A long time ago, someone called an official debate between Romanticism and Classicism. This is similar to having your feet debate your shoes," explains singer-songwriter Andy Rinehart. "Romanticism never showed up for the debate because it was wandering about following its whims. After a few decades of Modernism, Classicism was declared the winner, and being wrong was declared right. The moral of this story is: your feet know where they're going."
Imagine that sort of expansive thinking embodied in an eclectic, piano-driven folk-pop song surrounded by the rubbery bass of Mick Karn, David Torn's guitar acrobatics and Kurt Wortman's innovative percussion, and you may have an inkling of how unique Andy Rinehart's Jason's Chord is.
At 35, the soft-spoken Connecticut native has created a masterpiece of storytelling embedded in incredibly catchy, yet elaborate and quirky pop structures. Or as the multi-instrumentalist puts it, "Jason's Chord explores a world where the romantic and the existential live side by side." For example, at any given point on the album, one may hear him singing about Einstein on a bicycle, fortune cookie dinners or the life of a music-loving paratrooper.
This conversation with Rinehart is an in-depth exploration of his muse. Topics include the construction of Jason's Chord and his first CD Walking Home, the failings of the music industry, what's in a name, and "Delirious Chocolate Art Cake."
I understand you have a career outside music as a pastry chef.
I make desserts. But that's, that's one of a number of things that I've done and it's a lot of fun right now. I'll probably do something different later on too. I tend to change careers every couple of years.
What is it about being a pastry chef that you find engaging right now?
It's creative and sensuous. It's a challenge too. I definitely like a challenge and I love to learn. Somebody could just make me a professional student and pay me to learn things. I could be very happy.
What other jobs have you had over the course of the years?
I've taught music. I ran my own little studio. I've been a luthier. I co-managed a guitar repair shop in California for a little while. It's really a romantic trade.
So, after all of those music-related gigs, how did you end up becoming a pastry chef?
Well, I was just working as a low man on the totem pole, sort of a deli worker just to get by money-wise for about two-and-a-half years. That was within the last four years. And then, about exactly a year ago, a position in that same natural food market opened up for a baker and I took that position, because I was cooking by then. I kind of ascended the ladder a bit and I was very unenthusiastic about that job all along. It was just there to support me, just giving me just enough money so I would have time to do music. But then when baking came along, I suddenly realized I really loved it. And I've been doing that since.
Compare baking to making music.
It seems like the same sort of thing. I've done a lot of cooking in general. It's more of a visual art. A lot of the time I don't feel it's that much different from music. I remember having a dream once where I was cooking music or some strange convoluted way of mixing up the two. In the dream I was baking songs or cooking a soup but it was actually music instead of food. And it makes a lot of sense to me because they seem similar. Of course they are vastly different at the same time.
What are some of your specialties?
My specialty is decorating cakes, really. I like to make cakes. I like to make the most decadent stuff—chocolate amaretto cake or poppy poundcake. Here's a really crazy sounding one: Delirious chocolate art cake. That's layers of chocolate cake and chocolate mousse with a solid chocolate molded case around the cake covered with chocolate leaves and chocolate shavings. It's insane.
You mentioned that you shift careers every few years. How long do you think you'll be a pastry chef before moving on?
I'll probably burn out in a year or two, but then I might go back to it later in life. It's a very good skill to have because it's a lot more transferable or movable than any other skill I've had. By that I mean I can go anywhere and get work doing that. It's really hard to get work anywhere as a luthier.
Or as a musician.
Yeah. As a pastry chef, it's the first thing I've done that I feel like I can actually use without too much trouble. I've always tended to want to do things that are very useful for me, but not very useful for making money. It's nice to finally have something that's a little more practical, although I still really value an impractical lifestyle.
Tell me about your impractical lifestyle.
I guess I'm impractical in that I haven't developed a single career. I love school and studied useless things like anthropology or philosophy. I've never really thought about the future that much—I kind of indulge in what is most interesting right now. I definitely love to work hard, but I don't feel I do the things that are terribly practical. But I like that.
Are your career choices generally made to support your music?
No. At least not right now. In a way I'm sort of taking a break from music.
Is that by choice or necessity?
Definitely by choice. I actually haven't lifted a finger for anything musical for a while.
I played a few weddings recently. People asked me to do them. One person gave me lyrics and asked me to write a piece for their wedding ceremony.
Was that for friends or was that something that you did for money?
It's two cases for friends and in a third case it was a cash situation. I played an accordion at one wedding. I played a jig or a reel.
