SG: How did Weird Blood come about?
JJ: Basically, I had gone in to write a couple of songs. I needed two songs for a record. I rented one of those tiny, weird houses. I wrote a lot of songs in a couple of days. And we decided to make it into a whole new record.
SG: The habit of inspiration in today’s everyday life, how do we find it?
JJ: As an artist or human being? That sounds so naturally self centered and selfish almost, which is probably good for the occupation that I have. But as a father and a band leader, I think I just need to find out where my vulnerability is and to stick it out as far as I can.
SG: Who are your top 2 favorite artists?
JJ: Nick Cave and I’ve been listening to a lot this week. For some reason, I keep thinking of Christmas songs. I keep listening to Bjork and Massive Attack.
SG: If you could raise your family in a different place/country that you’ve toured? Which one would it be and why?
JJ: Berlin. And there’s a million reasons for that. I think it’s a super cutting edge city. But if I was going to take a year’s worth, I would go to South Africa because of its natural beauty. It’s like going to Australia. It’s gorgeous.
SG: The Good Samaritan through your modern lens:
JJ: My aunt Virginia, the nun. That’s when I started talking to her about politics. She turned out to be an activist nun. She was 92 when she died. It’s that combination of devotion to God and serving God constantly, and doing it quietly. it’s about as powerful as anything I wanted to do in my life which included billionaire philanthropists and rock stars. She lived a selfless life. I am going with my Aunt Virginia.
SG: Lastly, what’s your favorite line of lyric?
JJ: “Everything little thing she does is magic,” by The Police. It’s so simple, but so difficult to grasp. It’s like looking at a piece of abstract art and thinking “my five year old can do that,” but then someone turns around and says, “but you can’t.” For me, that’s the most elusive thing in songwriting: to do something that simple, but it resonates for everybody.
by Sam Gabel
photo by Michael Schoenfeld
WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO:
eird Blood was released by Cavity Search Records on November 17, 2017. It’s an intrinsic harmony of psychedelic finesse and the paranormal mundaneness of it all. From its teasing opener “Sweet Baba Jay,” the album opens up our ears and guards it well with the chords of Jerry Joseph’s war-torn triumph of hands and voice. It’s power, it’s original, it’s restraint. He holds our attention and gives us a very personal, no barred step-by-step tour into his soul with tracks like “Weird Blood” and “Think on These Things,” delivering us into our haunting, modern lullaby. The whole album sums up as a musical cross of orthodox anticipation and the lyrical meanwhile we live in.
“I rented a tiny house about a mile from my home so I could write but be home for dinner and kid bedtime. I ended up writing a fistful of songs. It was cold early January but a perfect place to write. Weird stuff was happening in general, one of those weeks where I had my copy of Black Star and David Bowie died,” Joseph recalls. “I tend to do the mad scribble thing when I write.”
When after a week of writing, Joseph arrived at Jackpot Studios, Schools was adamant they record all the new songs. They also recorded a couple written in Scotland, “Sweet Baba Jay” and “Late Heavy Bombardment” and a few that they’ve been performing, but had never recorded. “The past few years we’ve been trying to figure out album slots for some of the hundred originals that are part of our live repertoire but have never been recorded, like ‘Wild Wild West’ which has been around since the late 90s,” remarks Joseph. The “tiny house” songs became the core of Weird Blood.