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Jeffrey Lewis & The Voltage / CAN
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dazmann



Joined: 19 Sep 2012
Posts: 47

PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:21 pm    Post subject: Jeffrey Lewis & The Voltage / CAN Reply with quote

I've seen that the Autumn tour is named Jeffrey Lewis & The Voltage apparently to accompany a new album (great news!). I wonder if this will be a new band line-up too?

I notice that the new name is also keeping with the "Lightning" theme. So no big shock Wink

The line-up JL & Los Bolts feels like one of the longer lasting outfits. When I saw Brent & Mem last month, it did cross my mind if this would be the last "Los Bolts" band tour.

The band were very tight when I saw them. I didn't notice many new tunes...but the inclusion of the Can track "Outside My Door" (from Monster Movie) was a highlight.

I never really knew what the song lyrics were (I assumed they were partly improvised) and so I don't know if Jeff was improvising too. Anyway, it was the first time I've heard a Can track performed live, and it was really great.

Damo Suzuki (Can vocalist) still tours regularly, but I gather he improvises the entire set with backing from local hired musicians. Has anyone seen him live? I'm not convinced I'd enjoy the experience enough to risk it...

Lastly - in preparing this post I came across this cool unreleased demo of "Outside My Door" -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=RD_0B33EP4RPE&v=_0B33EP4RPE
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dazman



Joined: 07 Aug 2012
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's what the ticket website says about the line-up and album :

Current bandmates the Voltage are Brent (Moldy Peaches) Cole on drums and Mem (Cat Tatt) Pahl on bass and keys. Their new full-length album “Bad Wiring” was recorded in Nashville with producer Roger Moutenot (Yo La Tengo), and will be released November 1, 2019, on Moshi Moshi Records in UK/Europe and Don Giovanni Records in the USA!

So it'll be the same line-up as the last Los Bolts tour.

Its interesting that the new album is not on Rough Trade...We'll have to be patient as November seems such a long time away

Curiously, the band T-shirt design from the recent "Los Bolts" tour featured electrical wiring.
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dazman



Joined: 07 Aug 2012
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2019 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It occurred to me that Will Oldham AKA Bonnie Prince Billy, also often changes his band name for different albums eg. Palace Brothers, Palace Music etc. (just like Jeff also does). I think his rationale was to indicate a change of musical style.

In my music collection Jeff's music has the most band name variations : JL & The Rain, & The Jitters, & Los Bolts, & Peter Stampfel, & the JRams etc. etc.
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lauragek



Joined: 26 May 2009
Posts: 121

PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2019 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very exciting, can't wait! So far the tour is staying just outside of my drivable reach sadly...
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jefflewis



Joined: 21 Nov 2005
Posts: 1282

PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RE: "I notice that the new name is also keeping with the "Lightning" theme. So no big shock."
No pun intended? : D

Well, the Los Bolts name was a bit of an accident in the first place... I really wanted to have a proper name for the band that recorded the Manhattan album, which was (mostly) Caitlin on bass and Heather on drums, and I liked "The Bolts" because of the lightning thing again... but then after I sent in all the artwork to Rough Trade, and we played ONE little gig as "Jeffrey Lewis & The Bolts" at Sidewalk in NYC, I got home that night and had a threatening email from a Disney-sponsored band called "The Bolts" saying we could not use that name! I asked my friend, the entertainment lawyer John S Hall (of King Missile), if there was anything I could do to fight this... but he said "in the world of entertainment law there is one rule - you can't fight Disney." So I changed the name to "Los Bolts"... the Disney band were fine with this... and then I had to change all the album art (but not TOO much, just a small change).

But then, ironically, by the time the album came out, Caitlin had already left the band (she got picked up by the band Hooray For the Riff-Raff, who could pay her twice as much as me, didn't need to share driving with her, and could provide her hotels every night instead of sleeping at people's houses!)... Mem was now the new bass player...

And THEN right after the Manhattan album came out, drummer Heather had to leave the band too, she was too busy with her other work to be able to do the album-release tour stuff! So I had to find a drummer immediately... I auditioned other women to try to replace Heather and her great vocals, but nobody could do it. So my old friend Brent, an excellent drummer with tons of touring experience from his years in Moldy Peaches and Dufus, wanted to do it... and so the band that actually went on tour as "Los Bolts" was suddenly Brent and Mem, not the Caitlin/Heather Los Bolts that I had intended!

Now Mem and Brent have been the longest band that I ever had, except for Jack/Dave. We've gotten really good at touring together, playing together, and working on band arrangements together. It's a bit more like the way it was in the older days - usually i suggest a musical part, but, like Jack, Mem sometimes comes up with basslines or keyboard parts that are completely different than anything I could have thought of myself -

Anyway, it seemed to make sense to give the Brent/Mem/Jeffrey (and sometimes Jack) band-era a proper name... We discussed whether we should stick with Los Bolts... or perhaps swap to Los Volts... Mem suggested The Voltage, so after a bit of discussion we figured we'd give it a shot.

