10 Things We Learned From My Morning Jacket Ask Me Anything

Yesterday My Morning Jacket participated in a Reddit Ask Me Anything session in which the band responded to questions posed on the popular web forum. Frontman Jim James, guitarist Tom Blankenship, drummer Patrick Hallahan, bassist Bo Koster and guitarist Carl Broemel took turns answering questions about the band’s upcoming new album, The Waterfall, which comes out on ATO Records on May 4, as well as other topics including their touring practice, live shows and much more. We’ve put together a list of 10 things we learned from MMJ’s AMA. 

1. The band was asked about the recent leak of their upcoming album, The Waterfall, and Jim James’ response toed the line between being pro-or anti-leaks.

James’ lengthy response included a dissection of the ramifications streaming services have on artists’ careers, without ever fully landing on either side of the sticky issue. He summed his feeling up by writing, “ … it makes me happy that people with no money can now stream everything for free. that is pretty sweet because music is for everyone and music should be free and easy blowin in the breeze BUT BUT BUT it does cost a lot of money to make music and musicians are hard working people just like a plumber or an electrician you can download and steal(yet) the pipes you need for your toilet so you shouldnt steal from hard working musicians either who are also just trying to put food on the table and keep the lights on.” [sic]

2. Just before making available live recordings of their 2015 One Big Holiday run, they mentioned a second live Okonokos album might be in the works.

A question about the band’s live evolution garnered a response that revealed MMJ “want to put out pt2.”

3. More discussion about the band’s diversity in the live setting prompted responses about MMJ’s tendency to improvise on stage. 

Hallahan explained some songs like “Dondante” have space built in for improvisational exploration, while other moments happen spontaneously spurred by someone in the band playing something out of the ordinary. James added that communication among the band members is the key to successful musical exploration. 

4. Sticking with inquiries regarding their live performances some of their favorite venues to play were revealed.

Hallahan mentioned Red Rocks, 40 Watt. Paradiso. and Madison Square Garden among his favorite spots to play. Blankenship seconded the Red Rocks sentiment while adding an affinity for The Gorge in Washington state. 

5. Another question asked about the band’s pre-show routine, for which James detailed a variety of common practices.

James described meditating, stretching and praying to “to the universe and the spirits in the ground and in the air and in the water of where we are playing at that moment in time.” 

6. In response to a two-part question, Hallahan explained the band’s preference for multi-night stands and their approach to setlist writing.

“Multi-night runs have become a great love of ours in the last few years,” Hallahan wrote. “It really gives us a chance to expand…a larger platform from which to soar.” He added, “We’re having a great time not repeating any songs on these multi-night runs. Diving deeper and deeper into the catalogue as been amazing, and on a very emotional level.“

7. If you were curious how to describe MMJ’s sound to the uniformed, Koster was helpful in explaining how he describes the band’s style. 

He listed the genres “rock, pop, psychedelic, soul, country funk, jazz, electronic, hip hop” before advising “rock n Roll” is probably best. 

8. Despite its title and lyrical content, “Wonderful” came out of a difficult time in James’ life.

The question posed asked what made James feel “so wonderful” and his response shed light on the fact that he wrote the song in response to being at low point in his life while dealing with sickness and used the song as inspiration to lift him out of the rut he was in.  

9. Two questions about their upcoming tour dates revealed the band is still working on adding additional concerts to their schedule.

Hallahan mentioned they intend to tour hard in support of the new album, hitting cities that have special meaning to the band as well as new towns they’ve not been to yet. Blankenship added that the band will hit up the West Coast “BEFORE the next album comes out” which could still be a while. 

10. Blankenship revealed which album the band had previously pondered covering in its entirety. 

“Many moons ago” the band explored covering the whole first Black Sabbath LP.