Chandler Travis Shares New Album Waving Kissyhead Vol. 2 & 1, Talks Altering His Course and Fun Tour Memories

Michael Brummett + Meredith Schneider

by Belinda Rawlins

The Chandler Travis Philharmonic just released their new album Waving Kissyhead Vol. 2 & 1 on February 10th. With its burst of pure energy and beautiful attention to detail, the album is one that we believe should be in everyone’s collection. So get a listen here, pick up your copy before they run out, and then delve into the interview below. Travis is quite the witty man, if we do say so ourselves.

Why music?

Because they just demolished all the toll booths in Massachusetts in favor of doing that electronically, so my first choice wasn’t available.

Talk us through your evolution as an artist and performer. You have quite the background. How have you changed?

I smoke much less pot now, which has made me much more productive. Hoping to start traveling more in the next few years for no good reason, which I’m hoping will combat the productivity.

How do you continually find the inspired to keep creating music?

If you truly mean “find the inspired”, I’ve been absolutely blessed in terms of finding amazing musicians who have for some strange reason consented to collaraborate with me, which has been absolutely key, and I seek this situations out relentlessly, having noticed now much better my music sounds when accompanied by stone geniuses like past and present bandmates Keiichi Hashimoto, Keith Spring, Dick Wetmore, Rikki Bates, Art Baron, Dinty Child, Sam Wood, Berke McKelvey, John Clark, and many others.

If you mean “find the inspiration”, it’s in listening to the endless well of great music of the past and present, and wanting to contribute, and being fortunate enough to get a lot of tunes floating around in my head most of the time and to have a real obsession.

Where do you feel the most comfortable as an artist? On stage, in the studio, somewhere else?

I don’t know -any place can be very right or very wrong, it’s really hard to predict, which always keeps things interesting. For instance, it seems like when the sound test goes really great, the show frequently doesn’t; and some of the best shows happen when you’re beyond exhausted. Life is a crap shoot!

Is there a particularly challenging moment that has defined your journey so far?

Not really, though the gig in Cambridge at the Lizard Lounge in 1996 or whenever it was when I first played with a horn section certainly radically altered my course. I was playing as a special guest, and my new friend Dinty Child had asked if I wanted any special instrumentation, and I (probably jokingly) said “sure, bring on the horn section and chick singers” (having noticed that rich, elderly musicians frequently resorted to that when they’d run out of ideas), and he actually got the horn section, including an incredible trumpet player named Keiichi Hashimoto, and low and behold, my future was altered in a way I never would’ve envisioned. It also eventually led to using keys, which I’d never had much use for and now use almost constantly. And to meeting and working with that list of geniuses above. Golly!

Where do you see the future of music heading?

Never think about it… sure hope they get past the caveman part of electronic music soon, and that music regains its power to really dazzle and unify people again (kind of seems like it’s going through a period of just being a nuisance, having been slammed at us through every orifice for decades now; certainly grateful to have come of age in the sixties!)

What’s the most interesting experience you’ve had, across all the touring and traveling under your belt?

Jeese, these are hard! For some reason, the time we did a record release party at a Bickford’s pancake house in Somerville, MA., comes to mind. I just blindly asked them if they’d be interested, and amazingly they not only said yes, but baked us a special cake and charged us nothing! We did it at about noon, so the place was half full of our fans, all night time people who were completely dis-placed and befuddled by the hour and location, and regular Bickford’s diners of all ages (many elderly), who of course couldn’t figure out what a nine piece band was doing there. Everyone got along splendidly -truly a hallucinatory experience!

Do you have a dream collaboration with another artist, producer, or someone else?

I’d love to work with Terry Adams (of NRBQ, who I have already worked with some), my neighbor and longtime friend Patty Larkin, and Van Dyke Parks. And to write a musical (working on one now, in fact), and to score a dramatic movie (which sounds like a lot of work, but, still…)

If you could introduce yourself to an audience in any way, no constraints, how would you?

I do that all the time; apparently, very haphazardly. Learning how to do that properly is apparently my lifetime assignment, and one I know I’ll never feel I completed.

Anything else you’d like to let the readers of Impose Magazine know?

Two things: the new Chandler Travis Pilharmonic album, “Waving Kissyhead, Vol. 2 & 1”, is kind of a party; it is, I hope, completely different from both the last album I was involved with and the next.

And, my address is Box 113, Eastham, MA 02642; please send either music or money. Or both!

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Keep up with the Chandler Travis Philharmonic here.

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