Aaron Lee Tasjan returns to the UK this month to play a string of shows including Omeara London on 2nd November. Aaron released his current album Karma For Cheap in August.
Karma for Cheap is Tasjan’s third LP and second for his label New West Records, based in his current hometown of Nashville. The record was co-produced by ALT and his friends Jeff Trott (Stevie Nicks, Liz Phair, Meiko, Joshua Radin) and Gregory Lattimer (Albert Hammond Jr.) and features Aaron Lee’s road band—guitarist Brian Wright, bassist Tommy Scifres and drummer Seth Earnest—with whom he’s been touring heavily for the last two years.
We caught up with Aaron just before he headed to the UK. Some of these answers are hilarious and really did make us laugh a lot. I think his shows will not only be great music wise but I think he will have the crowd roaring with laughter too.
Hi Aaron how are you?
Shiny, sleepy and incandescent.
How has your week been?
Thrilling. Magic exists. Everyone should believe in fairies.
What have you been up to lately?
Well, let’s see…Sunday I watched a motorcycle race with Mike Ness from Social Distortion and his dog. Me and my band played his festival in Orange County California. I am writing for a new album. Lots of thrift store scouring for women’s sweaters from the 80s and 90s…have you seen those? Bowie-esque, the good ones.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, where you grew up? Your first memory of music and what point you decided music was the career you wanted?
Moved around a lot…Delaware, California, Ohio…apparently I’m funny…first concert was James Brown…my dad took me. I was 8 I think. First music obsession was Phantom Of The Opera. Had his whole outfit and a tape of the soundtrack. As a child, I used to knock on my neighbors door, press play on my boombox and perform a song or two for them.
Tell us a bit about the Berklee College of music as a lot of artists seem to have gone there? What were your fondest memories of it and do you recommend it?
I lasted a semester…kind of…great school though…good teachers. I left to make a living. I had to start early to make a living playing music.
Can you tell us a little bit about the album Karma for Cheap please?
It’s red and yellow and black…10 songs is a great length…all of them are true…sincerity is dangerous these days and I am a dangerous man. I use a lot of humour though, because I’ve cried enough already.
You describe the album as rough and ready, why is that?
Take a listen. It’s not exactly the Carpenters…but then again, I’ve only just begun…
How have the responses been for the album?
Mostly very good. A few reviewers hated it which makes me feel great. It’s good to move the needle. I want more art in my life that encourages people to think and feel.
Who did you work with on the album?
Jeff Trott, Greggory Lattimer, Brian Wright, Tommy Scifres, Seth Earnest, Sheryl Crow, Audley Freed, Eddie Spears, New West Records and the Devil.
Are there any songs that have had more reactions good or bad than others?
I really don’t pay close attention to that. My music will find it’s way to those who need it. A few journalists and music snobs have had the opinion that I’m trying to sound like someone other than me or something from the 1970s. I am not.
Tell us a bit about The Truth is so Hard to Believe, the story, writing process?
There is no process there is only Zuel. Truth is a wild animal. Keep your wits about you.
What is your favourite track to perform?
I don’t perform. I channel the elements.
How much creative freedom do your label allow you?
Tons. Probably a huge mistake but I love them for it.
What do you aim for when putting out an album? Do you care for awards, airplay, mainstream attention or anything like that or just for the music to heard by the right people, the right fans?
Per aspera ad astra.
What artists have responded positively to your music that has taken you by surprise?
I was surprised for a moment to hear that Alice Cooper was a fan. Apparently, his favorite singer is Nilsson. That’s what Brandy Goldsboro told me.
What was the first live show you ever went to?
What was the best live show you ever went to?
Do you remember the first song that you ever wrote? Was it good, bad….?
Not really. I had one as a kid. Kept in the kitchen drawer next to a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers watch I never wore.
You are on your way to the UK – what is it about the UK that brings you back?
How do the US and UK crowds differ?
Height, weight, age, income, accent and an especially pointless fixation on orthodontics.
Will you get to sight see much?
A wink is as good as a nod to a blonde bat. 🙂
If you could collaborate with any artist past or present who would it be and why?
Charlie Chaplin because of his monologue in The Great Dictator.
Which British artists do you listen to?
Spiritualized, Supergrass, most of the bands McGee signed, Yola Carter, Little Barrie, anything Jamie Hince plays on guitar and Johnny Marr, too.
What have you planned for the rest of the year?
Thanks so much for chatting today, I hope you enjoy your time here.