Big Walnuts Yonder, A New Supergroup With Members of Minutemen, Wilco, Deerhoof And Tera Melos, To Release An Album
When you put members of the Minutemen, Wilco, Deerhoof and Tera Melos together, the result can be surprising and totally unruly. This is what you get with this new track ‘Raise the Drawbridges?’ by Big Walnuts Yonder, a supergroup with Mike Watt (Minutemen, The Stooges), Nels Cline (Wilco, Nels Cline Singers), Greg Saunier (Deerhoof) and Nick Reinhart (Tera Melos). It may not be your cup of tea, and it certainly won’t climb up the charts, but you have to admit this is an interesting combination of artists and some badass piece of sonic freedom.
The track is an experimental, almost goofy, cacophony of punk and jazz bumping into each other, letting short melodies escape and fucking up with genres, while Mike Watt (who wrote the lyrics) is the voice of a police officer getting a big tough and violent. They obviously wanted to have fun, went to territories where some of them have never been – as this track almost sounds like an improvisation – while dealing with a very serious subject, police brutality.
According to Mike Watt who talked to Consequence of Sound, the band is ‘worlds colliding’, while Greg Saunier describes the music as a ‘concentrated sort of freakout.’ And if the idea is old, it took them a long time to make this happen.
‘We had planned it for so long,’ recalls Saunier. ‘Then several years passed in which nothing occurred due to everyone’s schedules. It was 2-3 years of warm, leisurely prep time, then suddenly made in a panic with time and money on the line.’
They finally recorded a 10-song album in just three days over the summer of 2014 with former Pere Ubu bassist Tony Maimone.
‘I’m pretty sure the other guys didn’t have parts set before going into the studio,’ says Reinhart while explaining to Consequence of Sound the genesis of the album. ‘But it’s interesting how a lot of the songs began as Mike Watt basslines, and everyone was able to pull songs and melodies out of them.’ I have seen Mike Watt in action a few times, and it can truly be surprising and astonishing in the bass wizard department.
‘We basically had to invent a new band on the spot. And, people might have a stereotype of what each person does, but we all showed up to do what we’re prevented from doing in other groups,’ said Saunier.
In case you were wondering, the moniker is from a poem from rock writer and historian Richard Meltzer
Big Walnuts Yonder will release their LP on May 5th via Sargent House, and of course, Raymond Pettibon made the cover art.