2012: Wrapped Up!
Taking some time on this New Year's eve to lay down a bit of what The Right Now did this year. We've been doing these year-end wrap ups since 2008 or so, and I'm thinking we can probably be more concise as the years go by. The first years consisted largely of "We played a gig! And people clapped! And then we drove a few hours and played another gig! And people clapped again! Can you believe it?!" They were basically 7-page essays that affirmed that yes, we are in fact a band doing things that bands do. This year will be wildly, dramatically different, I'm sure. I've got my Seasonal Ale from Anchor at hand, Cody Chesnutt's new Landing On A Hundred album on the stereo, and hopefully you're equipped similarly. Let's get to it.
For starters, The Right Now Gets Over You came out this year and we saw it hit the radio waves and grow in some new ways. There were a few remixes of "Call Girl" courtesy of Jason Kriv, Scott Wozniak, and a few other DJs, and there are plans for more. Hearing your own music remixed by someone else is an interesting experience - hearing what bits they highlighted, how they took apart your Lego project and built a new one with the same pieces. We started incorporating some of the remixed grooves into our live performance of the song - and that moment, switching from the original arrangement to the remix, was always a show highlight for me. One of those "Woo!" moments.
Making Gets Over You was a huge departure from the way we made our first album, Carry Me Home. With a minimum of overdubs and more of a live-in-the-room feel, there was a bigger emphasis on the performance. People mostly reacted well to the change; I'm sure the third album will take yet another approach. Radio stations like 88.9 Radio Milwaukee, CHIRP, KDHX, and WNCW really got behind the album, and we're really grateful for that. While that was happening, we started hearing reports of Carry Me Home songs showing up in all kinds of places - an episode of 90210, overhead speakers in Talbott's, Kohl's, Applebee's, and tons of other spots. Crazy what a publicist and a placement specialist can do for a band!
The other exciting development around Gets Over You was the distribution that we worked out with United Record Pressing. Not only did they help us get our "He Used To Be/Good Man" 7-inch single listed as an official Record Store Day release, but they helped distribute the album to brick-and-mortar stores all over the US and in Europe.
If you're reading this, chances are you've already seen our first music video for "He Used To Be," which came out earlier this year. We started out with a tiny budget and very modest goals - basically, just use some live footage from one of our Double Door shows, cut it with shots of Stef lip-synching the song, and have something that we could pass around youtube. Stef herself headed up the creative process, and with the help of Cameron Yergler, ended up with an actual video with a storyline and ever'thang. It was way beyond what we originally envisioned.
Hey, nice work, Stef and Cameron! Cheers to doin' somethin'.
We played only 48 shows in 2012 - way fewer than we've played in past years - but man, what great shows they were. We definitely traded quantity for quality, at least in terms of career advancement, accommodations, and overall niceness. The summer consisted mostly of festival gigs which were sweaty, but had some of the best audiences we've ever seen. Along the way, we got to share the stage with some really great acts - let the name dropping begin: Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 (who put on a stupendous show), Lee Fields & The Expressions, Escort (featuring Jason Kriv of our Call Girl remixes on bass), Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, Soulive, Souljazz Orchestra (don't confuse 'em), and at one festival, we played an afternoon set and caught Mr. John Legend later that night. We also opened for Grammy winner Ryan Shaw - and Stef got to sing "We've Got Love" as a duet with him, nearly 5 years after The Right Now (then known as Eli Jones) covered it at one of our shows. We also got to play a couple gigs with some of our favorite soul comrades: Bashiri Asad and DeRobert & The Half Truths. That particular triple-bill is just killer; hopefully we'll do more of those. There was the Record Release Party for Gets Over You, the MCA/Beastie Boys tribute show, a killer session at Audiotree with some real pretty video, and our first gigs on the west coast including a wedding attended by Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick. Surprisingly, Kyra's the better dancer. No, we didn't play Footloose.
We dipped in and out of using in-ear monitors onstage, courtesy of TRN family and FOH engineer Joe Shambro. For our Record Release show at Lincoln Hall, we had 12 musicians all with their own mix on in-ear monitors...no small feat, but it worked beautifully. Shambro!!
Behind the scenes, we had plenty going on too. While catching the Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues, Stef (along with others) got invited up to sing with the choir, and then she (sans the others) got invited to join the choir - so now when anyone hits Chicago's Gospel Brunch at HoB, they'll see Stef as part of the Determined choir. Killer! And Brendan, our keyboardist and bandleader, is going to be a father early next year; a role he's seemingly been preparing for for years.
Did I say something at the beginning about conciseness? Did I make this exact same apology in last year's write-up? Shit.
Well as we're fond of saying every year, we met so many great people in 2012, and we can't wait to meet more in 2013. If you came to a show, heard us on the radio and checked us out, told a friend, bought our album, or anything - we feel all of that and we appreciate it more than we can say. Next year, it's a big format switch for The Right Now, into youtube-only K-Pop releases!