I noticed many years ago that every good name name needs a "V" in it! So I'm happy to finally have one!!
(Nirvana, Velvet Underground, Violent Femmes, Modern Lovers, the Vaselines, Quicksilver Messenger Service, etc)
In fact, I have this theory that band names are sort of like playing Scrabble... you get extra cool-name points for using "special" letters that aren't super-common in normal words ("Z" = Led Zeppelin; "X" = The Pixies; etc)
Of course there are many exceptions, good band names that don't use "special" letters.

As for the record label situation... that's part of why this album is taking SO long to come out, it should have been out last year... but when I sent it to Rough Trade they never responded to me... finally I emailed them again, asking about it... and they just said they weren't going to put it out, no explanation.
This is not the first time Rough Trade has said no to me... there were a number of other albums that I sent them over the years that they did not want to put out. I was surprised this time, because I think this new album is great, but it's possible they just have too many other albums, new bands, a packed release schedule and not enough budget or manpower for releasing another small-selling Jeffrey Lewis album at this time. I really don't know if it means they never want to work with me again... 17 years on Rough Trade is certainly a world-record in any case, it's extremely rare that any artist has a relationship for that long with any one record label. Also, my relationship with Rough Trade is not even quite over, because we recently signed a contract (in late 2017) for them to continue to administer my entire back-catalogue for servicing to all streaming services, up till the year 2022. So all of my Rough Trade albums will continue to be on Rough Trade at least until 2022, for all digital use (but I added a thing to the contract where I will control the rights for physical manufacturing... that's why I'm able to make vinyl LP editions of those albums myself, or with another label, if I want to, for example).

In fact, I wonder if this recent digital deal with Rough Trade created a situation in which they suddenly had NO reason to release my new album - let some other label deal with the time and expense of doing my new album release, Rough Trade can just sit back and do nothing but collect 50% of all of the increased streaming-income form all my old albums. So in some ways maybe I got scammed - but I do think Rough Trade deserves to make some income from my material. I wouldn't have had a career without them, they took a chance on me when I was nothing, and they have taken a chance on my over and over again, for 17 years, spending a certain amount of time on me, while making very little money for themselves. They never lost money on me - all of my albums have made a profit - but a few thousand dollars of profit is nothing for a label like that, they have artists that make them millions.

It's still possible they'd want to put out my NEXT album... if I send it to them... who knows.

Meanwhile, I found myself in a situation I had never been in - I didn't have a label! But I had a great new album (that cost me quite a bit of money to record and master). So I had to do the thing I never ever had to do before - make a whole list of labels to send the album to, try to find contacts at all these labels, suggestions from friends' bands on various labels, and spend weeks and months trying to get responses. I was hoping I could get lucky and land on another "big name" label like Rough Trade, something like Drag City or Matador or Domino, but in the final result it seemed the best option available was to go with Moshi Moshi Records for UK/Europe (the label the Wave Pictures are on), and Don Giovanni Records for USA/Canada/Australia. I am hoping this two-label situation means I will get better service on both sides of the Atlantic than ever before. Anyway, it's a good experiment. I'm not signing any multi-album deals, so if it doesn't work I can always try to try something different for next time.

All of this delay means the album, and the songs on it, are kind of "old" already! We've been playing these songs live on stage since 2018, 2017, and some of them go back to 2016. Manhattan was released in Nov 2015... that's a 4-year gap between proper albums. It's kind of crazy (though I did record/release the "Works By Tuli Kupferberg" album and the "13 Fall Songs" album, plus I recorded 2 full-length new albums with Peter Stampfel which haven't been released yet).
Similarly, my last proper comic book release was Fuff #11, which came out in spring 2016 - again, it's over 3 years ago!! I'm still working on Fuff #12 and I'm getting closer to finishing but I still have about 10 pages left to ink (it's a 32 page issue), plus assembling the letters page, etc.
AND my Watchmen book is still not released - I've sent in all the (hopefully) final edits to the book designer, but there's still more preparation work to do before it can come out.

So why has everything become SO slow??? I already have about half of a new album of songs, we're playing some of these songs live already, by the time THAT album gets made/released those songs will seem old too!

