Tom Jordan Talks New 20 Watt Tombstone EP, Recording With Violent Femmes' Jeff Hamilton, And More
Hello Tom, thank you for joining us today. How are you?
I am well, thank you for doing this interview. hope you are safe and well during these crazy times as well.
Tell us a bit about your new album, what was writing and recording for this album like?
Well, this one was just two covers we really dug the hell out of and wanted to do for something fun to distract us and hopefully some other people out there too, so no writing really on this one. Recording was a bit different for us this time around mainly because we decided to change things up and work with Jeff Hamilton from the Violent Femmes on this one at his studio in Milwaukee. We had done both of our other records at 7711 studios in Milwaukee with Ryan Elliot. Ryan is our go-to guy because he has always gotten our sound better than anyone, so it was hard to change that up to a degree. However, Jeff was awesome and though this record sounds different than our other ones, I really feel like he nailed our sound as well. Its a bit more polished than our previous two but the "20 Watt feel" still comes through in my opinion.
Given the current state of the world, did it poise any issues towards the completion of the album?
Yes and no. Scheduling was a bit more difficult due to Covid, and my drummer had to get a factory job now since we can't tour. He is not available as much for rehearsals as he was when we had touring as our main income. Jeff made the studio time very comfortable and the recording itself was definitely easy.
Of course the current state of things isn't ideal, have you started to plan for what comes next once the world starts opening up again?
The goal is to hopefully get back to touring and booking shows, but also we plan to finally release another record. It's definitely time. People are getting antsy for a new one, so we need to make that happen before any touring takes place.
Tell us a bit about yourself as a musician, who influences you?
I have always been influenced by old school blues men like Robert Johnson, Bukka White, Son House, Blind Willie Johnson, etc. I keep a picture of Robert Johnson on my fridge as inspiration. I also am very inspired by later rock n roll and blues, Johnny Winter, Foghat, ZZ Top, Cactus, but I really listen to everything (Except pop country) Old school country like Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Hank Williams, and into Lamb of God, Clutch, and Prince. I am all over the map honestly. I am a sucker for real honest music, if i believe the struggle in the lyrics that's a huge one for me.
Who is your biggest bucket list band you've shared the stage with? Who would you love to share the stage with next?
Reginwolf was a big one for us, I had been a fan for years of Jordan's work and when we were asked to play with him it was a no brainer. So many good acts out there but I would say Clutch, ZZ Top, or Red Fang would be high on the list these days.
What are some of the main themes behind the new album? What story are you trying to convey?
Mainly we wanted to release some fun covers that we thought people would like, and with Covid being in full swing at the time we really just wanted to engage with people in a different laid back way that we thought they might enjoy. The EP's title Year of the Jackalope is inspired by the year of Covid we all went through. I couldn't think of a crazier creature than the jackalope to symbolize the poo taco that 2020 was for most people.
Last but not least, is there any message you would like to share with your fans?
Thank you so much for your time! We are just grateful that our fans are who they are and for sticking with us through all this. Covid hasn't been easy on anyone, so we are humbled that people buy and stream our music, especially when many of them may be worrying about rent or food or their jobs during all this. Music isn't a necessity when you need to take care of yourself and family. We are grateful that people chose to stick by us.
Thank you Tom for joining us today! 20 Watt Tombstone's new EP Year of the Jackalope released in January and features great covers from ZZ Top and Chris Stapleton. The EP is available for streaming everywhere and for purchase on their Bandcamp page.