|Pictured Above: JGW standing in front of the worlds largest Whiskey barrel.|
You’ve probably noticed that Jonathan Glenn Wood does all kinds of stuff, and it seems like he’s always doing more. When I first heard the name, he was just doing stuff with Sutherland/Wood, and now he’s a member of Old Baby, Jaye Jayle, and Sexy Minotaur, his newest project w/Catherine Irwin and folks. Somehow Wood managed to squeeze solo work into all that, and recorded the “Ballad of Jon.” He’s playing a free record release show at Decca tonight with Grayson Hall, where you can also, you know, buy up that new record. The show tonight is also the release of Cavalcade Literary Magazine issue 4, and as such there will be readings by Joey Keegin, Brian Manley, and Wood himself. Wood sat down with us again to talk a little more about juggling his musical career and the power of monster trucks.
Never Nervous: What’s the story with the “Ballad of Jon?” How did that come to be?
Jonathan Glenn Wood: I actually started working on the album a couple years back. I was playing around town solo quite a bit. Then Old Baby formed and finishing this record took a back seat. Over time, I’ve written, recorded and tweaked with Anthony Fossaluzza, who steered the recording ship. I owe a lot to him. After the last bit of recording this winter, I decided that it was done.
NN: What makes your solo work different than your work with Old Baby? Is the writing different? Do you reserve some things for one project, or another?
JGW: I suppose it comes down to collaboration. When playing alone, you’re able to take liberties with the songs and mold them into whatever is you want to create. With a group, you’ve got to be open to other ideas and know when to give up control. The way I write is pretty much the same. I don’t really think about a specific project. I just write and then let other people hear my songs or ideas. If they latch on to them, I’ll use them.
NN: Speaking of Old Baby, what’s going on there?
JGW: We are a slow moving, but functional beast. We’re planning on spending the end of summer creating a new record and hopefully touring more in the fall. We’re playing Forecastle Festival this summer, which will be great. I can’t wait to see Dwight Yoakum, Anwar Sadat and Outkast.
NN: How do you describe your music (solo, Old Baby, or otherwise) to people that might not be familiar with the kind of stuff you do? I’m looking at you, old people.
JGW: This new record is all traditional folk and country song forms. I think it’s music for the ages. Actually, if you bought a copy of this new record for your grandparents, they would really enjoy it.
NN: Tell us about your other projects.
JGW: I want to grow as a creative being. Collaboration is a very important aspect of my creative process. Therefore, I want to play with anyone, any chance I get. You can learn a lot from others. Lowe Sutherland, Catherine Irwin, Anna Krippenstapel and I have just played our first Sexy Minotaur show. It was a handful of covers and an original CI tune. I also play synthesizer in Jaye Jayle. I love being able to improvise within a song form. Evan Patterson and I have a musical bond like no other. It’s all about influence and listening and sharing. He inspires me. Evan, Neal Argabright and I did a fun synth trio show under the moniker Mind Crimes. I hope to perform more of those shows this year. The most influential friendship and collaborator of my life has certainly been Lowe Sutherland. He introduced me to the idea of improvisation, which I took to pretty strongly. I’ve also got a few more things on the horizon that I’m looking forward to. This year will certainly be fun.
JGW: There would be a rip in the esoteric action sports continuum into which they would blaze a trail of peace. Funny you should ask this! My new novel, which is modeled after Christian end times ideology is all about when Undertaker and Gravedigger come back for members of their fan clubs.
NN: What gets you hyped locally? I’m keeping that broad enough to let your imagination fill in the blanks (music, art, food, bike trails, whatever).
JGW: Food certainly inspires me. I’m lucky enough to work at my favorite restaurant, Decca. I also really love mornings at Wiltshire Bakery.
NN: What have you been reading lately?
JGW: Inner Adventures by Colin P. Sisson
Teachings of Gurdjieff by C.S. Nott
Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening by Mary Lutyens
Brick Dust and Buttermilk by John Jacob Niles
Songs and Sonnets from Laura’s Lifetime by Francis Petrarch
NN: Give us your top five desert island picks.
JGW: This may change from day to day, so I can only answer for this specific moment.
Ernie Graham – s/t
Si Kahn – New Wood
John Abercrombie/Ralph Towner – Sargasso Sea
C.O.B. – Moyshe McStiff and the Tartan Lancers of the Sacred Heart
Johnny Paycheck – The Lovin’ Machine