Magnet Magazine (to which I think I had a subscription in high school?) premiered “Jon Says” on Friday and had some nice things to say. They called it “chill” and “fresh”! Take a listen!
I feel like we’ve been saying this for eons now and it must be getting pretty annoying, but "Boo, Forever" is gonna be in the world so very soon! This song—or some larval form of it—is almost a decade old. The titular Jon is now a dad to one of the coolest little dudes, Yahli! I don’t remember the exact provenance of him telling me my eyes were “like melting in water,” but it was probably late one night on the porch on Quarry Street in Ithaca. I do remember the “hands like ants from the refrigerator” and maybe I’ll tell you that story one day. But whatever this song was about then, now it’s for Jon and Ofri and Yahli.
There’s a recording from 2006 or thereabouts of André and Nicole and me playing a barely recognizable version of this song at Trash Bar; I think it’s Nicole on musical saw and claves, me laying down this silly flatulent synth bass line, and André emitting some squelching feedback and shouting the lyrics through a megaphone. At one point you can hear the sound guy yell, “you’re too loud!”
Madeline and Alena totally own this song now. It’s not mine anymore. Removing my voice was the easiest decision we made while mixing. I was worried for a minute it would make it sound like another love song, but it didn’t.
And yet… it is a love song. I love Jon like a brother. And I love André and Nicole. And I love Maddie and Alena. (I love their voices on this song. It’s the only tune I can listen to from the album (since my voice isn’t on it) and it gets me all teary-eyed every time I hear them sing.) And I love Phillip and Jamie and Booker and Tom and Alex and Dan and Katie and Ben and Tim and Matt and Elaine and everyone else who has made this album happen.
Oh, also, thanks so much to Heather Cvar for the awesome photo!!! It looks like a collage but it’s not! Heather is the best. I met her the first time I visited LA. She was living in a beautiful house in Mount Washington with my friend Aimee (who’s gonna be a mom soon! Maybe her little booger can be pals with Yahli!). I remember one really lovely morning drinking coffee in their kitchen, in stitches while Heather cracked wise. I got to see her again last year when I was back in LA and we went to a surreal and amazing performance beneath a fake dollar store and down a spiral staircase that was hidden behind a portal of papier mâché stalagmite. That was a great night. Heather’s the real deal and a real hoot and I wish we got to see each other more often.
Oh oh oh, also also also, City Center (Fred Thomas) did a killer remix of “Jon Says” that you should also be able to listen to with the link. Fred is legitimately one of the only people I know for whom the hyperbole of a word like ‘genius’ actually applies. I remember one of my college bands opening for Saturday Looks Good to Me in 2003 or so above a bar called The Chanticleer… In the middle of one of our songs, the rest of the band abruptly stopped playing. My eyes were closed and I was apparently really “feeling” the music, because I kept playing for another minute or so on my own. When I realized something was odd, I opened my eyes to a blinding beam of light and three or four cops angrily shouting at me to stop playing. The crowd was standing and watching the scene unfold awkwardly. The cops threatened to shut the show down and give the bar a citation if we didn’t turn the volume “way down.” They continued shining flashlights in my eyes the whole time. It was sort of humiliating. I remember Fred giving me a little pep talk after our truncated set. Those days, SLGTM would alternate between touring with these big lineups with horns and all and then more stripped down iterations. But after the interruption, they decided to play a quiet set, barely amplified. I think it was maybe just guitar, Rhodes, and brushed drums. It was incredible. Fred is such a captivating performer, but that night especially he transcended the limitations and used the circumstances to his advantage. The songs were given these intimate treatments, hushed but no less evocative. Everyone’s anxiety was replaced with this sort of shared camaraderie; we were all in on something special. Where I was frustrated and embarrassed, Fred saw an opportunity for something special. It was inspiring. He has always been inspiring. I love his music so much. I feel so incredibly fortunate to know him and so honored that he made a remix of this song. His arpeggiator broke right after making this, and that seems somehow significant. There’s another version which is totally nuts that I’ll share with you if you’re lucky.
Anyhow… I’m anxiously thrilled and completely terrified to share this music with everyone, and you might have to bear with me as I flounder through some sappy self-indulgence like all the above for the next few weeks. Sorry and thanks!
Love, Benedict & the Feely Guys
P.S. - If you’re so inclined, you can pre-order the album (on vinyl!) here: http://fieldguides.bandcamp.com