It’s true, and it’s so sad… but Matt and Jill have lost the holiday spirit this year. Will the company and incredible music of their friends John Faye & Sarah Herbert, Todd Chappelle, Dan Kauffman, Boy Wonder, The Honey Badgers, Rachel Schain, Sharon Sable, Brian Turner, and The Lords of Aspirin help them find their Yuletide joy?
Get ready for a fun and funny night as Hot Breakfast!, with the help of host and “narrator” Mark Rogers (Hometown Heroes WSTW), takes good-natured aim at the TV holiday variety shows of their youth in this unique concert event. It’ll be a live show filled with original music, laughter, surprises, and plenty of holiday cheer – the perfect way to celebrate the end of your Christmas shopping.
And as if that’s not enough – this will be your first chance to purchase the brand-new Holiday EP from Hot Breakfast!
So yep, it’s true… we have been recording a Christmas EP, and so far we’ve got four songs done out of the five. The song titles so far are “Everyone’s a Child When it Snows,” which is not particularly “Hot Breakfasty” in that it’s not funny or dorky, but quite sweet and a touch precious even… but we’re OK with it. Next is “Don’t Get Me Anything,” which is an upbeat fun thing which parrots our “anti-noun” “experiences over things” stance on gift giving. Up next is “Christmas is for Believers,” which is also not particularly funny, but has Matt’s clever wordplay and also a very honest, even-handed and kind way of approaching what could be a controversial topic: non-Christians who celebrate Christmas. The song that’s been sticking most in my head is a song called “Clean Blank Slate” which is a New Year song. It starts off saying something like “It’s January 1st and everything magically resets and all the bullshit that was going on last year just disappears,” and then the rest of the song is saying, “Yeah, wouldn’t it be nice if it was like that, but it isn’t.” When we were recording the backing vocals, we got the idea of burying a subliminal message in there… so we added some lyrics waaaay low down in the mix, and I’m really proud of what we did and how it came out. The final song we recorded is “The Holiday Shift” which has a similar feel to our 2013 hit “An Idiot for Christmas“, and is about a person who has to work on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day for the sales, but our hero actually likes the extra hours and overtime pay, and is happy to have an excuse not to hang with his family. We’ll also include our 2014 holiday song ” I’ll Be Home on Christmas Eve.” We weren’t going to include “An Idiot for Christmas” on this CD, but we realized it’s never been available on a CD before other than as a bonus track on 2015-printings of our 2012 self-titled EP. We know people love that song, so we wanted to make it more readily avilable.
We’re releasing this new Christmas EP at the show! We’re excited.
WHO: Hot Breakfast! Plus Mark Rogers of WSTW serving as the Narrator, along with a zillion other artists, including Rodd Chappelle, John Faye & Sarah Herbert, Dan Kauffman, Boy Wonder, The Honey Badgers, Rachel Schain, Sharon Sable, Brian Turner, and The Lords of Aspirin (Randy America and Dave Janney).
WHERE: World Cafe Live at the Queen, Upstairs. 500 N. Market St., Wilmington DE.
WHEN: Saturday, December 17, 2016, 8pm sharp!
WHY: To take an evening off from the hectic holiday season, and to spend it with friends, laughing and listening to music.
WHAT: A PG-13 family-friendly, non-denominational celebration of dorkitude and music!
TICKETS: Tickets are $16+fees. Buy them at the World Cafe Live website. NOTE: After purchasing your ticket, you MUST reserve a table at World Cafe Live at the Queen. Call (302) 994-1400.
FOOD: Plenty of food and drinks are available at World Cafe Live. It’s a restaurant as well as a music venue! Eat while you rock out. Don’t forget to make a reservation!
PARKING: There’s a parking lot right next to the venue on 5th St. between King St. and Market St. It’s usually $5. There will also be free street parking all around the venue. (Street Parking is free in Wilmington after 6pm.)