The biggest problem is that I'm just doing too much myself. The amount of booking/organizational work is just colossal. It's very easy for me to wake up at 8am, go to bed at 12midnight, and do nothing but emailing all day long, trying to book gigs, trying to update the website, trying to work out deals with the record labels, trying to plan music videos, trying to book the correct flights and ferries and rental cars, trying to find available rehearsal rooms for my band to practice a little before a tour, trying to assemble all the paperwork we need to get work visas, trying to chase the promoters from the previous tour who haven't sent us the gig-money yet, trying to do the packing/shipping from the orders on my website, trying to make tour-posters and mail them out to all the cities, and other tasks like this. And of course, everything needs to be done IMMEDIATELY, always! If I work on comic books for 3 hours the flights I need might get sold out, the venues/dates I need on a tour might get booked up, the tour-posters might arrive too late to be useful, etc etc etc.
It's truly insane - I never planned to have a life like this! I've gotten good at it, but it's really more important for me to be drawing, making comic books, and writing songs, instead of all this organizational work that I need to do to survive.
I'm trying to make some changes. I've been paying bassist Mem one day a week to come over and help me with packing/shipping the website orders and packing/shipping my tour merch.
And, just recently, I've been trying to train Brent and Mem how to do a bit of the booking work. And my old drummer Dave, living in England, has been fantastic about helping with my social media stuff, sending out Facebook messages about tour dates, getting tourdates listed on BandsInTown and SongKick etc. Plus I can pay him to help me with booking sometimes too.
I would LOVE to have a booking agent, a website manager, a distributor, etc. But my business is just too small, really. There is enough money for me, and there's starting to be enough money for Brent and Mem (I make more money than them because of my comic book work, but they do pretty good now with the t-shirts). But there's just not enough money to share very much with anybody else - so I still have to do all this work myself.
Even when I DO try to use a booking agent - they can't even do it! Over and over I have tried to use booking agents and this is what happens:
They tell me they are working to book the tour. They tell me they will have more information for me soon. As the weeks go by I email them to ask how it is going, and whether they might want any help from me. They tell me it's fine, but they still don't have information for me. Then, finally, when the tour is coming up pretty soon, they finally tell me what they have for me: a few shows, and a LOT of empty dates. This is completely unacceptable. We can't afford to go out on tour, buying plane tickets, rental cars, finding places to sleep, and not have gigs every night (or at least almost every night). So what happens next? I have to book all the empty dates myself - but it is much harder, because it's so late, most venues are already booked, and I have to do a LOT more work to find available situations, and the money is much smaller than if I had booked regular gigs 4 or 5 months in advance. This ALWAYS happens. Every time I trust a booking agent. It's crazy. It's always a disaster.

So, I have to do all the work myself, usually... and that means it takes me 4 years to put out an album, and 4 years to put out a comic book. Ugh.

Still there's always the hope... maybe things will change just a little bit... maybe there will be just a BIT more album sales, just a BIT bigger gigs with a FEW more fans, and then there will be a little extra money that could be used to get some extra help, which would give me extra time, and allow me to make more comics and more songs, which is the important part in the first place!!

Okay, back to booking work!
Love you guys - without your interest and support none of this would ever have been possible.
Can't wait for everybody to hear the new album and see the new Fuff issue!
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Dav
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Joined: 30 Oct 2005
Posts: 2848
Location: Rennes, France

PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was interesting. I hope that we'll ba abble to hear the new lp soon. I'm also quite excited about the new fuff issue.
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misshelenc



Joined: 23 Nov 2007
Posts: 741
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2019 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeff you sound burned out mate! You need a holiday! Sorry things have been so tough with you. I will buy your records regardless of the label so you won't miss out on my sale. I can't imagine doing that much emailing. Sending one makes me stress! I hope you have some good coping mechanisms to help you with the endless tension of self employment. It's odd how people go into these careers to be creative, only to find themselves small business owners. x
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Pat



Joined: 24 Jan 2017
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don giovanis pretty cool too think they put out that new Paul Batman album
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keithos



Joined: 22 Oct 2007
Posts: 43

PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's disappointing to get such short shrift from Rough Trade such a long time with them but glad you found a new label for the time being to put your new album out. I'm very much looking forward to it, are you any closer to a release date?
Weirdly, just as I was typing this I just received a Google alert telling me that your new song LPs has just been released. Is that a total coincidence or just Google reacting to my latest Google search?
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jefflewis



Joined: 21 Nov 2005
Posts: 1282

PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the music video for "LPs" did just come out yesterday!
https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyLewisBand/posts/10157592370848707
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Dav
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Joined: 30 Oct 2005
Posts: 2848
Location: Rennes, France

PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2019 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing. The song is really great, love the cd twist. The video is really cool too
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misshelenc



Joined: 23 Nov 2007
Posts: 741
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got that LPs email from band camp, I have had a busy few days but will have a listen and report back!
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jefflewis



Joined: 21 Nov 2005
Posts: 1282

PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys!
In the aftermath of David Berman's death I've been reading a really interesting book called "Suicidal: Why We Kill Ourselves". I highly recommend it, I'm about halfway through (it's not very long). Really a lot of information that is educational, scary, helpful, eye-opening.
Could be a big help to all of us!
Maybe this post should go in a different category...
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misshelenc



Joined: 23 Nov 2007
Posts: 741
Location: Cardiff, Wales, UK

PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds right up my street Jeff! I will have a look where it's available locally. I'm just reading a bit of crime fiction currently. Is anyone here on Goodreads? It's the only social network thing I have, mostly for work reasons, but I'm always interested in getting book recommendations and nosing at what people like to read. A friend of the JL band is a friend of mine after all! x
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jefflewis



Joined: 21 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know Goodreads... but i have so many books in my house that I have not read yet, I need to catch up before i start getting MORE recommendations and stuff! Plus people are sometimes mailing me their books and poems and comix, plenty to catch up on!
But yeah, I really recommend that "Suicidal" book, really interesting and I think it has given me some good perspectives on my own mental tendencies.
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