Saturday, March 31, 2012
Well... the time has come. We're finally getting ready to go into the studio to record our first ever full-length album. We're not kidding around either.
I know you're probably thinking, "Man, these guys can't be recording a new album. That's way too awesome for me to believe. Oh hey, did I forget to close the refrigerator door all the way when I was making that bologna and cheese sandwich at lunch today. Son of a... I did! Ugh, well now I'm gonna have to stop reading this blog and go home to close it. Everything in it is probably ruined... I bet I can still drink that bag of white wine though. Hmm. I guess I've never thought about it, but if you had to buy everything in your fridge all at once, it would probably be super-expensive. Man, this sucks."
But it's true. We are. We've written some new material, compiled a couple of our most popular songs from our old material, and locked in a final list of songs. We're planning on 11 or so, but if we arrive at the studio and they tell us we have to pay by the song, we'll probably just do one really long rambling song with various "movements" and "key changes."
We can only hope that the new album will do half as well as our last release - the low-budget, 4-song EP, What's Goin' On With Grandpa. That release sold over 12 copies (almost 3 to non-family members) and skyrocketed to the low-middle of the Posse's inner-band music charts. At least that's what Brian told us, as he keeps track of all the band's "charts." Perhaps the EP's most notable accolade was its prestigious placement in the jukebox (right in between Bob Dylan and Neil Young) at The Happy Cow bar in San Marcos, Texas. We're hoping to dethrone Neil Young from his place atop the page with this album.
In case you're curious what the subject matter of these new songs is... here's a little info. As usual, at least two are about spousal abuse. Two are about gun violence (one taking the "negative" stance and the other taking the "affirmative" stance). Two are about visual impairments. One is about the elderly and insensitivity toward aging (taking the "affirmative" stance). One is about indecision, one is about hipsters, two are about highways, one is an instrumental, one is about knives and one is about alligators (the last two are the same song).
Once the album is released, we'll obviously need to hit the road and promote it. You can check out upcoming Posse shows on our Calendar page. The album isn't done yet, but we're playing all the new stuff at our gigs.
In order to make proper album promotion a reality, we acquired a very used, very large, very green passenger van. By "acquired," I mean that it descended from the clouds and lit upon my driveway on a Sunday morning - as per the photo to the left.
To give you an idea as to its size, it "comfortably" fits our upright bass, drum kit, 5 amps, PA system, 2 guitars, banjo, mandolin and fiddle. Also 5-9 people and up to 3 dogs depending on the gig.
Of course, we are all cautiously optimistic/delusional about the success of the new record. We believe there will probably be some degree of mass pandemonium once it "drops," as we say in the music "biz."
To illustrate one scenario we believe to be likely, we've presented an artist's rendering of what might happen to Wolfgang Puck after he purchases his first copy. As you can see in the picture, Wolfgang will be forced to choose between his trademark brand of coffee and turning on the Possum Posse's new album to wake himself up in the morning. Obviously, doing both would result in a manic episode and possible musically-induced mania. Bottom line, though... we're willing to deal with all of these issues. We'll start with actually completing the album first though.
Wish us luck. We've got big shoes to fill... ours.
Friday, January 6, 2012
This week, I got a mysterious letter in the mail. Yes, I check the mail. As a matter of fact, I check the mail very regularly, because I have an elderly neighbor who will retrieve any package left outside my front door for more than 15 minutes and take it into his living room for "safe keeping." These little "favors" are not actually favors at all. He just wants me to have to come talk to him, and then thank him for his service. No problem, if he wasn't super-crotchety and unpleasant.
I've never actually gotten anything of significant value in the mail without some sort of signature requirement. I think it's because anybody who sends a package that can be left in plain view from the street is essentially saying "Go ahead, steal this package. You won't be all that impressed by what's inside." In my neighbor's defense, stealing other people's mail and then holding it as ransom is a great way to meet people, and it has been a fruitful strategy for the development of his currently vital social life. Also a felony.
Oh, and speaking of mail... we recently got a shipment of Guy On A Buffalo bumper stickers that are the perfect size for mailing. That means that you can order one on our website and we'll be able to get it in the mail to you stat!!
Anyway, I got a bizarre letter in the mail this week. At first glance, it appeared to be some sort of fan mail. And I thought.. "well that's cool. somebody took the time to write and say how much they dig our music." When I think, it's always a more casual lower-case style, by the way.
But then, I got into the meat of the letter. It was abusive, insulting, abrasive, and confrontational. All normal things included in most of the letters we get. But it also contained way too much personal information that may or may not have crossed a line. In any case, I believe the writer (who is still unknown) somehow meant for it to be a positive thing so I'm publishing it here for your inspection and enjoyment. If you have any information on the write, please let me know.
