Tyson Meade, former frontman of outstanding Oklahoma alternative rock bands Chainsaw Kittens and Defenestration, premiered his joyous new single “Buddy Dash,” from his upcoming solo album “Tomorrow in Progress,” today on Spin.com, and you should click right here, right now, to listen and have your day made.
“Tomorrow in Progress” is due out May 20. It may be a solo project, but Meade has some pretty high-profile collaborators on it: Jimmy Chamberlin of the Smashing Pumpkins adds drums; Derek Brown of Oklahoma City-based experimental rockers The Flaming Lips, keyboards. Trent Bell of the Chainsaw Kittens mixes some tracks. Nicole Fiorentino (The Cold and Lovely/Smashing Pumpkins/Veruca Salt) , Kerry Brown (Smashing Pumpkins / Courtney Love producer), Guy Erez (Alan Parson’s Project), plus Kevin Dibbold, Jesse Tabish and Jonathan Mooney from fellow Oklahoma band Other Lives collaborate on the LP, according to a news release (the full release is posted below).
In a November interview with my excellent colleague Gene Triplett, Meade said he left music several years ago and embarked on a new adventure — running a boarding school in China and teaching English and other subjects to Chinese students. It was when the Oklahoma native met a talented 16-year-old violinist named Haffijy that Meade decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to finance an album that would feature the young virtuoso, Meade himself, and that impressive lineup of guest musicians.
In the news release Meade says, “I played Haffijy some of my songs from my music days and he quickly wrote parts for them. Not only did he write parts, he played with such love and honesty that I was touched immeasurably. Birds chirped in some sort of Far East Disney way.”
It’s a pretty good description of my dizzy-happy reaction to the song.
Here is the “Tomorrow in Progress” track listing and the full release:
1. Nihilists Need Love Too (Matt Duckworth – drums, Chris Royse – bass)
2. Dusty Come Up For Air (Jimmy Chamberlin – drums, Royse – bass)
3. Kiss Me Arabia (Haffily – Violin, Duckworth – Drums)
4. Flying Through Our Skins (Meade, Duckworth)
5. Mao into Madame Mao into Marvin Gaye (Meade, Haffijy)
6. Chinese Space Station Worker [Ramona’s Song] (Meade, Chamberlin, K. Brown, Haffijy)
7. Jump Punks (Meade, Haffijy, Duckworth, Royse)
8. When We Were (Meade, Haffily, Duckworth, Royse)
9. Winter Boys Cutting the Rug (Meade, Tabish, D. Brown, Frisby)
10. Buddy Dash (Meade, K. Brown, Chamberlin, Nicole Fiorentino, Guy Erez, Kevin Dippold, Haffijy)
Iggy Pop told him to be good. The Smashing Pumpkins loved him and claimed to have found his band, the pop-glam-trash Chainsaw Kittens, in a hole, perhaps a reference to their native Oklahoma. Like that of his neighbor and friend, Wayne Coyne, Tyson Meade’s life is the stuff of legends.
Scratching and clawing their way, the Chainsaw Kittens did some damage. They toured with Jane’s Addiction. The Flaming Lips covered one of their songs. Spin Magazine called them “the Smiths meet the New York Dolls meet the Devil.” The New Yorker called them “the best rock band you’ve never heard of.” Butch Vig and John Agnello produced their albums. Spike Jonze and Phil Harder directed videos.
Then he was gone, vanished into the same Woody Guthrie dust from which he had come. To Shanghai, where Meade found himself before a class of Chinese adolescents in a boarding school. One student, a violin prodigy named Haffijy, wanted to know if the whispers about a rock ’n’ roll past were true. Keeping dark is hateful. Meade says, “I played Haffijy some of my songs from my music days and he quickly wrote parts for them. Not only did he write parts, he played with such love and honesty that I was touched immeasurably. Birds chirped in some sort of Far East Disney way.” A lost muse was found. An artist reborn.
Meade scratched and clawed his way back out into the light. The glam heart stayed true, the pop instinct intact, but the sound was morphed, ch-ch-changed, new. Synths and Haffijy’s Shanghai strings transformed three-minute songs into pocket Eno symphonies. Cut up lyrics shattered stanzas into shimmering glassy bits, given breath and life by Meade’s speedway Oklahoma vision and three-octave voice.
Keeping dark is hateful, so Jimmy Chamberlin of the Smashing Pumpkins adds drums. Derek Brown of the Flaming Lips keyboards. Trent Bell of the Chainsaw Kittens mixes some tracks. Nicole Fiorentino (The Cold and Lovely/Smashing Pumpkins/Veruca Salt) , Kerry Brown (Smashing Pumplkins / Courtney Love producer), Guy Erez (Alan Parson’s Project), Kevin Dibbold, Jesse Tabish and Jonathan Mooney from Other Lives collaborate on the LP. And then don’t forget the kids! Kids from various locales in the USA play strings and piano and whatever else needs to be played.