You sound at peace with your situation. I don't hear a lot of frustration in your voice despite the incredible amount of music industry challenges you've faced.
Well, it did frustrate me. That's part of why I feel a lot better right now, because my life is very simple. I have a job I like and that's a nice thing. It's the first time I've experienced that. When I was a luthier, I was doing that to be a luthier and I wasn't trying to have a career as a musician. I'd say between the years 1985 to 1992 or so, except for about three years when I was back in college, I've been doing silly things in order to support music.
It's been three years since Jason's Chord was first released in Europe. Have you been working on any music since?
I still write. I did a whole bunch of stuff right after doing that record and I was performing for a while—at least attempting to perform or get myself to perform. It doesn't seem to be my favorite thing to do. I was trying to perform in the folk circuit around here which is an interesting scene. And it felt fulfilling to a certain extent, like when I was on stage—that was nice. But I've recorded a few things on my own equipment, but nothing in a commercial studio.
Last time we spoke, you said it didn't look like CMP was interested in another record from you.
I don't really think about it that much right now. I know that it's not likely that it's possible for me to walk away from music entirely. I've had long breaks from it before and then eventually it taps me on the shoulder and I gotta to pay attention to it again. So, I don't know. I don't have plans. I wonder occasionally what might happen. But I don't feel particularly suited for the music industry. In order to deal with that you've got to have a killer instinct in that realm. And I just don't feel it. I don't feel like I want to go out there and compete with all the other musicians. There's so many of us. I don't want to have to fight my way to the spotlight. It always felt kind of uncomfortable to presume that I must sell myself. Selling music is hard enough. But in the music industry, you have to sell yourself, or even worse, you've got to sell your persona and that's a very uncomfortable thing for me. I don't feel like I deal with that well.
I thought the whole point of being on a label like CMP was to be able to concentrate on the music and not the marketing.
That would be true if I were a jazz musician. That whole realm is very, very different from rock music, or even the folk scene. The folk scene is supposedly a lot more rootsy and less competitive than the rock scene. But, I haven't really found that to be the case. It's got a very heady singer-songwriter kind of vibe. And singer-songwriters, we're a strange bunch of people. We're probably the most egotistical group of humans on the planet [laughs].
You're the epitome of the "multi-instrumentalist" in that you can play keyboards, accordion, percussion and various stringed instruments. Tell me about your beginnings as a musician and how you ended up becoming so versatile.
I'm from rich suburbia, USA—New Canaan, Connecticut. But, we lived near the dump. We weren't living in the rich part of town. But it is a rich town. It's like sitcom alley down there. [laughs] It's the place that epitomizes the things you'd see turning on the television, really. It's an affluent town where all of the superficial things in life go down. I feel very fortunate to have grown up there because it was easy to know what to rebel against. I've always thought of it that way. Musically speaking, well I just had a musical family—especially my brothers. Not my parents really, but my brothers were musical. I remember getting a guitar when I was young. I took to it really fast. I was in fourth grade. I started taking guitar lessons. We had this guitar book and I went home and learned the whole book in one night. I was definitely taking off with this stuff. I was into it. I was 10 or 11 years old. I started writing pretty soon after I started playing guitar. I started taking piano lessons a few years after that. I was listening to a lot of James Taylor and Cat Stevens. I was definitely into the whole folk-rock kind of thing. By the time I hit high school I had discovered Genesis and progressive rock, and I was really into that. I also had some friends that I looked up to quite a bit in high school that were a lot older than me and they were musicians. That got me pretty deeply involved.
What did you focus on in your academic life?
I've had a funny history with education. I was sort of going along as sort of an accelerated student in high school. My strongest areas were math and language. But, I started to see school as some kind of plot by society to control my soul [laughs] and I stopped going to a lot of classes. I was in junior year, and I was fully prepared to drop out. I didn't even register for classes for my senior year. And musically, by that time, I had completely shifted over to playing piano and writing very lavish piano songs. But I completely rejected literacy in music. I basically refused to allow myself to learn to read music. It was kind of like a switch that would go off when someone would put music in front of me. I had learned to improvise pretty fluently, and I could do reasonably well, but with kind of twisted facsimiles of classical compositions that I would hear. And that was extremely fulfilling because I realized I could make music very spontaneously. I could sit down and improvise a whole piece of music. And this became a skill that I think is one of the most important that I could have generated, because a lot of my favorite pieces are things that I just took from an improvisation—something that came out of just sitting down at the right moment and having music happen.
Can you read music?
