Bobby Conn announces new album

King for a DayNew album King For A Day
February 26th 2007 – Thrill Jockey Records

Self-delusion is the American dream. Bobby Conn has already given us songs for The Homeland and The Golden Age; King for a Day is his ode to self- delusion. It is the definitive Bobby Conn album. And it’s all based on true stories.

A Q&A with Bobby Conn:

What’s the new record about?
It’s about my desperate attempt to lose myself in a candy-colored fantasyland of freaks and fairies. It’s an urge that I think lots of us share, especially these days as the real world is getting increasingly grim. This record is kind of my “Don Quixote.” I conceived the whole record as a soundtrack for grainy, blurry movie along the lines of Kenneth Anger or Jodorovsky (or perhaps a bad VHS tape dub of these films). The album starts with an 8-minute epic with strings, a choir singing in Latin, a blinding, atonal guitar solo and birds singing before the dawn. There are psychedelic interludes and instrumental passages between more conventional “pop” songs, and the album ends with a triumphant/tragic piano ballad. I see the poppier songs as movie musical numbers, and the others as incidental music for ritual and montage, and soon the record will be the soundtrack to it’s own movie.

What’s all this about a movie?
I am producing a full-length song-by-song video to accompany the record. The look of the video is inspired by 70’s era soap operas; we are using a very old tube video camera and shooting everything on very simple theatrical sets. It’s directed by Usama Alshaibi, an Iraqi-American filmmaker who has just completed Nice Bombs, a documentary about his return to Iraq in 2004 during the U.S. occupation and the beginnings of the civil war there. But most of his work isn’t so topical or political; he is more of an experimental filmmaker who focuses on sexuality. He made the video for “Angels” from The Golden Age, and even with some editing and blocking, it was still too raw and spicy for most broadcasts. We are making multiple versions of each song. Three videos will be included as a bonus feature on the King for a Day CD, and others will be made available in serial fashion on a monthly basis on the internet (YouTube, MySpace, www.bobbyconn.com, etc.).

Are the stories all taken from your personal experience?
No, not all of them. I’m also interested in how the desire for fantasy and drama plays out in the media and our culture at large. The song “Anybody” is written from the perspective of a well-known celebrity who follows a bizarre, science fiction based religion and is celebrating the pregnancy of his partner publicly in tandem with the promotion of a multi-million dollar movie. As Monica BouBou and I were expecting our second child at the same time, I felt some kinship with this particular story and wrote a song about how weird it is when the most personal aspects of your life are amplified by the media, and what kind of personality problems it leads to. I pushed it to a tasteless extreme, naturally. The title track (“King For A Day”) deals with some events from our last tour of the UK. We played a show in Manchester that ended with several of the band getting shrimped (toe-sucking) by members of the audience. It wasn’t particularly sexy or glamorous in that we were in a filthy, foul smelling basement at the time, but it was a very special moment of connection between strangers; all of us looking to escape somehow. And the fact that we got on a plane back to the USA and our ordinary lives the next day just seemed ridiculous. But there’s a real satisfaction in being able to lead a double life; it’s actually a relief not having to choose between one and the other. So I wrote a nice little bossa nova number to tell the story and my thoughts on the subject.

Is “shrimping” part of the American dream, then?
Probably not for everyone, but having your cake and eating it too certainly is..

Do you think of yourself as a celebrity?
I’m more of a celebrity impersonator. I enjoy acting out all the personal dramas; the cults, the paranoia, the addiction and recovery stories, the public confessions, the sexual dysfunctions, etc. I’m fascinated at how our culture both despises and rewards creatures like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. I respect their courage, actually, if not their talent.

What about the recording? How did the sessions go?
We will tour the east coast at the end of February, Europe in March and on the west coast in April. I don’t think I will be bringing all 9 musicians, but we are going to try and incorporate video projections and performances from the production as we travel and make each show a special event.

Musicians
Bobby Conn – vocals, guitar
Monica BouBou – violin, vocals
Colby Starck – drums
Sledd – guitar
Jim “Dallas” Cooper – bass
Jonny Steinmeier – keyboards
Karl Doerfer – guitar
Josh Johanpeter – drums
Alek Perkolup – fretless bass
John Ridenour – guitar
Michael Zerang – percussion
Nick Macri – acoustic bass
Josh Berman – cornet
John McEntire – synthesizer

Tracks
1. Vanitas
2. When the Money’s Gone
3. King For A Day
4. A Glimpse of Paradise
5. Love Let Me Down
6. Sinking Ship
7. Twenty-One
8. Punch the Sky!
9. Anybody
10. (I’m Through With) My Ego
11. Mr. Lucky
12. Things

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