YEAH YEAH YEAHS on LATER With Jools Holland
I conducted the Capital Voices in the UK on my arrangement of SACRILEGE off the YEAH YEAH YEAHS new album SACRILEGE! We were on LATER with Jools Holland! I will blog later about the whirlwind 3 days I spent in the UK with the amazing Karen O, Brian Chase, Nick Zinner and David Pajo!!!
Check it out!
See below. This was the moment we got offstage at COACHELLA 4/19/13 after I conducted the Hollywood Gospel choir on SACRILEGE, the single from YEAH YEAH YEAHs album MOSQUITO!!! You can see how pumped Karen O, Nick Zinner and Brian Chase are, not to mention David Pajo and the choir. We really rocked our asses off, and it was even better than the week before. Everyone brought it all!!!!
It was an unbelievable week.
Well, I haven’t blogged since Sydney when I was with Karen O and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs doing the psycho opera that Karen wrote. And now, almost a year later, the YYYs single SACRILEGE was released and we rocked Letterman last night. Because everyone is asking me, I thought I’d post about how this all came to be.
One day in Sydney, Karen O told me that she had written a song for the upcoming new album of the YYYs, and the guys weren’t convinced about the song yet. She told me she had an idea for the song, and asked me if I would write a gospel choir arrangement at the end of it. She said, “kind of like ‘Like a Prayer’”. I went home to the hotel room, and listened to the chorus she sent me. I had no idea what the verses sounded like, just the chorus. I was so into the song, that I sat down right there and sang the vocal arrangement into Garage Band and sent it to her. I sang all the parts I heard in my head and wrote all these crazy funk lines to be sung behind her. At t his point, I’d like to acknowledge the Funkmaster, George Clinton….I recorded 5 albums with him in the 80′s and his funk is still in me!!! At brunch after our last performance at the Sydney Opera House, Karen O came over to me and said that she wanted to record what I had written when they got back to NY. So I called my friend Michael McElroy who is the director of Broadway Inspirational Voices, and hired him and his amazing choir to sing the arrangement. We doubled and tripled 24 people and the result was amazing. Needless to say, Nick and Brian were totally down with the song now.
Fast forward to a few months later, when I get an e-mail from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs manager asking me to give her a call. She informed me that the song was going to be the first single of MOSQUITO, the new album!!!
So, here is our performance last night on David Letterman, with the Broadway Inspirational Voices and me conducting SACRILEGE!!!
For those of you who may have missed it, STOP THE VIRGENS at St. Ann’s Warehouse, ran from October 12th-October 22nd and was an amazing experience to be involved with.
I was the choir director/conductor for the performance and there were 31 chorus members. Look at my lovely ladies backstage the night of our last performance. They were the best! I will post more later about the show, Karen O, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the rest of the whole cast and crew, but I just wanted to get this photo up now.
Now it’s a few months later, and 16, 000 miles later, and STOP THE VIRGENS is at the SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE!!! We open on Wednesday and do 5 performances. Conducting at The Sydney Opera House is majorly amazing. There is not much else to say about this iconic building, and the girls that we gathered for the acolyte virgens are all extremely present and wonderfully talented.
Here is a pic of the opera house I took the second day I got here. You see pictures of the Opera House all the time, but it’s not until you get up close do you feel like a tiny speck in front of it. It really has a vibe. A major ALIVE vibe. That picture I took of it at the bottom doesn’t do it justice, but trust me, it is magnificent.
Now we are waiting for a sound check for the band. They just finished installing KK Barrett’s amazing set, and I went into my own dressing room (yes with my name on the door, next door to an immortalized dressing room door that reads “MISS SUTHERLAND”).
More to come, but if you are in Sydney between May 30th and June 3rd….5 performances only of Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in STOP THE VIRGENS, (conducted by yours truly)…STOP BY!!! We will rock this iconic house!
Sydney Opera House!
It’s tax day. The day where everyone breathes a collective sigh of relief, or freaks out because they haven’t sent their taxes in.
Two months ago, my best friend in the world passed away in a freak biking accident in Florida. She was riding her bike (and no, she did not have a helmet on, but it wouldn’t have mattered in this instance) and some woman in a car hit her coming out of a parking lot. For some reason, tax day, like the rest of self-imposed deadlines in this country, didn’t resonate with me at all this year. For one thing I made me think of the word DEADline. “I on a DEADline.” “I have a DEADline to make.” Because after that DEADline, it’s OVER. Done. Finished. As that intermittent beating sound turns into that fateful long tone, you’re toast.
But Mary, your spirit and the sound of your laughter, your witty caustic humor and your gorgeous singing will always remain here, spinning around the ethers. I miss you terribly and love you.
I had a lot to think about in the two days following the bike accident, when we were all waiting to hear when Mary’s relatives would arrive to basically, pull the plug, as they say. She apparently had no brain activity, and was lying there in some bizarre state of limbo. I thought about how angry she must’ve been (wherever her consciousness was then floating around) that it had to happen this way. She had just gotten her life together and was in such a good place. I was in New York deciding whether or not to go down to Florida or whether I should just remember my dear friend the way I had seen her before she left – - hopeful and surrendered. I decided not to go, but it didn’t mean that she wasn’t in my heart, and still is everyday. I think of her often, and all of her closest friends and her relatives are creating a memorial tribute for her on May 23rd at St. Peter’s Church at 6:30 p.m.
If you know nothing about Mary Cleere Haran, please go to iTunes and download anything or everything she has ever recorded. You won’t be disappointed. Trust me.
Mary, it’s tax day, and I made my deadline and thought of you.
I have been having the most amazing time Musical Directing/Conducting Prometheus Bound in Cambridge, Mass., at A.R.T. For those of you who don’t know anything about the piece, please click here:
Prometheus Bound at ART
and get your tickets now for our final week!!!
The band is STELLAR and we are having the greatest time! The audiences are fantastic and really get the show. It’s hard to imagine an ancient Greek tragedy as told by a rock concert, but that’s what it is. There is no proscenium stage, the action takes place all around you, and it is immensely effective!
We’ve gotten great reviews as well, and some of them really capture what the piece is all about, like this one which came out yesterday:
Prometheus Bound Musical Shines At Bostons Club Oberon
I have missed being in NY and am looking forward to going back…but Prometheus Band, Cast and Crew and everyone at A.R.T. have been fantastic and this is one of those experiences I will never forget!!!