We love being Hot Breakfast!, Delaware’s premier acoustic dork-rock power duo. We love playing our songs, and we love our stage act, and we’re very lucky that we get to do what we do. Lately we’ve been getting to scratch a slightly different itch, by doing “support work” (also known as “utility playing”) where we are hired to bulk up other bands when they want a fuller sound in their live shows.
You’ve probably seen us do this utility work when we add guitars and backing vocals to the normally guitarless Joe Trainor Trio, or when we play 47 different instruments in various tribute shows (Billy Joel, Queen, Pink Floyd, Genesis, etc.) Just last week, our heroes Glim Dropper asked us to bulk up their numbers at the Homey Awards so they could play some David Bowie tunes to close out the night, and we jumped on that! They told us the songs, and the first time we played through them was on that stage in front of the audience… and it was A RUSH.
Some people get a rush by skydiving, skiing, or white-water rafting… but my kind of excitement is when professional musicians ask me to learn a song and then we play it live with next to no rehearsal. You rely on your talent (which you’re born with), your skills (which you hone over years of practicing and performing), and by opening a communication channel in your brain/heart which lets other musicians (who also know this unspoken and super-subtle language of musicians) communicate by feeling. Opening this communication channel is a very intimate thing– you’re letting people (people you admire, at that!) see your very core: they can see your skills and abilities, but also your shortcomings… where you were late on an entrance, where you were a touch sharp on a phrase. You’re very vulnerable there… but that’s also part of the rush because you need confidence to let people in. But hoo lordy though… when everyone’s plugged in, you’re part of this Borg-like collective… feeling who is leading a particular section, looking at each other to know who is going to take a solo, intuiting how we’re going to end this song that fades out on the album but we didn’t rehearse it… and sticking the landing. That is the ultimate rush for me, and it’s also the ultimate honor– because performing that kind of feat (hopefully) looks easy, but it’s like mountainclimbing with a buddy. You have to trust them entirely, because up there you do NOT have time for guessing or missed turns. So when a pro asks me to work with them on that type of project, it’s a HUGE honor, because it means they trust me and they believe in my skills, and they know that I’ll have their back just like they’ll have mine. It’s a beautiful thing.
In 2016, we have a bunch of supporting/utility shows and we are VERY excited about them! We actually have two in the month of March. The first supporting show is with Noelle Picara on 3/11, and the second is with Mark Thousands on 3/31. These are two musicians I respect very, very deeply. Noelle has a Masters Degree in music, and Mark has millions of worldwide touring miles under his wheels with his various bands.
On Friday, March 11th at 7pm, Noelle Picara is having a record release show for her album “My Own Frankenstein” which is coming out on vinyl only. How cool is that? To commemorate it, she’s putting together a really interesting and exciting show (plus it’s also one of her only shows in Wilmington in 2016, so this is the time to see her if you’re in Delaware). If you missed any of Noelle’s shows in the last two years, or if you want a rerun, you can get all of the highlights at this one show: songs from the 2014 performance of Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes, fun 80s covers from our sweeeet collaboration at the kickass Cooldog House Concert in December 2015, and new songs from Noelle’s original show “Alone With All of You: A Valentine’s Alternative.” In addition to us, Noelle’s band will also be augmented by Rachel Schain singing, Christina von Duyke on violin and voice, Sheila Hershey on cello and voice, Wes Morton on drums, and Sam Nobles on bass.
WHO: Noelle Picara and a bunch of people augmenting her band! WHAT: Noelle’s vinyl release show for her song “My Own Frankenstein.” She will have two opening bands and a rotating door of musicians to support her chameleon-like music! WHEN: FRIDAY, March 11th. The show starts at 7:00 with two opening bands, and Noelle is scheduled to start playing at 8:15ish. WHERE: World Cafe Live at the Queen, 500 N. Market Street, Wilmington, DE. TICKETS: Tickets are $10. Buy them online here, or at the door at the Queen. PARKING: There’s a parking lot on 5th, between King Street and Market, for $5. Best deal in town. Safe, comfortable, clean, guarded lot. FOOD: They’ve got a full kitchen and bar at The Queen, so come hungry and thirsty! FACEBOOK EVENT: Sure, if you’re into that sort of thing. Here it is!