PLEASE NOTE: This was not written by me or any member of The Possum Posse. It is an actual letter we received this week from some random person.
I don't know Anonymous, and I don't' recall meeting him (or her) in Ft. Worth, but he (or she) seems to be an avid blog reader and music listener, so I can't say we can afford to lose his (or her) support. And if we want to get real for a moment, it's totally a dude who wrote that, so I'm going to stop with the "and her" business. I will agree with him that he does have about as much wisdom as a two year old.
Dear Possum Posse Blog Writer,
I don’t know if you have the guts to publish this (I started to use the word “nerve,” but figured “guts” sounded more macho), but I’m sending this letter anyway, in the hopes you’ll include it in your blog some day. You recently published something a dang two-year-old wrote (which, incidentally, was considerably more profound than any of your other blog entries . . .), so I thought, Why the heck not? I have as much wisdom as a freakin’ two-year-old.
Anyway, my sweetie and I had an opportunity to hear the Posse at a gig in Ft. Worth recently. It was powerful, to say the least. Now, I’m not saying your music will cure cancer or prevent malaria or anything like that, but I do think it has a certain palliative effect (I looked up the spelling and the meaning of the word “palliative,” so if your hoity-toity editors want to check it out, be my guest – they’ll find it is spelled AND used correctly). Specifically, after the Posse’s performance, my arthritis wasn’t as painful and my sinuses seemed to clear up. Plus, the next morning, I had a world-class “constitutional” that was surely inspired by the band’s performance. That alone was worth the cover charge.
Anyway, I figure you could use a compliment now that all the hoopla from the Guy on a Buffalo mania wore off. I know what it’s like being high on the mountain one day, and lower than a snake’s belly the next – not that I’m equating you with a snake or anything; it’s just a metaphor.
Your music’s good. Dang good. Arthritis-curing and sinus-clearing good. Keep writing those stupid-but-incredibly-meaningful songs.
And, come to think of it, if I actually contracted cancer, I might listen to your music to see if it did any good. Couldn’t hurt. Plus, there’s that great “constitutional” I’d look forward to every morning.
A Loyal Possum Posse Supporter,
In any case, we'll be playing back up in the Dallas area at The Granada Theater, to be exact, on February 3rd. Best of all, we'll be opening for Sons of Fathers and Dallas' favorite band, Eleven Hundred Springs!! That's a big show for us! We'll also be debuting our new drum head featuring the Possum Posse logo! There's also an unsubstantiated rumor going around that we'll be playing "Guy On A Buffalo" in front of a screen with the video rolling. It should be a good show... and it's worth the money, even if you just show up after us and listen to the real bands.
We're also proud to announce that our kickstarter project was fully funded, so we'll be in the studio all this month cranking out the magic. We hope to have our first ever full-length studio album completed and released by the end of the spring. If you've got song suggestions, or ideas for the album, feel free to email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Recently, we were invited to play a charity event at one of our favorite music venues, Jovita's Mexican Restaurant in Austin. The event, Hoodstock III, was organized to benefit US Army Soldiers and Veterans. We agreed to play the gig because we like America, Soldiers, Veterans, and "giving back." Also, we enjoy Mexican food.
But secretly we were most excited about opening for the Austin Lounge Lizards, a legendary sardonic bluegrass institution. So of course, their music draws us in like moths to a flame that we see with our ears. You can find some of it here.
We arrived at Jovita's early and introduced ourselves to everybody. The "A.L.L.," as I will call them, were very nice guys. They were humble and friendly. Of course, they were not nearly as humble as we are, but that's sort of our thing. Nobody's better at it than us. And I'd say we are probably equally friendly, though one of our band members (who shall remain nameless but hint: his picture is located next to this paragraph) does demand 9 full minutes of silence before every show, lest he fly into a fit of unmitigated rage.
As a side-note, the band that played before us was Barbara K, formerly of Timbuk3. You might remember Timbuk3 as the band that sang "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades." You can find a link to the awesomely unsettling music video here. As a side-note to that, during their live performances, they used a large boombox instead of a drummer. And according to the music video, they apparently used a pack-mule to carry their equipment...? Ah, 80's technology.
Anyway, Jomo had recently composed an alternative soundtrack to an also alternatively self-edited video version of the 1978 film, Buffalo Rider. He found the film in the public domain and spliced out all the boring parts and then re-narrated. He named the retold story "Guy On A Buffalo," and all 4 episodes can be found here.
