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Space Bar cover art

Space Bar

The new Great Magnet album is available in our shop and these fine places:

When Keepin' It Real Goes RIGHT!

By Adam Sullivan, March 11, 2013

I’ve ranted on before about how deeply and positively this lineup of musicians has affected my own improvisational skills. In fact all four of us have had some golden moments that made it all the way from the band room to our new record Space Bar completely intact and un-edited. Let’s take a look at two that made the cut…


Jason Shredds

This song is so “floatey”. I’d always envisioned a really sweet Hendrix-ey thing wafting over the top of it, and frankly I just don’t have the chops m’self. I’d always played a two bar lead-in to the first verse that gives a taste of that (it’s still there) but my feel for such nuances being what they are, I slipped a spaced-out honkey-tonk piano underneath the part just to bolster my own resolve. As such, right from the moment I even started considering putting Jason in this band, I’d already made up my mind that he was gonna do that shit some proper justice. And I was not disappointed.

But what is particularly magyckal about the Hendrixy lead that winds throughout Noose is that it is improvised live and not overdubbed. In the words of the master…

“The lead part in Noose was improvised and tracked live in the room with the band—no overdubs, no little fixes. The bulk of my rhythm parts were also tracked with the band, but I think I’m most proud of this track.”

Well, two can play that game, meestohr: My own coop-dee-gracie moment on Space Bar came stumbling out of its jam-cave on…


The intro jam to this song was so fuggin’ long that we decided to split it onto its own track. If you’re one of the kewl kids, you’ll already know it by its new name, Lemon Meringo Star Party

Lemon Meringo Star Party by Great Magnet

…but in truth it’s very much a part (in rhythm and key) of the whole Charlene juggernaut, and bourne of band room jams off its central theme.

Call it what you will, this two-minute jaunt is another moment of pure improvisation based on the idea of Jason and I playing two completely different leads at the same time and yet somehow not managing to step on each others’ toes. It’s not even really a “call-and-response” thing in the classic blues sense of things. It’s just, well two leads that are hiking up to the same peak wearing different brands of shoes. We’d been working it out for quite a while, and the recorded take that made it onto Space Bar is the apex of that goal.

Now, granted, my lead is not gonna make it into any Guitar Player Magazine ”Best Leads of 2012” articles from a perspective of technique. But believe me when I say that for my own part, getting through two+ solid minutes of improv without crapping out a couple of clams AND getting the point of the musical experiment across…well, that’s pure gold.

Lemon Meringo Star Party, by the way, was what we were gonna call this album. I know.