High Road Season 2 is now online and available to view in its entirety. High Road is a New Zealand web series starring Mark Mitchinson, and directed by Justin Harwood, formerly of Luna. I play a somewhat ridiculous recurring character called Topher Wagner in Season 2. There are some very good actors in this series, and also a lot of great soundtrack music including music by Dean Wareham and some great New Zealand bands. You can watch the trailer for it here, and can view all the episodes at highroadwebseries.com.
Confirmed: Luna is reuniting for a tour of Spain in April 2015, with U.S. dates very likely to be announced in the future. There were a few rumors about this over the last couple of weeks, but now I can confirm it’s official. And I’m pretty darn excited. It’s been almost 10 years since Luna last performed. Dean and Britta and I have performed Luna songs onstage on a few occasions over the years, and Lee has played with Dean and Britta in L.A., but the four of us have not performed onstage together since February 28th, 2005. And it’s fitting that our first shows in 10 years will be in Spain, a country that has always been one of our favorite places to play.
I recently appeared in a short film entitled Loretta, which is now an official selection of this year’s Williamsburg International Film Festival in Brooklyn. It has been chosen to be part of the festival’s opening night lineup, screening this Thursday, September 18th at the Williamsburg Cinemas. The film stars Jeri Silverman, myself, and Dan Courtenay (owner of one my favorite guitar stores in NYC, Chelsea Guitars), and tells the story of a young singer-songwriter who discovers her guitar has been stolen, and embarks on a quest to recover her most prized possession.
In July I flew to New Zealand to play a role in the web series “High Road“. The series is written and directed by Justin Harwood, Luna’s original bass player (and also a cowriter of some our best-loved songs). The first season premiered in 2013, and you can watch those six episodes here. The plot and budget for the show have expanded greatly for the new season. I portray a Christian Rock Radio DJ in the series, which stars Mark Mitchinson and several other well known New Zealand film and television actors. Eight new episodes will be released in mid-November.
The new album by Gramercy Arms, “The Seasons of Love”, was just released in the UK on Reveal Records. I play a lot of lead and rhythm guitar on the album, which features songs written by Dave Derby (Dambuilders, Lloyd Cole and the Negatives) and an impressive list of musical contributors including Lloyd Cole, Joan Wasser (Joan as Policewoman) Kevin March (Guided by Voices), Kay Hanley (Letters to Cleo) and many others. It was given a “5 out of 5″ and “Album of the Week” by The Express. You can learn a bit more and listen to some songs from the record here.
Not Yet Begun To Fight, the documentary for which I co-composed and produced the music, has been nominated for 3 northwest Emmy awards! This is a very moving film that has been widely acclaimed in reviews, including by The Chicago Sun-Times, rogerebert.com, The Village Voice, The Hollywood Reporter, and Indiewire. ”..a lyrical meditation on nature and war reminiscent of The Thin Red Line and Beau Travail.” -Martin Tsai, L.A. Times.
I’m stunned and saddened by the news that Lou Reed has passed away. The words and music of Lou Reed have been a huge influence on me since I was a teenager. And he was also incredibly gracious and helpful to Luna over the years. In 1993 we received a call from his management telling us that Lou wanted Luna to be the opening act for The Velvet Underground’s historic reunion tour of Europe. The tour was an amazing experience, and it also led to Sterling Morrison playing guitar on our “Bewitched” album. A few years later Lou again invited Luna to open for him, this time for a U.S. tour. Sometimes on that tour he would surprise the audience by coming onstage unannounced during our opening set to perform the VU’s “Ride Into the Sun” with us. Those are some of the most memorable moments of my career. A great artist and rock and roller, Lou Reed’s work inspires me to this day.
I’ve been playing/recording a lot of guitar lately for the upcoming Gramercy Arms record, which features a diverse group of guest artists contributing to Dave Derby’s songs, including LLoyd Cole, Matthew Caws, Kay Hanley, Doug Gillard, and Tanya Donnelly. The record was recorded and co-produced by Dave Derby and Ray Ketchem, and is being mixed this month in L.A. by Thom Monahan (Vetiver, Devendra Banhart).
Not Yet Begun To Fight will play at the Quad Cinema on West 13th Street in New York City from October 25th through 31st. The score for this moving documentary feature was composed by myself and Matthew Buzzell. An intimate look at the human cost of war, the film follows a retired Marine Colonel who reaches out to five men, a new generation returning from, and ravaged by, combat. You can learn more about the film here.
“Winter in the Blood” will have its east coast premier at the Woodstock Film Festival on October 4th, and another screening on October 6th. I performed on and produced a Youth and Valor song by Courtney Saunders featured in the film. The movie stars Chaske Spencer, David Morse, and Julia Jones, and has an excellent soundtrack featuring the Heartless Bastards, Cass McCombs, and Robert Plant. You can learn more about this fantastic film and upcoming screenings here.