The band had been brought up to speed on the chord progression of the soundtrack, which is really just one song, but they hadn't had time to practice it. While this has never stopped us from playing a song before, it has stopped us from playing a song well.
Just before the show started, a man carrying what appeared to be a 2-year-old on his hip approached the stage. "Are you guys gonna play Guy On A Buffalo?" he asked. We tried to weasel our way out, but he added, "he really wants to hear it" as he glanced toward his son's imploring eyes. Jomo asked the child what he would like to hear about (which episode), and he indicated that he would prefer bears and Indians. We told him we would see what we could do.
Our set lasted only about 45 minutes, which is normally not ideal, but in this situation, it was perfect. We were able to play only our best songs and keep the energy high. Short sets are not always great, but occasionally we'll play a 4 or 5 hour set where we are relegated to breaking out the "deep tracks," and that's worse, at least for the audience. For us, "deep tracks" are usually those songs that are so obscure that we usually only play them once during a singular practice session, and then all agree never to make mention of their existence again.
As we finished a song toward the end of the set, the organizer sent us the "1 More Song" signal. We had totally forgotten about the guy with the imposible-to-deny kid. Then suddenly, a table of people toward the back of the room began shouting "Guy On A Buffalo!" and "Play Guy On A Buffalo!!!" and "YOU BETTER PLAY GUY ON A BUFFALO OR WE'LL BEAT YOU UP!!!!" He and his sad-faced son had a posse of their own.
We apologized to the overwhelmingly-retirement-aged crowd in advance, explaining that we had created a video on something called "YouTube" and that people around the internet had seen it. And that some of those people were here. We then explained that the internet was basically a system of wires. Then, we had to show this one lady how to attach a photo to an email to send to her granddaughter. Ok, that last part didn't happen, but the rest is gospel.
We "played" Guy On A Buffalo... Jomo forgot some of the words, certain notes were missed, and a few people probably left the restaurant. The crowd seemed confused and somehow pleased at the same time. The table of ringer-kidded-houligans loved it. Afterwards, we were packing up our stuff and somebody asked, "Why did you apologize for playing Guy On A Buffalo?"It turns out, he and his friends had seen the video on YouTube earlier that day and had come to the restaurant not knowing that it was created by The Possum Posse. At that moment, we realized that The Posse had gone international. Or at a minimum, intertownal.
We stayed and watched the A.L.L., who were amazing as always. We also got to hang out with them just a little afterwards, and were even told that they liked certain elements of some of our music!! We couldn't have asked for a better gig.
Well, I have to be going (me, the author), because in blogging, as in phone conversations, there is a time limit. If you happen to be in Austin this weekend (October 22nd), we'll be playing at Patsy's Cowgirl Cafe, the manliest live music venue in town! The show is from 6:30-8:30, so don't worry, we won't have to break out the "deep tracks." Hope to see you there!
Monday, August 15, 2011
That seems pretty good for most bands, but the members of The Possum Posse recently took a vote and decided we wanted to go ahead and be super-popular and/or famous. We also unanimously voted against all the time and effort, struggling and paying of dues. We decided that, much like The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, or Antoine Dodson on WAFF-48/YouTube, we needed to schedule a singular event that would catapult us into super-stardom. A "Big Break," if you will.
We decided to schedule a "Big Break" at the Saxon Pub in Austin. The Saxon Pub hosts such acts as Willie Nelson, Pat Green, Bonnie Raitt, and apparently, The Possum Posse. True, we'll be playing from 3:00-4:30 in the afternoon, but I suppose that's better than 2 a.m. on a Monday night. To top it off, we'll even be recording a live CD and DVD at the Pub to commemorate the event (probably to look back on later and longingly remember the days before the Paparazzi and the screaming fans and the multi-million-dollar private tour-buss/tour-hovercraft).
So, as a tribute to our upcoming "Big Break," we've compiled a few photos of The Possum Posse we've taken along the way. It's a way of saving time and energy later when Ken Burns wants to make a documentary about us and we have to try to do it while on a moving tour-bus/tour-hovercraft amidst screaming fans and the Paparazzi.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Today's blog entry is written by none other than Nolan, a recently-turned two-year-old. In June, the Posse was hired for Nolan's birthday party and was so impressed by his maturity, candor, wit and sagaciousness, that we asked him to guest-author our next blog post. The following is his account of the party, and The Posse's performance. Thanks to Mike Wolfe for the Photos and to Marjorie Matthew for the video.