I am a reader now, because I went back to school and got a bachelor's degree in composition. So, I had to get that together. But, still, if you put a piece of music in front of me, I become a klutz—music kind of stops for me and I start stumbling through the piece of music. If you put something fairly simple in front of me, I can barely make sense of it. And that's even though I was an A+ student in college in a traditional conservatory setting. That just happened from hard work. I went to a small college called Simon's Rock in Massachusetts, and that was very cool. It was there that I started to study tabla and get turned on to a whole lot of different world musics because one of the music teachers there trained at Wesleyan. It's a big ethnomusicology school. So, I was learning a lot about Indian music and getting a lot of food for thought on alternative approaches to music.
I left there after two years and went to the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and I stayed there for only one semester. It's interesting because CalArts is kind of a fishing ground for CMP. They've gotten a lot of artists from that place—like Miroslav Tadic and Mark Nauseef. And I knew some of those guys, but I was only at CalArts for one semester studying ethnic music. I was studying mostly African music, which is still my greatest love as far as ethnic music goes. And it just wasn't the right time for me to be in school, so I left. I traveled a lot, and eventually ended up in California studying luthiery, taking a break from music, more or less. And then came back here to Connecticut, and immediately got in a lot of bands and started getting very involved musically again, meeting a lot of interesting musicians. I spent a few years playing in bands and having my own band playing my own stuff. We really didn't play gigs that much. We were kind of a rehearsing band. [laughs] We did play out a little. But my music is difficult, and I definitely found people who could play it, but I'm very picky about how it sounds. I was also running my own studio and recording a lot. This is how David Torn eventually heard me. He just called me up at one point and said that he was really into what he'd been hearing.
What did he hear?
He had heard stuff off of my first album and some other things that I had done with a guitarist named Matte Henderson. It was him who introduced me to Torn. Matte is a very hard working, but not very visible musician. He played on Natalie Merchant's latest record. So that was like a break in his invisibility. He's probably somebody to really look out for. He does some pretty interesting things.
Let's talk about the circumstances that led to Walking Home—your first album.
I recorded that in my own studio. I had my own publishing company. I declared it also as my own record company and just had a bunch of CD's run off from stuff I had been doing. I brought it to some radio stations and sent it to a few magazines. It got reviewed by Guitar Player, Option and Music Technology. The press has always been very kind to me.
The album has me pretty much me playing everything, except for Matte Henderson in places. A drummer named Gregg Sulzer played on one song. It was really a studio project kind of record. I think it's very personal in that respect.
One thing that surprised me about Walking Home was how much Matte Henderson's technique reminded me of Torn.
Oh yeah. He was listening to Torn very, very intently at that point. I'm sure it was showing. He's very flexible as well, which Torn is also. I'm amazed at how flexible Torn is. I think the playing David did on Jason's Chord is some of my favorite work that he's done.
Walking Home is dominated by huge synth sounds—very different from the vibe on Jason's Chord.
Yeah, we used almost no electronic keyboards on Jason's Chord. It was all retro stuff, a little organ. Walking Home is all synth. There's still a generous amount of hand drumming on Walking Home, but there's definitely a lot of keyboards.
Did you achieve what you set out to accomplish with Walking Home?
No. I feel that I liked it when it was done. It's possible for me to be very critical of it. I guess any artist is that way. What did I set out to accomplish? Ultimately I wanted to make something and I made something. In another sense I wanted to have a really good demo and I guess I accomplished that. I had help with the business side of it. My strength isn't selling things.
Your lyrics are very diverse and enigmatic. Are lyrics something you're comfortable talking about or should the listener interpret the songs as they wish?
I don't really have a preference. I'm sure sometimes that if I tell people what I'm talking about it probably helps them get into it, depending on their temperament. Some people like things to be abstract, and some people don't. I know that when I perform live it seems to be a good thing to tell people a little about what I'm talking about since it's so intricate. It helps people remain engaged.
Describe your songwriting process—although I get the feeling it's not etched in stone for you.
That's particularly true of me. Every song proceeds along a different course.
Have you noticed any patterns emerging?
No. [laughs] I write words sometimes without music and use them later. And very often, I write music, or even record a whole piece without even thinking about the words, and then sit down to the daunting task of trying to say something. But it's always different.
I've been told you're quite prolific in that you've got hundreds of songs stored up.
Yeah, I go through periods where I'm prolific and periods when I'm not. So, I definitely have a lot of material because I've been writing since I was 11. That's a lot of years. it's not always fun. Trying to say something is definitely hard. It should be hard.
