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Inspiration can come from anywhere. When it shows up, my philosophy has always been to grab hold tight and enjoy the ride. Which is exactly how my new album “What A Rip” came to be. I guess it was a perfect storm of things really: An ongoing pandemic with time on my hands, constant musical exploration, and the simple gesture of a friend lending me a guitar pedal that emulated the 60s-leaning sounds of a Mellotron keyboard. The next thing I knew, the songs just showed up, as if they chose me instead of the other way around.
“What A Rip” is my tribute to rock and roll. The influences are probably pretty obvious - Beatles, Kinks, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, the Monkees. All the foundational stuff that you hear as a kid that just kind of sticks to your brain like peanut butter does to the roof of your mouth. Hopefully these songs stick to yours in the same way.
Despite it being a total dumpster fire, 2020 was a pretty prolific time for me. I released a number of singles, side projects and even a 20-song solo album called “Song Snacks Vol. 1”. “What A Rip” comes from the same place of just continuing to flex the songwriting muscle, following inspiration wherever it took me. I guess the title is a reference to following a muse, and maybe you can play a fun game trying to pick out all the songs I ripped off along the way. But it also comes from feeling that this year was kind of a rip off: We were all taken away from the people we love. Some of us may have lost people. Our kids were taken out of school. Our bands couldn’t play shows. It was some real bullshit (and we’re still in it). But I tried to make the best of it and make cool shit along the way.
Once again, I played all the core instruments on the record and recorded it myself in my home studio not really knowing what I was doing. I was lucky to have some guests play on some of these songs, including Teddy Roberts (Tigers Jaw), Zach Curd (Pop Project), Chris Hatfield (Love Axe), and Scott Allen (my brother and former member of Thunderbirds Are Now! with me). Oh, and my dad Brad Allen played the very George Harrison-sounding lead guitar on “Only Son.” The whole thing was mastered (aka saved from my terrible home-recording skills) by Justin Pizzoferrato, who has made records with Dinosaur Jr., the Pixies and Sonic Youth. My amazing girlfriend Jodi Lynn Burton made the throwback album artwork.
“What A Rip” comes out digitally only on February 5th, 2021.