is yet to be determined, but probably late March. Right now I’m running a Kickstarter to cover the cost of printing CDs and some really beautiful vinyl, designed by Gail Marowitz and Ed Sherman, who also created the grammy-nominated design for Solid State:
I mean: yum. More details are on the Kickstarter page, including a complete track list, and a pretty great video that explains the project and lets you hear a snippet of each song. As ever, I am grateful to all of you for supporting me in a way that lets me do things like this. I have the greatest job in the world. Thank you.
Stay soft everybody!
Do you feel that? There’s a slight chill in the air. Crisp autumn leaves crunch underfoot. That’s right, it’s time for New York Comic Con! Here’s where I’ll be and when and why.
Thursday Oct 5
NYCC Geek Rock Block
3-3:15 PM, NYCC Live Stage, booth #174
Check out live interviews with some of the top names in Geek Rock including Jonathan Coulton, Paul & Storm, and Nerf Herder
NYCC Thursday badge required
Loot Crate Geek Rock Block Meet & Greet with Jonathan Coulton, Paul & Storm & Nerf Herder
3:30-4:30 PM, Loot Crate booth #536
Loot Crate brings you an hour of geeking out with the biggest names in Geek Rock: Nerf Herder (Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme), Jonathan Coulton aka “JoCo” (Portal) and musical comedy duo Paul & Storm. Come meet everyone, have something signed AND sign up for your chance to win 2 tickets to Nerf Herder in Brooklyn on 10/5 and 2 tickets to JoCo and Paul & Storm in Brooklyn on 10/6. (both 21+) Merch will also be available for sale.
NYCC Thursday badge required
Friday Oct 6
Jonathan Coulton with Paul & Storm and “Friends”
7-9 PM, Bell House, Brooklyn
Join Jonathan Coulton, Paul & Storm and their friends (if they have any, which they don’t) for a night of music, hilarity and general nerdery.
NYCC badge not required
Acker and Blacker’s Star Wars Party
10-??? PM, Bell House, Brooklyn
Saturday Oct 7
Telling Stories with Pat Rothfuss, Jonathan Coulton, Paul & Storm, Maureen Johnson, Jean Grae & Travis McElroy
2:45-3:45 PM, Room 1A06 at Javits Center
Bestselling authors Patrick Rothfuss and Maureen Johnson; singer-songwriters Jonathan Coulton and Jean Grae; comedy/music duo Paul and Storm; and podcaster Travis McElroy discuss their strategies for storytelling, creating characters, and moving from good idea to finished thing.
NYCC Saturday badge required
Sunday Oct 8
Solid State with Jonathan Coulton – hosted by Image Comics
3-3:50 PM, Image Comics booth #1444
Celebrate the recent album release of Solid State by Jonathan Coulton and its companion graphic novel by Jonathan Coulton and Matt Fraction from Image Comics by meeting JoCo himself. Exclusive hardcover graphic novels and vinyl will be available for sale. Don’t miss your chance to meet the man behind the music and the graphic novel – and to have them both signed!
NYCC Sunday badge required
We Got This with Mark and Hal, LIVE!
6-8 PM, Hudson Mercantile (500 W 36th St at 10th Ave)
We Got This with Mark and Hal is returning to NYCC for the third consecutive year, recording a live episode of their popular Maximum Fun podcast in which they settle the topics you never knew you cared so much about, like whether ketchup belongs on hot dogs, what the best classic board game is, Star Wars vs Star Trek, and the best Batman of all time! Mark Gagliardi and Hal Lublin (Drunk History, Venture Bros, Welcome to Night Vale, The Thrilling Adventure Hour) will be joined by special guest, Jonathan Coulton, as they tackle another of the most important debates of all time: the best game show of all time!
New York Comic Con badge not required.