Would you say you're driven more by your internal machinations or your observations of the world in your lyrics?
I feel like my lyrics are 99 percent internal.
It's tough to gauge for the listener given the surreal nature of your lyrics. But trying to figure out what you're talking about is half the fun of listening.
I have attempted to be more flexible in recent things. Within the last three years or so I took on the project of writing a small handful of folk-songs—traditional-sounding folk songs. And the lyrics to those are not internal at all. They're very storyline oriented and the kind of thing where most people can understand what's going on. There's something quirky about them, otherwise I wouldn't be happy with them. That was one project. Then, in the most recent stuff I've gone back to very internal sort of writing. But I've been disappointed with too much of the internal word thing. I'm not exactly sure why. You almost never find someone in a traditional piece speaking from their innermost dreams. It's usually something a little more culturally universal, and somehow that idea affects me deeply. I like that idea of being able to write something that's culturally universal. What form that would take in our culture, I have no idea. [laughs] Our culture is sort of an "aculture." It's a media culture, it's very complicated, it appears undefined but is actually probably very well defined. I mean, just go to any mall. [laughs]
You sound like someone who laments the cultural changes that Western society has gone through over the last few decades—particularly the ideas of anomie and fragmentation.
Oh yeah. I can certainly get into that headspace. I've also traveled enough to know that I really like America as well. But I'm not quite so down on where Western culture has gone as much as I'm down on where humanity has gone. And I think anybody who looks around would have to feel the same. It's a pretty bizarre and complicated world we're living in.
Why did you change your last name from Reinhardt to Rinehart for your CMP album?
There are some non-reasons. It was a playful thing to do. Like, "Oh wow, I'm going to be a rock star, now I can change my name!" And instead of calling myself Elvis, I changed the spelling of my name. It wasn't so severe. People wouldn't laugh at me quite as hard.
That's interesting. I assumed the name change was the result of a suit telling you it would be better for marketing.
No, it was my idea.
So, was it just an attempt to streamline the name?
It was an attempt to streamline it. It was an attempt to "de-Germanize" it. I am German and I'm on a German record label. But I'm a kind of mishmash of WASP, American Indian and Welsh. I'm a mutt. Some people have made fun of me for changing the spelling. Most people have sort of ignored it. The thing is, it does express an aspect of me. Reinhardt isn't even my birth name. I tend to spell it differently all the time, because I find it kind of humorous that everybody wants their names spelled just so-and-so, so I spell mine any old way every time I write it. It's an expression of my quirkiness.
What's your real name?
I was born as Andrew Deater.
What happened to that name?
My parents were divorced when I was young, and my mother remarried. And I liked her new last name, so I started calling myself Andy Rinehart. I don't place a lot of importance on names, and I found it fun to play with it.
When did you change it the first time?
When I was in fourth grade. I was quite young.
And the second time?
You mean the spelling?
Oh, that happens every day.
So, you didn't legally change it.
I guess I was groping for some deep meaning in this somewhere.
You're not going to find any. [laughs]
Okay, onto Jason's Chord then. You mentioned how you hooked with David Torn. Let's go from there.
He called me up one day and said "Hey, there's a vibe. We should get together." I think that's about what he said. Matte Henderson had been playing him my stuff. That's how he had heard it. It was that simple. I went to hang out with David and then he arranged a meeting with Kurt Renker, who is the owner of CMP. We're at 1990 here. And then we had a very interesting dinner with Kurt where we were halfway through the dinner, and nothing had been said much about music or records. Finally, David just said "So, what do you think, Kurt? Do you want make a record?" And Kurt just said "Okay. Let's make a record." That was it. There was no other discussion. I went home bewildered. I didn't know if something was going to happen or not. Everybody has these big dreams about getting signed. I mean, even if you don't play music you still want to get signed. [laughs] It's funny in a way. It's sort of sad in a way.
So, was it an anticlimactic moment?
Yeah, sort of. But, it sounded like we were gonna do the record. So, I started getting psyched. I kept talking to David regularly, and they kept trying to schedule it. It took about a year, but we eventually got over to Germany and started recording stuff. That was the first two-week session with Mick Karn, Kurt Wortman, and Torn.
What was going through your head in the studio? Suddenly you were surrounded by some of the most impressive musicians around.