Our second utility show of March will be at The Bellefonte Cafe on Thursday, March 31st at 8PM*, and we’ll be supporting the jaw-droppingly captivating Mark Thousands. If you’ve never experienced Mark Thousands, we’re hoping you’ll come to this show and have your doors blown off. When you first see Mark, you see this very tall, lean man with ridiculously awesome hair and many, many, many intricate tattoos. Sometimes, caehand and finger and neck tattoos can sometimes be nature’s way of saying “Do not touch,” but in Mark’s case, it’s the symbol for “I have beautiful stories and grand secrets to tell you if you’ll kindly listen.” His guitar skills are satiny smooth (I LOVE his alternate tunings!), and his voice is this seamless instrument that likely spans three octaves with no break. His pitch is dead-on. He takes his music so seriously, and every single note and phrase is hand-polished until it glistens and gleams burning a hole in your retina. I don’t normally get super-jazzed about mostly slow, cerebral, confessional singer/songwriter guitar songs… at a Mark Thousands performance, I hang on every. single. word. He’s astoundingly wonderful. And what’s cool? He asked me and Matt to support him as he pays tribute to one of his biggest heroes: David Bowie. We’ll be doing some interesting and unusual arrangements of a few Bowie songs– songs you know, and songs you may not. I promise they will be captivating.
WHO: Mark Thousands and the spirit of The Thin White Duke. WHAT: This is Mark’s show 100%. We’re just adding voices and guitar and keys to a few of the David Bowie songs he’s including in his set.
*WHEN: THURSDAY, March 31st. The show starts promptly at 8:00. (Normally shows start at 7pm at Bellefonte, so Mark’s 8pm start time may change. It also may not… it ain’t my show, and it’s not my venue. 🙂 Either way, stay tuned, or just double-check here before you leave the house. I promise to keep this updated.) WHERE: Bellefonte Cafe, 804 Brandywine Boulevard, Wilmington, DE. 19809 TICKETS: This is a free show, but musicians get paid when patrons stuff the tip jars. If you’re attending the show, think about how much you’d spend on a ticket and consider tipping in that ballpark. PARKING: There is plenty of free street parking in the neighborhood. FOOD: They’ve got a full kitchen and bar at Bellefonte, so come hungry and thirsty! If it’s been a while since you’ve been to Bellefonte, it’s under new owners, and they still have many things off Donna’s old menu, but the food comes out MUCH faster. 🙂 FACEBOOK EVENT: Allrighty, if you must. 🙂 Here it is!
We hope to see you at these shows! We promise they’ll be nothing short of wonderful.
A few weeks ago, our pal Rodney emailed me and asked me to put some vocals down on a new song of theirs called “Prisoner’s Cinema.” He said that The Dead Milkmen were going to be recording this song as a part of Weathervane Music’sShaking Through documentary series. These “Shaking Through” documentaries are really fascinating to watch, because you see amazingly talented musicians, engineers and producers working together to record a song at Weathervane’s gorgeous Miner Street Recording Studios. The whole thing just unfolds in front of you, and it’s just inspiring to see how other people work.
Rodney sent me a ruff of the track and told me where my vocals should go, but he didn’t write out any actual parts for me. I asked him if he had something specific in mind for me to sing or did he want me to come up with something, so he said (I paraphrase), “Make it yours! Have fun with it! We want this section to be something totally different than the rest of the song, hence female vocals. It’s kinda Irish-y in feel. Go for it!”
So I wrote this chorus-breakdown thing (using his lyrics and their chord changes) with a sorta Irish-sounding melody, and then arranged some lush double-tracked block harmonies, which pretty much nails the whole “something totally different than the rest of the song” requirement. (I love writing and recording layers of harmonies more than you could possibly know, so it was fun. Choir geek and all.)
I sent them a proof-of-concept quick-and-dirty thing just to make sure I was headed in the right direction and Rodney dug it. I recorded another cleaned-up version and all four guys unanimously loved it, so, woot!
