Big Walnuts Yonder - Big Walnuts Yonder
Big Walnuts Yonder is bassist/vocalist Mike Watt (Minutemen, The Stooges), guitarist Nels Cline (Wilco, Nels Cline Singers), drummer Greg Saunier (Deerhoof) and guitarist/vocalist Nick Reinhart (Tera Melos). It is not a supergroup. "It's worlds colliding," says Mike Watt. Four exceptional musicians whose work spans multiple genres and generations, Big Walnuts Yonder is a monumental endeavor that's more than the sum of its parts. The results are a truly epic album defying categorization, where one might hear elements of proto-punk, free jazz, power pop, experimental music, psych-rock and your first teenage acid trip all in one. The impetus for Big Walnuts Yonder came about way back in 2008 from a conversation between Watt and Reinhart while their bands toured together in Japan. The two discussed recording together and who they might bring in to the sessions. "Nick gets ahold of my first opera," Watt explains. "Made in 1997 with Nels Cline. He said 'what's it like playing with Nels?'" "So Watt says, 'if you want to know the man, play with the man,'" Cline elaborates. Cline agreed to join if Reinhart picked the drummer. Reinhart quickly mentioned Saunier, unaware that Cline had previously brought Watt to see him perform at a Deerhoof show years before. The lineup solidified in its mutual appreciation and they began making plans to write and record - while circumnavigating the schedules of 4 extremely busy musicians. "We had planned it for so long," Saunier says. "Then several years passed in which nothing occurred due to everyone's schedules. It was 2-3 years of warm, leisurely prep time, then suddenly made in a panic with time and money on the line." The album was recorded in just 3 days in summer 2014 in Brooklyn, NY with producer and former Pere Ubu bassist Tony Maimone engineering at his Studio G. "It was this concentrated sort of freakout," Saunier says. "We basically had to invent a new band on the spot. And, people might have a stereotype of what each person does, but we all showed up to do what we're prevented from doing in other groups." The album's 10 tracks were recorded primarily live with very few overdubs. Although Big Walnuts Yonder was created under somewhat spontaneous circumstances, the group endeavored to ensure the album wouldn't sound like a jam session. "It was very clear among us," Saunier notes: "Let's not overindulge and make it a 'musician's recording'." Asked how he might describe Big Walnuts Yonder, Cline succinctly nails it on the head: "It's sick. It has an extreme quality and kicks ass."