Well, they're people, you know? I had listened to Mick for a long, long time. I hadn't heard anything by Kurt Wortman, really. I had the opportunity to work with Mick briefly once prior to the record. That was about six months before we went to Germany. Matte Henderson hired him for something that I was working on of my own. It was actually a version of "Jason and Martha." And that was really fun. We also had Tony Levin play on something. You may eventually hear that cut one day. It really came out quite good. But we never quite finished it. You know, I guess I've never been a big stargazer. So, to meet Mick was really fun and thrilling. But the best part is that he's a really cool person. He's somebody I liked a whole lot. And Kurt Wortman and I hit it off immediately. We just sat right down and started to jam together within the first hour that I got there, jet-lag and all.
I didn't necessarily mean being in the gaze of celebrity, but rather, a feeling that you've risen up a level or two in terms of your own career.
Yeah, certainly. That's for sure. And getting to work with someone like Torn is fantastic. He's done a lot of stuff and he's extremely dedicated. And that definitely makes you feel like you're part of the crowd. It's good.
Describe what it was like to work with Torn.
Really fun. Really intuitive. Mick is extremely intuitive too. He doesn't even know what the notes are called. But the experience was also kind of scary. It's hard for me to get together with any musicians and retain the kind of control that's necessary without feeling like I'm being imposing. And it wasn't any different with Mick and Kurt. I was very open to having them color the music any way they wanted. And that worked out very well because they happen to both be very appropriate.
How would you describe Torn's influence on the album?
I tend to be a lot more systematic when I'm in the studio than David. I really tend to work things out quite a bit. I'm kind of a composer by nature, so my tendency is to have things very set. And David works in a much more loose and spontaneous manner, which I think enhances things a lot because you tend to get more interesting occurrences on tape. When David records a track, whether it's of his own or someone else's, he doesn't stop you when things go wrong. He just lets you breeze on through the song, and then takes on another track and breezes through that one. He likes to get a whole bunch of crazy stuff on tape and sort it out later. If I had been producing the record it might have come out sounding a bit more organized, perhaps a bit drier.
How would you describe his personality overall?
[laughs] He's functionally insane, which is perfect for me since I'm functionally insane also. I think what I mean by that is having the ability to use the quirky aspects of your personality, or the ability to be spontaneous and crazy to a good end.
Whose idea was it to change the keyboard line in "House of Home" into a bass line? [A track from Walking Home re-recorded for Jason's Chord]
I can't believe what a radical difference that made to the song.
I had done it that way with the bassist in my own band. I had pretty much thought of it that way all along. I don't know remember where I changed the idea of having it be an Irish sounding, keyboardy kind of thing, into the bassline idea. But it definitely worked pretty well.
I think it's safe to say that Karn's sound is absolutely integral to the success of the album.
Absolutely. I mean, listen to the first song and he's like half of the music. It's incredible. I love that line so much. What he did in that first song is just amazing. I could never grow tired of listening to that.
I recently spoke to Karn and he told me Jason's Chord came together in an incredibly short period of time.
It was a week when Mick and Kurt were there at the studio. And then David and I slaved away for the next month-and-a-half on it. So, the record itself didn't come together that fast, but the time that we spent with Mick and Kurt there went fast. And they came in never having heard any of these songs, and they had their work really cut out for them, because it's not very simple stuff. And for Mick, who's used to grooving in one-chord tunes, it was really intense for him. But he did his thing. I think it's amazing to hear Mick doing the kind of stuff he usually does, only in songs with tons of chords. It's amazing. It's hard work, but hey, it paid off.
I knew very little about you when I first heard Jason's Chord, so I was asking myself "How much of this is Rinehart's doing and how much did Torn and company influence it?" But after listening to you performing solo, as well as Walking Home it became obvious that Jason's Chord is still very much your album—your arrangements, your songs.
Yeah, definitely. The thing is that if I had worked with different people, it might have gone in a different direction. But we selected Mick and Kurt because it was most likely with those guys that they would do the kind of thing that would fit in with what I'd be doing anyway. So, it worked that way. We really let them run with the songs in a lot of places. And, some things came out sounding rather different compared to my demos of them. For instance, "Book of Rules" and "Fortune Cookie Dinner" sound quite different from the way I had demoed them. So, you know, things changed a bit. But, all in all, I don't like the idea of telling everybody exactly what to do.
How do you look back at Jason's Chord overall?
I heard it today, in fact. Somebody put it on at work. I always listen. It's hard not to. It's a very interesting album and I like to listen to it. It strikes me as a very personal record. If I were a record exec I'd think "Man, this is great. But how the hell are we going to sell this stuff?" It's so personal, it's like, "How do I deal with this? I don't know." It was a really great experience. I feel that we made the best possible record that we could have made at that time.
