THE BOTTOM HALF OF UMPHREY'S McGEE

 
We're so far into our next studio record now it's pretty funny... Right now we have 18 songs that no one has heard. We're trying to revamp our sound a little bit, trying to create what's going to make us happy to play over the next five years. We're starting to take that demeanor to our songwriting.

-Jake Cinninger

 
Photo by Sam Friedman

Speaking of The Disco Biscuits, you're doing the Transgression Festival with them. That's a big announcement and exciting news for fans.


Disco Biscuits & Umphrey's McGee by Vann
I really love working with those guys. Whenever we're in the same vicinity together we have a great time. And, it's not always just about the music. It's about hanging out and catching up and just talking about every day things, you know? We're stuck on the road just like they are so it's nice when we come together and tell each other stories about what we do. We all live inside this box on the road so it's nice to brush up against your buddies in other bands.

How does it feel to have a Parental Warning sticker slapped on the record?

It's pretty wild. I think there was just one small f-bomb somewhere in the record but I couldn't even tell you where. It's funny how that sticker ends up on anything.

Is there a ratings board? Do you have to submit it somewhere?


Jake Cinninger by Chris Monson
I think they might have fine-tooth combed that record to find this because I don't really know of any f-bombs or anything. I think there was one when I'm talking to Huey Lewis in the studio about his track, "The Heart Of Rock & Roll," and the fact that he was on Broadway at the time. I go, "You're going to get back to your band and they're gonna go, what the fuck happened to you? You're gonna sound like a Broadway actor." And he says, "Heart of Rock and Roll, Heart of Rock and Roll, you know?" I think that's where it might have gotten the sticker.

I'm glad that you left that in for your artistic integrity.

This is 2007, ya know? Kids watch movies. It wasn't like it was an intentional f-bomb.

Now, is this a fan's only album? Or is stuff like "Bright Lights" for the whole country?

I think there's a little bit of everything on there. The second disc is for the people that really know what we're all about and how we write our music. [They] can sort of dive in to hearing us conceive these things. You can hear the process happen, where things really aren't finished and there's sort of like a blueprint there. We wanted to let the fans in on that a little bit. It's not like I'm going to go into my vault and release everything that I have half done. That's not the way that we do things. But, it felt like we had enough stuff here - and we even have more, probably [enough for] three discs of the whole thing. I was sort of confused on how to track that second disc but Kevin Browning, our sound engineering sound corrector, took it upon himself to piece it together and make it so you can listen to it straight through. It's just this different idea of putting out an audio disc. I feel like we're onto something new here. It's like putting out the box-set goodies ten years before the box set happens.

You guys are doing stuff early. Didn't you name your first record Greatest Hits Volume 3?


Jake Cinninger by Trevor Pour
[Laughs]. It's about not taking yourself too seriously or hoarding the stuff. It's nice to let the fans hear the infant state of these songs, to let it out in the moment. Not many bands do that. We feel like, "let's do something a little different." We're all about that.

What does your record label think about that kind of attitude?

The beauty is we're with a record label that allows us to have free rein with our art. I don't think I'd know how to react if it wasn't that way. It's not like record companies are really ruling the world right now in the music field. A lot of independent people are making a living being independent artists. It's cool that our record label is a bunch of music fans, and they're also our friends. They're with us every step of the way with whatever we want to try. I think between all of us, we're very democratic. If something's not really working out it just won't end up on the disc. As far as that goes, we're really liberal with everyone's ideas. It's a very democratic environment.


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