Exclusive: Listen to Travis James' Newest Song and Find Out Why He's Working on a Musical
Travis James: Phoenix's "Meat Loaf of punk"
"I don't want to talk about music, that's so boring," declares Travis James as he sits inside the Neverland House. And the local musician certainly has every right to call the shots, since the curiously named bungalow and DIY performance space in the Garfield Historic District is sort of his domain at the moment.
James is here along with about dozen others to record the gang vocals for his upcoming album Overdressed and Under Arrest, which drops on August 25. And while the guitarist/vocalist isn't up for sharing his views on music with Up On the Sun at this particular time, he's definitely down to share his music with us.
He offered up an exclusive track from the album to Up on the Sun, which you can check out below. Entitled "Broken Kids and Bad Friends," the song brings a somewhat jazzy, ragtime feel to James's folk punk stylings. But as always, the lyrics reaffirm his nihilistic leanings, and generally dark view of the world.
On this day, however, the self-proclaimed "Meat Loaf of punk" was more into sitting around and drinking out of a bottle of cheap rum with friends than being interviewed about the song or his music.
"I just want to hang out," says James as he sits back on an old couch inside the Neverland House, periodically taking shots straight out of the bottle. Even though everyone who's hanging out with James at this particular moment -- including the members of Whiskey Hand Grenade and Moses Fidal of Enemies of Promise, among others -- is here to help record the gang vocals for the album, James is at rest.
While the musician claims that he's "trying to do as little as possible," but for the frontman and namesake of Travis James and the Acrimonious Assembly of Arsonists, doing as little as possible is actually doing quite a lot.
After finishing up with the album, James is hoping to invest more time into a full-length musical he has been working on for a few years, as well as devote some time to a few niche side projects. Reconsidering his earlier proclamation just a bit, he spills the beans on both.
"Besides my musical, I have ideas for two solo experimental projects: One is Text Message Death Threat, which is going to be a power violence project that uses all the text message death threats I've received as the lyrics, and the songs will be only as long as the 150 characters a text message allows," says James. His other idea is the Tusken Raiders, which according to him will be a digital grindcore band that is only done in the voice of the sand people from Star Wars.
If either of these projects weren't strange enough, James dishes on a third idea: a punk band called D-Beat Dad that would make songs all about being a deadbeat dad who beats his kids. If it sounds a bit similar to long-running local band Fathers Day, which features Ryan Avery and Andrew Jemsek and a few other musicians performing the shtick of bad dads who've become rock musicians, its only because that's the case.
"It's like a crustier version of Fathers Day," James says. "I love Fathers Day, [its] one of my favorite project concepts ever. I defended [them] to the band Leaky Faces from New Mexico when I had them [at] Under the Bridge."
Another Avery and Jemsek project, Drunk & Horny, will be playing directly before James at the Trunk Space on Monday, August 25. However the show was not initially going to be the album release from TJAAA and originally was going to be headlined by Ando Ehlers from Seattle.
With the musical being his main focus after the album's release, James claims this could be the last full-length offering that he and the Acrimonious Assembly of Arsonists produce.
"As far as albums go, every time I do one I imagine that it's the last one I'm doing because I'm just like 'I can't beat this record. It was awesome, really fun and personal and great.' So I feel like I accomplished the only other thing I wanted to do. And the next point is getting arrested or shot," says James, adding, "I always hope that anything I do is the last thing I'm doing."
He then backtracks.
"But I really don't believe in hope," he says.
James claims he wants to step back, and maybe even involve himself in some projects where he is not the focal point. His "best friend" Josue "Pooldeck" Teapotterson, however, does not think James will ride in the back seat very long.
"He's a diva, dude. He's like a little kid," Teapotterson says. "He's gonna give up forever, and then some other little shit is going to come along with red and black clothes, singing about burning shit down, and he's gonna be like 'Oh hell no. I need to have a mixtape in a couple months, check me out -- Travis James, still relevant, people biting my style.'"
Travis James and the Acrimonious Assembly of Arsonists are scheduled to perform on Monday, August 25, at Trunk Space.
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