The all-star, alt-country collective Golden Smog have announced the first dates of a
winter tour in support of their recently released second LP, Weird Tales.
Big Star drummer Jody Stephens is Golden Smog's latest addition to a lineup that
includes guitarist/singer Jeff Tweedy from Wilco, guitarist Gary Louris and bassist Marc
Perlman from the Jayhawks, guitarist Kraig Johnson of Run Westy Run and guitarist Dan
Murphy of Soul Asylum.
The informal ensemble began in the early '90s as a lark -- a tongue-in-cheek Midwestern
"supergroup" playing unlikely cover songs, such as a country-tinged version of Bad
Company's lumbering rock anthem "Shooting Star," as well as original material.
Weird Tales is made up entirely of new songs.
With nine dates scheduled and more to come, Golden Smog will circle the Northeast,
beginning with a Dec. 2 gig at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, before swinging south
and then sealing the deal in the Midwest with a Dec. 12 show at First Avenue in
Stephens, 46, is excited by the prospect of touring with his new bandmates.
"Gee, it's a pretty hefty schedule," Stephens said. "To some extent, it's going to be like
going to camp for a couple weeks. I really enjoy the people in the band. I think it's going
to be a good time and I think I'll emerge from this as a better drummer."
Johnson, whose contribution to Weird Tales includes the beer-soaked ballad
"If I Only Had a Car" (RealAudio excerpt), which he co-wrote on piano with Louris, described a typical day in the studio as
the group hammered out songs for the LP with producer Brian Paulson (Uncle Tupelo,
"Perlman shows up late, I'm on time and everybody sits around and waits for somebody
to say, 'OK, let's do my song,' " Johnson said. "Nobody wants their song to be done first,
but after the first few days, we just went in there and fooled around with different ideas.
Sometimes songs came out of it; other times we were like, 'OK, let's work on a song.' "
Golden Smog Tour Dates:
Dec. 2-3; Toronto, Ont., The Horseshoe Tavern
Dec. 4; Philadelphia, Pa., Theatre of Living Arts
Dec. 5; New York, N.Y., Irving Plaza
Dec. 7; Northampton, Mass., Pearl Street
Dec. 8; Boston, Mass., Paradise Rock Club
Dec. 9; Washington D.C., 9:30 Club
Dec. 11; Chicago, Ill., The Metro/ Smart Bar
Dec. 12; Minneapolis, Minn., First Avenue