Songwriter and interweb freedom fighter John Perry Barlow has a new collaboration with Chicago’s Mr. Blotto out on record. “Barlow Shanghai” was released on October 13th at a record release party in Chicago. The download is available here for $12.50. I’m giving it a first listen at this moment.
Barlow has some interesting things to say about his career and what it was like working with a blue collar band like Mr. Blotto.
My various post-Dead endeavors had been systematically butchered by producers who were determined to make something “commercial” for bands that by nature were not. I felt like I was getting less respect than Rodney Dangerfield at a Greenwich garden party and was beginning to think that I didn’t deserve it either. If people were going to make a consistent practice of thoroughly rewriting my songs, it was possible they weren’t much good to begin with. Songwriting wasn’t fun anymore. There is little delight in being sold out without your assent and even less if you don’t actually make any money in the process. I’d decided to hang it up.
But one night about a year and a half ago, the Blottos (encouraged by my friend Peer, who also has a little record company called MunckMix and want to record them) asked me if I’d be willing to write some songs for them. Furthermore, they offered to let me co-produce any record that came of it. Since they clearly weren’t lusting for suites at the 4 Seasons and had even offered to let me keep a hand on the wheel, I said I’d give it a try. Little was at stake and, besides, I enjoyed their company.
The process turned out to be a gas. They were almost frighteningly easy to write with and they seemed to genuinely admire the work I was doing with them. Nobody was wearing much of an ego about it. Not even me.
I assume he’s speaking above of his efforts to write songs for String Cheese Incident. Has Barlow worked with another band of late?