I honestly thought that was the end of it. Like, I initially assumed that I was going to make studio-quality .wavs here at Knappshack Studios and email them to the guys to have them plunk into their ProTools session at Weathervane… I just naturally assumed I wouldn’t be part of the video, because nobody’s interested in me particularly… they want The Milkmen, and that’s totally reasonable. But Rodney assured me that they wanted me along for the videoshoot and to record it live, so YAY!
In the beginning, there wasn’t really anything for Matt to do, but once the guys rehearsed the song more, they agreed it made sense to have an acoustic guitar filling things out a bit… so yay, the gang’s all here!
So… we’re headed into the studio with The Dead Milkmen this weekend. I’m really, really excited! The Dead Milkmen are musical heroes of mine, and it’s crazy to think that almost 30 years after I first listened to their music I’m going to be collaborating with them in one of the best studios in Philadelphia as part of a documentary series about musical creativity and collaboration. PINCH ME!
I’m not going to explain the whole Weathervane and Shaking Through ethos here… you can visit their websites and get the story yourselves. (And if you’re looking for a wonderful charity to support, Weathervane is VERY worthy of your dollars.) But in a nutshell, “Shaking Through is a non-profit, community-produced documentary series about the vision and process of recording music.” (That’s a quote from the Shaking Through website.) So at the end of this weekend, we’ll have a new song recorded and mixed, and the whole process will be captured on video as well. There will also be enough footage collected so the Shaking Through people can put together a lush documentary about how the song was recorded. There’ll be interviews, chats with band members, footage of everyone actually playing and cutting tracks, and thoughts from the engineers, producers, and executive producers, too. But what’s EVEN COOLER is that while the cameras are rolling this weekend, you can actually watch the live stream! So anytime this weekend you can click a link and peek in and see how we’re doing in the studio. It’s not a performance– we’ll be working– but you’ll get to be a fly on the wall.
There will also be a chat window, so if you want to say hello, if you have questions for anyone in the studio (band members, engineers, producers, pizza guy, etc.) just type your question in! You can also chat with other people watching, too. It’s a very interactive, collaborative experience. You are absolutely encouraged to interact via the chat window while you’re watching, so please do!
For the musicians in the audience, a still-even-cooler-cooler-cooler byproduct of this Shaking Through session (in addition to the documentary and the finished song) will be the individual tracks of the songs for you to grab! So if anyone is interested in remixing or rearranging the song, they can take the parts we recorded, dump them into your favorite audio-manipulation-tool, and make a new song out of our ingredients. The Shaking Through website has a place for you to upload your new mixes so we can all hear them and collaborate further. It’s such an exciting time to be a musician.
Bottom line: Weathervane is remarkable, and Shaking Through is really something special. Weathervane’s people are thought leaders in the music industry, and we are absolutely honored that we get to be in a room with these folks and learn from them. We’re so grateful to The Dead Milkmen for their generosity in letting us be a part of this recording and experience. We can learn from this. “We can make famous friends, or we can make our friends famous.”
Musicians, there are so many opportunities for growth, sharing, and interacting out there, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Music isn’t a competition. It’s a connection. Let’s do this.
Ji11 & the Suburban Legend
(aka Jill & Matt)
WHO: The Dead Milkmen, with Hot Breakfast! tagging along and helping a bit WHAT: Recording a new Milkmen song, “Prisoner’s Cinema,” as part of Weathervane Music Collective’s Shaking Through documentary series. You’ll get to watch the recording and mixing live, and also interact with everyone via the chat window once you fire up YouTube WHERE: We’ll be in Philly. You’ll be watching it streaming live via YouTube via these links: Saturday’s Link. Sunday’s Link. WHEN: Saturday, January 17, from 11am – 8pm, and more studio goodness on Sunday, January 18 from 10:30 – 6pm. TICKETS: There are no tickets! You just fire up your browser (or your phone’s YouTube app) and watch!
