Kicking & Screaming: Week #5

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Welcome back to the blog mini-series where I write about my experience running a Kickstarter campaign to help release an album.

At the time of writing, there’s just under a week to go with the campaign. At the time of publication, there will be one day left. The good new is, we made it. Funded! Though right now’s your last chance to pre-purchase the album, if you like.

A happy ending with the drama of uncertainty behind and the drama of complex work ahead.

In the title of my campaign, I refer to this as a “Once-in-a-Lifetime” album. My logic being that it’s exceptionally rare to bring fourteen people from as far apart as Los Angeles and Florence, Italy to play live together in a room for three days. It’s technically accurate to say “once-in-a-lifetime” as that group of folks will probably never be reassembled and that music couldn’t be precisely recreated even if they were.

But in 2003 I brought thirteen people from New York and Chicago to play live together for two days in the studio. We recorded a double-album’s worth of music I’d written; avant-garde big band compositions.

It was the most ambitious and most expensive project I’d undertaken at that point, and—I felt strongly—the best work I’d yet made. I shopped the album for a year but couldn’t find anyone to release it. This was at a point in my life when labels were actually putting out some of my albums.

That failure induced a disillusion and break with the avant-garde/free jazz world and I shifted my focus to rock and songwriting. But having that album remain unreleased has been a point of contention and discomfort for over a decade.

It’s not my only unreleased album, but it was my first big one. That lingering experience is part of what motivated me to act with No Country Music—the album I’m pre-selling now. It still breaks my heart to listen to my big band record. Sure, No Country Music is better (and I hope I feel the same about whatever I’m working on a decade from now) but I should have found a way to release it, if for no other reason than to free myself up to move on with my life. I decided I couldn’t let yet another album fall away without putting up more of a fight.

Maybe “Kicking & Screaming” was a more apt title for this blog than I initially realized?


Scott Pinkmountain is a writer and musician living in California. He is the creator and host of The History Channeler comedy podcast and has written for This American Life, A Public Space, HTMLGIANT, and other publications. He has also released dozens of albums of both instrumental music and songs including the recent No Country Music. He can be found at http://www.scottpinkmountain.com/. More from this author →