Pardon us as we take a moment to give Psych 101 a round of applause for being such good sports with their "Wonderland" submission.
A few months back, New Times asked Jeff Miller of the local psych-rock ensemble to write a song based on this year's Best of Phoenix theme. Not only did the vocalist, guitarist, and keyboardist produce a butt-kicking tune, but the four-piece band went the extra mile and recorded a music video, which will be on display during October's "Phoenix as Wonderland: Art from New Times' Best of Phoenix 2009" exhibit.
The project, Miller explains, was a beast to complete, not only because of the deadline, but also due to the predetermined parameters. "To write and record a song from scratch to a theme you didn't choose, to music you don't already have, for people who actually know music and will know if you're just going through the motions, when you have a day job, in a month, is a challenge," says Miller.
Well, man, we're glad you and your band mates Steve Evans, George Catone, and Kevin Veillette stuck with it.
The song (you can listen to it
), which was recorded and mastered by John McKay of Phoenix-based Suitcase Recordings, is chock-full of pop sensibilities wrapped in late-'60s-style psychedelica. It also includes a catchy piano line performed by (no joke) a pre-teen. About the 11-year old's contribution to the session, Miller says, "He was so good that we had to keep dumbing down his part."
As far as the lyrics - which includes the line "Could this really be my wonderland?" - Miller sums it up like this: "I wanted 'Wonderland' to be a question because there is an ambivalence about Phoenix that most people seem to share. For all its conservatism, Phoenix has also always struck me as more accepting to different kinds of relationships than other places I've lived."
"Phoenix as Wonderland: Art from New Times' Best of Phoenix 2009" opens with a free First Friday reception on Friday, October 2, at [merz]project, 1437 North First Street. On Friday, October 16, Psych 101 will be performing a set of original tunes during the Third Friday reception for "Wonderland" at [merz]project, 1437 North First Street.