FACEBOOK EVENT: Here ya go. (Note: We’re not mentioned on the Facebook invite. It’s The Dead Milkmen’s song, not ours. We are merely guests.)
We’ve been given permission to post the schedule for how the weekend is going to play out, who is recording what and when, etc. This schedule is only a guideline and may very well change a bit on the fly. Ya gotta be flexible in the studio, ya know. 🙂
For studio nerds: Here’s a link to the TRACK LISTING SPREADSHEET so you can see what instruments are on what tracks. Follow along at home! This will be used both days.
11:00am: CREW CALL / BAND CALL
Video Crew, band members, Executive Producers, recording crew will all arrive at the studio.
11:15 – 11:45: Pre-Session Meeting
Brian, Gabe, Jason and Karen, Matt Schimelfenig will talk about the schedule for the weekend. Light Fare – bagels, coffee, juice, etc.
11:45 – 1:45: Set-up
The band will set up their instruments and Engineer Matt Schimelfenig will set up all drums, bass, scratch guitar, keyboard and scratch vocal mic’s and set levels in preparation for recording the basic track.
1:45 – 2:30: Record Basic Track
The band will record the “basic track” of the song (scratch track). At this stage we prioritize getting a solid drum and bass take of the song, although sometimes the other scratch tracks will also contain “keeper” elements, as well.
2:30 – 3:30: Record Joe’s Guitars
Set-up Joe’s guitar amps in the live room. Re-record Joe’s scratch guitar, along with any additional electric guitar tracks by Joe. (We may switch Joe and Rodney’s times.)
3:30 – 4:00: Rodney’s keys
Set-up Rodney’s keyboards in the live room. Record a “double track” of Rodney’s basic keyboard take. Depending on how well the basic is performed, this track will either replace or serve as a double of the basic keyboard. (Note: We may switch Joe and Rodney’s times.)
4:00 – 5:00: LUNCH
TBD. All crew, production staff, band and Executive Producers will break to EAT.
Sunset @ 5:02 PM
5:00 – 5:45: Record Matt’s Guitars
Set up and record Matt Casarino’s (from Hot Breakfast!) acoustic guitar onto the the final basic track.
5:45 – 6:45: Jill’s Vocals
Record Jill Knapp’s (from Hot Breakfast!) vocals, harmonies, etc.
6:45 – 7:30: Bells + any odd overdubs
Record bells, percussion, oddball samples or effects. This will complete the recording of any instrumental parts for the song.
7:30 – 8:30 Rodney’s Vocals
Record Rodney’s final vocals. We’ll replace Rodney’s scratch vocal from earlier in the day. Rodney will run through the song 3 to 5 times, from which we will compile a final vocal track. This will complete the final tracking for the recording.
10:00am – 2:00pm: Interview
The video crew will interview the members of the band downstairs in the “black box”. (Note: at this time of year, the Black Box room is *cold*. Dress warmly!!!) This will likely include interviews with one person at a time, though there might be some sections of the interview that will include everyone in the band. The interview supplies the story / basic dialog arc for the episode which are edited together with the footage from Day 1.
12:00am – 2:30pm: “Quiet” Mixing
Engineer Matt Schimelfenig will begin mixing the song from Day 1. Because the Black Box room is beneath the studio’s control room, the general volume for mixing earlier in the day will be on the quiet side, so as to not disturb the interview that is happening below.
2:00pm: Hot Breakfast! arrives
2:30pm – 4:30pm: “Loud” Mixing
With the interviews completed downstairs, Matt will now work with any of the louder elements of mixing, which may include “re-amping” (ie. sending recorded elements from the day before through guitar amplifiers in the live room), or simply listening to the mix at louder volumes in order to put the finishing touches on the mix for presentation at the listening party.
4:30pm – 6:00pm: Wrap Party
All artists, video crew, production crew and Executive producers are invited to hear the final recording. We’re also inviting artists, crew and donors from previous and upcoming sessions this month to meet and celebrate the completion of another Shaking Through recording.