Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Living Backwards in Time

Friday, July 31st, 2020

We’ve got another set of new/old songs for August’s First Friday event on Bandcamp. It won’t be out till Friday, but you can hear “Pong” right now on BrooklynVegan.

But we’ve also got a more momentous announcement: we’ve been having so much fun recording again, and have found the process of writing one or two new ones for each old one we revisit so inspiring, that we’ve decided to record a complete album that way.

Yup: we’re working on our first album of new material in almost a quarter of a century. It’s tentatively titled Last Century, because half the songs were written in the literal last century, and half the songs are being written in this, which sometimes feels as though it might be humanity’s last.

You can hear the latest fruits of that approach on August 7, when we release “Pong,” a brand new song, backed with the long-overdue studio version of “Hey Merlin!,” a tune we demoed for Cereal Killers but never officially recorded (though the original, live-to-two-track demo has surfaced on the fan-club only single Dr. Seuss is Dead, as well as the Gods and Sods compilation.

We’ve set up an IndieGoGo campaign to help fund the recording, so if you want to pre-order a copy of the album before it officially exists, you can do so there for $10, or you can contribute even more in exchange for various perks.

New Much Joy

Friday, July 3rd, 2020

As bored as everybody else while self-isolating in June, Too Much Joy decided to see if they could complete a couple of songs in time for the next Bandcamp First Friday.

The result is New Memories, a 3-track EP. New Memories parts 1 and 2 were written and recorded June, 2020. Snow Day was written in the early ’90s, but never recorded till now.

Sandy and Tommy laid down the rhythm tracks at Riverworks, with the patient assistance of Matt Noble. Bill added his parts in his home studio, Jay recorded his with the help of his son Leo at home in Los Angeles, and Tim added his vocals at Anu Kirk’s home in San Francisco.

TMJ Rarities

Friday, June 5th, 2020

Bandcamp has been waiving their commission on the first Friday of every month, so TMJ is celebrating by making some rarities more widely available. Go to our bandcamp page to get the following goodies:

  • Dr. Seuss is Dead, a fan club 7″ from 1994 with three songs we promised we’d never make available in any other medium. Oops.
  • Mystery Limousine, a song we wrote in the early-’90s but never recorded until the aughts, originally released as a free download in Christmas, 2009 on this site
  • The Lost Album, which is all the songs we wrote after Mutiny but before Sandy left the band. Most of them came out on Gods and Sods or the Crack reissue, but it includes Sandy’s original bass and vocal parts on 5 songs that came out in slightly different versions on …finally, all sequenced as they might have been if it hadn’t taken us four fucking years to get another record deal.

Oh, looks like Topspin media, the company we used to power all the free streaming on this site, has gone out of business. So there are now just empty spaces next to all the old albums, and in a lot of random posts that used to have media players attached. Bummer. It’s gonna take us a while to swap them all out using some other solution, so please bear with us in the meantime.

A Brand New Old Song

Monday, March 18th, 2019

A couple months ago, Sandy was lamenting that the band had never really done justice to “Death Ray Machine,” a song we’d only ever recorded live to two track. Since Tim was going to be passing through NYC the following week, we decided to book some time in a studio and see if we could bang out a version that had the same energy as that live recording, but could finally be mixed properly.

So that’s what we did. Matt Noble recorded the basic tracks in New York, Johannes Luley captured some more in Los Angeles, and, since we were harking back to olden times, our pal Michael James, who produced Son of Sam I Am, mixed everything together with his customary aplomb (you can follow his exploits on social media using the very descriptive hashtag, #MichaelJamesProducer).

You can hear how it came out below (you can also buy it at Bandcamp, if you’d like to help us pay Michael James what he deserves, and/or persuade us we should do more of this type of thing).

We’re so pleased with the results, we’ve been discussing what other songs we wrote but failed to record might benefit from a similar treatment. Here are four contenders. If you have a preference, let us know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

We Are Not the Clash (or are we?)

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Two Februaries ago, Bill, Jay, Sandy, Tim, and Tommy spent a night at The Loft, the recording studio in Bronxville, NY where Too Much Joy first started recording. We were there to bash out a cover of “We Are The Clash” for a tribute album to Cut the Crap, the Clash’s worst record, which came out on Record Store Day, 2017. Four bottles of wine later, we’d not only finished the Clash tune, but had written and recorded a new, more realistic one: “We Are Not the Clash.”

We always figured they belonged together, and thanks to Matt Flood’s Asbestos Records, now they are, on a 7″ single with very fitting cover art. You can order it now from Asbestos for just six semolians.

What I Learned in Jail

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017


2 Live CrewThe following is a presentation Tim gave at this year’s Pop Conference, about Too Much Joy’s brief moment of playing protest music, and what that taught him about the skepticism that so often greets artists who take political stands. It’s long, but he still left lots of stuff out.
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We Are The Clash

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017


RecuttingTheCrap_LPback

For Record Store Day this year (April 22nd), Crooked Beat is putting out a tribute to the final Clash LP, Cut the Crap. It’s not the band’s best record, but it did boast “This is England,” and also “We Are The Clash,” a title so funny that Too Much Joy almost stole it for what eventually became Cereal Killers. When we found out about the project, we asked if anyone had taken that one yet, and when the label said no and asked if we wanted to participate, we said, “Fuck yeah.”

