Grant Lee Phillips' comments on Mobilize
about the most I could ask for. I tended to look at it as an opportunity to
explore a new medium, a new fabric. The record feels and tastes a little different,
but at the heart of it, it's still quite familiar. In some ways, I would even
venture to say that it's as spontaneous as the best moments of Grant Lee Buffalo
- some of the more unconscious moments. The title is probably some evidence
of this need to spiritually mobilize within myself and to draw upon all the
resources I would need to begin again.
It ushered in a more playful spirit in terms of the songwriting, perhaps because the accountability wasn't so overwhelming. It was as though Grant Lee Buffalo had, in a genuine way, created a very tangible character. But that character had very defined lines - on one hand a great deal of work and camaraderie was necessary to produce something solid like Mighty Joe Moon. But if we were to move forward, then we had to allow ourselves to explore and not feel restricted by those definitions of who and what Grant Lee Buffalo was.
Mobilize is a different beast because of its curiosity in the new, all the while knowing that the new is disintegrating just as quickly.
The hunter/gatherer mentality - is an exciting one in terms of making art because it does allow for new combinations. It accounts for creating music that doesn't necessarily exist in the natural world. And because I've been so closely tied to so-called organic (or archaic) instrumentation, it's nice for me to break out of that mold and throw myself into some dark waters." Source: HMV.com, 2001
recording session officially wrapped with the mastering of the album in early
April. This is the final phase of the recording process where the sequencing
of the album is finalized, along with any equalization adjustments. The various
tracks that were created in a recording studio are assembled here and refined
to the last detail. A "Master" is then created, from which the manufacturer
will use to create the consumer CD's that are sold in stores, then downloaded
and distributed on Napster! Actually, ignore that last part. You get the idea.
The new body of work is 12 songs high and will be entitled Mobilize. Presently, the US release date is set for July 24th with a national tour to follow. I hope to have international distribution affairs in order quite soon. The album will debut on Zoe, a creative arm of the Boston based, Rounder Records. While the availability of Ladies' Love Oracle is still greatly focused on internet outlets such as CDBaby and a handful of small record stores (God bless 'em), "Mobilize" will ultimately receive a much wider distribution, being accessible in record stores and online alike.
The response to the new album has been overwhelmingly positive, both within the label and within my own circle of friends and allies. Such a response is most gratifying for in many ways, "Mobilize" is like no other album in my repertoire. I can only draw slight comparisons in the actual process. Like the acoustic "Ladies Love Oracle", I felt compelled to approach "Mobilize" as a truly solo effort, exploring each instrument, while taking a greater role in the area of production. "Mobilize" is a thoroughly electric production however, and in that way it differs from "Ladies' Love Oracle."
This feat was all the more possible through the involvement of Carmen Rizzo, who shares and most certainly deserves equal billing in the production of the album. Carmen was extremely instrumental in the capture of what I consider my most distinct musical departure yet. As I've approached each album, I've found it necessary to take inventory of my work and to welcome new possibilities. I believe "Mobilize" is consistent in that spirit, mutually drawing on organic and electronic elements to create something truly of the moment, that's my hope.
Presently, the album art is being assembled, featuring photographs taken by my wife, Denise Siegel, and another camera bug, Michael Stipe. Denise's photos, along with her paintings have accompanied my own work on numerous occasions, going back to the first European single, "America Snoring". Fans will recall the intense abstract depiction of oil fires on that particular sleeve. In addition to several documentary photos used in the press, Denise also shot the cover of "Ladies Love Oracle". In the case of "Mobilize", she unknowingly captured the cover image while photographing a costume party we'd thrown several months back. A certain over the top quality of the photo appealed to me and I began to develop a graphic representation of it for the cover. I passed these materials to Steven Walker, who had so imaginatively designed the art for Grant-Lee Buffalo's "Jubilee". Steven further developed the design to it's present and most splendid state." Source: GrantLeePhillips.com, May 2002
I started in December of 2000 with the recording. A good deal of it I had been able to woodshed on my own and even lay some preliminary tracks at home. It was something that evolved over most of a year - there were a few last minute compositions like "Humankind"." Source: HeadLight Journal, August 2001
CWAS: So, what’s
with the Napoleon outfit?
GLP: The photo on the cover [of ‘Mobilize’] was taken by my wife at a costume party. Myself and a slew of other folks threw this crazy event and that was the getup that I turned up in. Everyone was told to show up with some combination of monocle, goatee, handlebar moustache, cummerbund, there was a litany of apparel and each of us had to perform. I believe that in the end I shared a telekinetic presentation, that was my offering to the group. My wife took a snapshot and now it’s an album cover.
Comes With A Smile, Interview by by Laurence Arnold, #11, Autumn 2002
1. SEE AMERICA
"For the most part, my writing has become more personal, much more indicative of my own state of mind, and less like the daily news. Even that song can be counted among the most personal. It has to do with the first time I ventured out and saw a piece of America. In some ways, I'm feeling some resonance with that time in my life; ten years ago, with all my optimism and all my anxieties intact." Source: HMV.com, 2001
"My vantage point is such a subjective one. I have my blinkers on and my antenna up. I'm just as moved and inspired by my direct circle of influences than I am by everything else that we think of in terms of Los Angeles. But some of that might sway onto the record. Evidenced in a song like "See America" as an example of that person from the country finding themselves at the land's end, and in this case it's Manhattan and there is an optimism and idealism that we're off to see America as though we were off to see the Wizard of Oz. But there's a little trepidation there as well, a bit of horror." Source: HeadLight Journal, August 2001
"Humankind," was just something that kind of sprouted after I entered the studio. Funny enough, my inspiration was found in some old Buddy Holly songs. The old tune "Everyday," where the drummer plays his thighs. In this case, I played my chest and we sampled that. It became part of the rhythm section. It turns out I have quite a nice-sounding chest. " Source: HeadLight Journal, August 2001
"Spring Released is the first single off Mobilize. It's a bouncy little diddy. These single discs are promotional only as you know, so they tend to become sought after. I do love the art on this one, and come to think of it was a good hair day." Source: Messages From Beyond
Question: It seems Mobilize is less cinematic and more personal.
GLP: In some ways. I can cite a few similarities in a song like Beautiful Dreamers, that's a song where you have these different characters. Carla, she's a true romantic, living her life in verse. These are people based on people that exist in my life. All kind of thrown in together in these few little Edward Hopper settings. My devices and techniques come and go. I might find myself venturing into that.
Source: Grant Lee Phillips, Shaking Loose the Sadness, Murmurs.com, May 2002