I’ve been working on several new sound effects and design projects for periscopic.com. One upcoming project is a video and interactive piece being done in collaboration with the Economic Policy Institute. It focuses on growing economic inequality, the financial sector, worker’s rights, and the need for comprehensive economic reform in the U.S. Another has garnered quite a lot of attention over the last two weeks. It’s a striking data visualization of gun violence statistics in the U.S.
I recently performed with Chrysta Bell and her band in
New York, on February 22nd at Le Poisson Rouge and February 23rd at the Standard Hotel. Chrysta’s album “This Train” was produced and co-written by the one and only David Lynch, who has this to say about her: “Chrysta Bell looks like a dream and sings like a dream. And the dream is coming true.”
Twilight of the Idols have been in the studio recording our debut record. T.O.T.I. consists of myself and Doug Gillard (Guided By Voices, Nada Surf, Cobra Verde) on guitars, Dave Derby (The Dambuilders, LLoyd Cole and the Negatives, Gramercy Arms) on bass, and Kevin March (Guided By Voices, Shudder To Think) on drums. This will be an ambitious instrumental record influenced by mid ’70′s groups such as Popol Vuh, Cluster and Harmonium.
“Not Yet Begun To Fight“, for which I co-composed the music, was recently awarded three and a half out of four stars in a February 6th, 2013 Chicago Sun Times review. The documentary film had its New York premiere last October at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center, and also won the audience award at the Florida Film Festival last fall.
Gotta Groove records has released a vinyl version of Luna’s Bewitched. This is the first time Bewitched has been available on vinyl since its original release! The record features the cover art and photography by Michael Lavine and Laurie Henzel which the band had intended for the release, but which was replaced at the last minute when the original CD version was released. It looks and sounds amazing, and you can find it here.
I performed quite a few Luna songs with Dean and Britta on Saturday, July 21st, at a special benefit show in Wantagh, Long Island. It was part of the Shine A Light Music Festival, presented by the Tommy Brull Foundation. The War On Drugs, one of my favorite current bands, also played. Luna’s last two albums, Romantica and Rendezvous, were recently released on special edition 180-gram vinyl. Unfortunately these limited-edtion versions have already sold out! However, there are also digital downloads, including b-sides and remixes of songs from both these albums available at Luna’s bandcamp site, as well as on iTunes.
Yes, indeed, I confirm that I appeared in a Budweiser commercial that aired earlier this year during football and basketball games on network and cable channels. The spot, called “Upside”, depicts a bar scene wherein one grumpy guy (me) complains about various subjects while the other patrons contradict my grumblings by pointing out positive things, eventually causing me to admit that I at least feel pretty positive about “my cute neighbor Sarah”. The ad was directed by Randy Krallman, and produced by Smuggler and the Anomaly Agency.
I recently created the music, sound design and audio effects for two different interactive visualization tools at Yahoo.com. The first showcases their global email technology, and the second demonstrates the optimization and personalization technology for their more than 700 million users. There will be another interactive data visualization for which I’m creating the music and sound coming soon, and that one will feature some interesting ambient music.
I’ve completed writing and recording the score for the feature-length horror film Hypothermia, written and directed by James Felix McKenney, and produced by Glass Eye Pix. The film is set on a frozen lake in Maine where two groups of ice fishers are terrorized by an aquatic monster. The film stars Michael Rooker, (from “The Walking Dead” and “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer”), Blanche Baker, and Don Wood. A brief trailer for the film screened at the Cannes Film Festival last year, and it can be viewed here.
Quadrangle, directed by Amy Grappell, premiered on HBO on February the 16th, 2011. I produced, arranged, and played on the song “Sad Little Happiness”, by Youth and Valor, which appears in the film. It’s an unconventional documentary about two “conventional” couples who swapped partners and lived in a group marriage in the 1970s. Quadrangle won several festival awards in 2010, including Best Documentary Short at the SXSW Film Festival. “Substantial, serious, compelling, deeply moving and formally beautiful. An outstanding piece of portraiture” – Hamza Walker, Renaissance Society Chicago.
My song “Broken Chair” appears in the feature film Paper Man, starring Jeff Daniels, Ryan Reynolds, and Emma Stone. The film played in theaters in the U.S. last summer and is now available on DVD. It’s a coming-of-middle-age comedy that chronicles the unlikely friendship between failed author Richard Dunne and a Long Island teen who teaches him a thing or two about growing up, all under the disapproving eye of his long-suffering wife and his imaginary Superhero friend.