So there will be a “new” Too Much Joy song out in the world on Record Store Day. We recorded it last year at The Loft in Bronxville (same place all the songs on Green Eggs and Crack were done) in a quick one night session, aided by the inimitable Al Hemberger and five bottles of Rioja (one for each band member, as both Bill Wittman and Sandy Smallens joined in). We were having so much fun we also wrote and recorded a companion piece on the spot. That one’s called “We Aren’t The Clash,” and we’re in the process of figuring out the best way to get that one out into the world, too.

More details on the full tribute album, titled Recutting the Crap, on Crooked Beats’ Facebook page:

Song of the Week: Sandbox

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Our Cereal Killers celebration continues with “Sandbox,” one of the songs on the disc that earned cries of “overproduced,” even though all the bells and whistles were put on there at the band’s insistence and, in a few cases, over producer Paul Fox’s strenuous objections.

This was one of the hardest to nail down during the couple weeks of pre-production in L.A. during which we played each song live for Paul over and over again, finalizing the arrangements. I remember Paul telling Jay the guitar part should sound like an Al Green number, and Jay’s repeated inability to mimic Teenie Hodges was a source of much frustration. All of which may explain why the song never made into the set on tour.

But I adored the finished product, and still do, as all the accoutrements — those horns, the effects on the harmonies, that odd guitar broing! in the “where is the sun?” bit — are exactly what major label production budgets are for, as far as I’m concerned. Plus, I love any excuse to attempt a falsetto.

Lyrically, the song owes a huge debt to Paul Quarrington’s novel, Whale Music, which itself owes a huge debt to the life of Brian Wilson. I can’t recommend the book highly enough: it’s funny and sad and incredibly wise about the creative process and what happens when it runs headlong into business concerns and an audience’s expectations.

I hadn’t encountered any of that, myself, but the mere act of Christmas shopping in a mall was giving me an existential crisis, so I found myself wishing I had a better excuse to go crazy.

UPDATE:  Drummer Tommy Vinton just sent along his own memories of this one.

I was definitely the “anti-production purist” in the band. Give me raw drums, guitar, bass, vocals, and I’m a happy camper. Enter Sandbox. Not the Metallica song, but the TMJ song. I remember having to go back and forth between LA and New York to play cop in the Bronx, all while the CK recording process was going on. Each time I would return to LA to continue recording, it seemed “Sandbox” was growing producer tentacles. Horns, bells, whistles, keyboards…you name it! Being the purist I am, I suggested (it might have been Sandy and I that suggested) we do this off-tempo breakdown part in the middle. It was a cool 3/4 to 4/4 time signature, back to 3/4 and 4/4 and so on (a half-assed attempt at trying to be like Rush). Nothing that complicated, but complicated enough to cast doubts in the mind of our producer Paul Fox as to whether or not it should be part of the song. Paul reluctantly agreed to the part, and it soon became this part of the song where Sandy and I, drums and bass, stood alone for a few seconds, away from all the crazy other production going on in the song. That, mixed with all the other cool stuff going on made me like the song. A lot.

Ahhhhhhh the 90s

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Alt Rock for the Alt TextClinton had just been elected. Edgy ‘alt rock’ ruled the radio.

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The Twin Towers stood viagra professional proudly. And an intrepid and inebriated http://cialistadalafils.com/ foursome from the tony suburbs of NYC were at the peak of their live powers. Don’t believe us? Then download this recently unearthed, cassette-only audience recording of Too Much Joy live from the now-defunct A.L. Gators, somewhere in Maryland. No, it ain’t in dolby sound, and should probably be labeled “for fans only,” but that’s pretty much the only folks reading this post right now. The canadian online casinos recording comes courtesy of Portland, OR radio kingping/Arena Rock records founder Greg Glover, and was lovingly mastered by TMJ studio collaborator Roy Matthews. Thanks to both of them.

Download the show track by track here.

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Download the entire show in one file here.

Song of the Week: William Holden Caulfield

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

catcher-in-the-rye-coverJ.D. Salinger died today. He was 91. He was also something that’s very hard to imagine in 21st century America: allergic to fame.

Like most alienated youth, we loved the way The Catcher in the Rye spoke to us, about us. And like a lot of over-educated alienated youth, we moved on from Catcher in the Rye to Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, and the rest. If you haven’t read “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” go do so now.

“William Holden Caulfield” owes more than just 2/3 of its title to Salinger. It’s all about a fierce desire to maintain Holden Caulfield’s jaded but idealistic mindset into adulthood, and the fear that doing so might not be possible.

Typing this today, as an almost-45 year-old (which means I’m not even halfway to the grave, if I live as long as Salinger managed), I have to say we were half right. A lot of that adolescent insistence that things should be more just and anyone who settles for less is a sell-out does, in fact, bleed away, no matter how hard you try to prevent it from happening.

But not all of it. Never all of it.

In memory of Mr. Salinger, the band is giving away a live version of “William Holden Caulfield.”

Download a Live Version Free!

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