Hello. I'm Nolan. Upon hearing the news from my Mother that I would be turning two in a matter of days, my immediate reaction was one of anxiety and disbelief. I must admit that I'm a bit under-informed when it comes to human life expectancy, but the idea of doubling one's age in a matter of days is a heavy concept. I consoled myself by recounting the words of the French actor, Maurice Chevalier; "A comfortable old age is the reward of a well-spent youth." Perhaps I do deserve a bit of bacchanalia for all the genteel and benevolent behavior I've displayed since turning 1, but in any case, I couldn't help but feel that it was all a bit grandiloquent. I resolved myself to live in the moment and accept some deserved kudos.
In any case, I conceded that a modest, tasteful event would be a great way for my friends and family to enjoy each others' company and blow off some steam, assuming the appropriate guests were invited and that my favorite band, The Possum Posse, could perform.
I've been a huge fan of The Possum Posse for most of my life. At the age of 1 and a quarter, I attended my first Posse show. While some have argued that The Posse's original music is a bit droll, sophomoric and perhaps even boorish, I found it to be intelligent and profound, with subversive allegorical motifs. I became an instant fan when I heard their recent E.P. "What's Goin' On With Grandpa?" and read this post regarding the band's Miley Cyrus cover. Also, The Posse is dirt cheap and almost always available.
The arrangements were made and the party was scheduled at Buster's BBQ in Lakeway. I arrived via car-seat at approximately 5:00pm. My older brother, Weston, had filled me in on basic birthday party etiquette on the way over.
But nothing could have prepared me for what I saw when we arrived at Buster's. This was no ordinary party. It was a TOY STORY THEMED PARTY!!! I can still recall those first few moments of jubilation. The birthday cake decorated with Buzz and Woody, the cowboy hats and bandannas handed out as favors, and the custom invitation featuring what I now understand to be a photoshopped image of Woody and myself together! Ah, the elation!
The band began playing soon afterwards. Of course, the music was top shelf, as always. Always a huge proponent of keen observation, I quickly determined that there were four major denominations within the listening audience:
1) The Confused, but Pleasantly Surprised. These folks came out to the birthday party thinking they might hear some nice soothing tunes and eat a little cake. Upon hearing The Possum Posse's original tune about a wife's infidelity with "the Pepsi Man," set in a West Texas convenience store, this group of people spit out their collective mouthful of cake and thought, "what sort of parent booked this band at a two-year-old's birthday party?" But then, after listening for a while, they realized that the songs exhibited certain high-minded undertones, and actually served as a sort of moral compass. This group of people left the party feeling refreshed. They felt invigorated by the notion that great music is still being made in America, for Americans. And in all honesty, most of them also woke up the next day and revisited the thought "what sort of parent booked that band at a two-year-old's birthday party?"
2) The Unimpressed. These folks showed up to the party with other things on their mind. Obviously, any person with time to kill and an opportunity to hear The Possum Posse would not be able to resist the appeal of the transcendental tones of the greatest band in the universe, possibly ever. But some who attended the party were preoccupied. Sure, some people may say "but Nolan, don't you think it's possible that some folks just don't like the Posse's music?" The answer is no.
Some of the offending distractions included books, iPods, friendly conversation, food and beverage, video games, toys, cloud shapes, leashed dogs, and passing cars. I must admit, even my attention was momentarily stolen by a boisterous squirrel in the large oak tree above the dance floor (as you can see by following my gaze in the picture below).
In any case, this demographic represents a minute birthday party counter-culture that was in no way representative of the overall mood of the party and/or band performance.
3) The Rednecks. This party market segment was the band's "bread and butter." While generally considered to be musically obtuse, these Coors Connoisseurs, which incidentally included my Father (far left), seemed to pick up on the most subtle of social commentary in The Posse's lyrics. In fact, heated debates broke out after several of the band's politically and emotionally charged numbers. Lincoln and Douglass would have been proud. Lincoln and Douglass are two of my stuffed animals, and they tend to enjoy a good debate, but unfortunately, they were unable to attend the shindig.
4) The Kids. Perhaps the most enthusiastic portion of the audience was the children (of which I was, and still am, a member). Most of my friends, including my older brother, Weston, found the music to be infectious. Had there not been a dance floor, I suspect we would have, with no less vigor, shuffled and boot-scooted on top of our chairs!
Yes, it was one of the most memorable birthday parties I've had yet, and has no doubt set the bar high for future affairs.
And perhaps growing older isn't such a worrisome thing after all. At least I don't feel any older. I'm beginning to think this whole "age" thing is a bit overblown. It's probably best captured by English author, Aldous Huxley; "The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm."
But also, birthday parties are awesome! Here's a video of the dance floor...