Monday, October 01, 2012


A year and a half ago my brother finally died not from the cancer that he fought for five years, but from a massive heart attack caused by all the drugs he was taking to cure the cancer. The day of his death I had a show to do with my band Bric-a-Brac. I had been trying to come up with a new project that I could do myself, that would involve singing, and that I could just throw myself into for a few months as something to take my mind off things.

 The show we were going to play at was in the DePaul University Library and was an art installation where my friend Brian's rumpus room was recreated and all the bands who had recorded in it were invited to play. Brian had created a home studio in the real rumpus room and Steve Albini talked about sound insulation and PVC pipe to the delight of all the recording nerds. It was a fun night and afterwards I told Brian that I wanted to record a vanity project album using backing tracks I had collected on albums and tapes throughout the years. Just something to give to friends.  Brian said, do it in the Rumpus Room!  I was thrilled.

Every week for over a year I would go over to Brian's, who lives only about three blocks from me, and I would drink Scotch and sing over these old Music Minus One album tracks that I have or some Karoeke backing track... When it was done I had my vanity project completed and I called it Empty Orchestra (the Japanese translation of Karoeke). I offer it here for you to download and share if you like.

Oh, I took the album cover photo myself. I was coming home one night at 2 in the morning after seeing a band. These two poor souls were having a horrible time keeping the evenings festivities down... I thought it was a perfect image for this album of melancholy songs.
This was a moment from my Empty Orchestra record release party singing one of the songs with Jane Baxter Miller.


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