How did your coworkers at the bakery react to hearing it the first time?
Very positively. Everybody really digs it. I mean, they put it on. I didn't.
Has a coworker listened to it and then said to you "Uh, Andy, why are you working here?"
Yeah. And my answer was, I had just finished a really fancy cake. I just pointed at the cake like, you know, "Hey, I'm making some cake here, do you mind?" [laughs]
That was your answer?
Yeah. I don't know why I am here. That's a good question.
If you had your choice, would you be a musician full time?
It depends. Being a musician full time is a great idea, but being a star in the music industry is a very, very different thing. How could anybody turn that down? It's exciting and adventurous. And I wouldn't. I'm sure I wouldn't. But I'm also sure that I would burn out on it.
What level of success do you want to see yourself attain?
I would love to make a record every few years. I'd love to have a sort of jazz career, you know, with folky-rock songs. The kind of career where you make a record every now and then, and sell a few thousand copies. I think that's great. There are people in Austria that have my record. I think that's quite rewarding. To go for something really big and harried and stressed-out—I'm not really interested in that. I know, above all else, that I want to have a nice life. And running around, selling yourself is not my thing. I mean, I've seen the people who are doing it, and it's extremely stressful. It's unbelievably busy. We think lawyers are busy, right? Musicians who are really going for it are even more crazed. And I don't really want to live that way.
You once said "Modern society relegates rock musicians to inflatable heroes." Elaborate on that.
I feel like I do a lot of comparative thinking. When I made that statement I was thinking about the comparison between how a rock musician serves the public—the typical famed rock musician—and how a musician in a culture that uses music functionally functions. So, compare a griot in traditional Africa to Michael Jackson. I don't feel that you really get to be you when you're a star, necessarily. Some people pull it off. I believe someone like Peter Gabriel maintains an identity and still can be famous at the same time. But a lot of people get pushed around as examples of what we all want to be like. And that's pretty scary. It's sad that our society needs to have that sort of hero. To me, it's not the best use of music to provide people with a superficial image of what we all should aspire to. And that image is sort of vacuous. It has to do with what you should look like and how cool you should be.
And ultimately, it has nothing to do with music.
That's very true. And I feel like if you want to sell, if you want to be a musician, you have to take several steps away from music itself. Because making a living as a musician is such a drastically different thing. Really, if someone said to me "You can be a musician full-time now" I would love that. Because that would mean that I could go into the studio whenever I want and record things, and get them out to people, and people would buy them and really experience something through it. Or, hear it on the radio, or get it through the Internet, or whatever. I think that would be neat, but it involves so much else that really doesn't have to do with being a musician. It has to do with selling a persona.
I feel like, very often, I've lived my life for music and not for living. I've gone through a lot of periods where I was doing everything just to try and create time for getting musical projects done. And I'm sure that I'm going to find my way back to music at some point. But it needs to be for me—in the context of life. Having a simple, adventurous, rewarding life is the most important thing to me. And that's what I hope I'll continue to put first. It's very easy to get caught up in projects and goals, and forget that we're not here for a very long time. There are a lot of things that can kind of go by that you might wish you had done. I want to do lots of different things and really just live. And that will include music, I'm sure. And, right now I'm living in a pretty direct way, and that is extremely good. At least for right now.
David Torn on Andy Rinehart:
Andy Rinehart is a really great, unique singer-songwriter and the Jason's Chord recording is pretty special. Andy is a very strong guy who very much knows what he wants out of his music. He's not unlike me in that if he doesn't like something, he clearly voices what his vision of his songs are. And it was great to sit down with somebody who had these tunes that were lyrical and had these great stories and to catch the vibe of these stories and what they meant to him. I believe he's a very richly-textured person with a lot of perceptions about the world and relationships. And he has a really unique way of articulating them.
The four musicians who worked on the album had a really good chemistry. It was the right group of people. Some people might say it would have been a better record with a more "normal" bass player, guitar player or drummer. But those four people in one room doing the session together were like four crazy friends having a great time. We went absolutely wacko and got an incredible amount of creative work done.
Jason's Chord is a really great record that I had incredibly high hopes for in broad "Now, I am a producer" terms. The album is so fresh and so different from anything you usually hear and I had the feeling that we had fallen into a situation where I could help break a really intelligent singer-songwriter and musician to a really broad public. Unfortunately, the business side kind of failed us there, but I feel no less strongly about the record. It is one of the greatest disappointments of my life that the record has so simply disappeared upon release.