After spending a long and strange career as the legendary “Tambourine Man” for the Brian Jonestown Massacre, tambourinist/percussionist Joel Gion has emerged with his debut LP “Apple Bonkers”, an armload of his own music done his own way.
“With all the BJM members now living so spread out across the world, I found myself increasingly missing the album making process. This feeling of disconnect is what kick started me into exploring my own song writing process and turned out to be a hugely important piece of self discovery. No more time for my beloved laziness. So I made my own music with a with bunch of friends in the studio coming and going and having a great time creating. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised by this album.“ – Joel
The fruit of Gion’s sonic explorations, “Apple Bonkers” (a co-release with The Reverberation Appreciation Society and The Committee to Keep Music Evil), showcases Joel’s talent as a songwriter, singer, and guitarist. While Gion’s depiction as the side-burned, hep-talking, sunglass-wearing star of the 2004 rockumentary “Dig!” casts a long shadow, the ten tracks of “Apple Bonkers” shows a different side of the jester of psych-rock’s highest court. Over 10 tracks we find Joel at his most creative and captain of his own ship.
As might be expected, there are plenty of classic 1960s sounds, but the sonic palette spans decades, colored by timeless touchstones of Joel’s record collection – shoe-gaze, post-punk, psychedelia, alt-country and mod/beat music, it’s all there – as are a healthy collection of great guest musicians, including several current and former members of the BJM and other west coast friends.
Co-produced by current BJM members Collin Hegna and Rob Campanella, “Apple Bonkers” also features contributions by Jonestown members Daniel Allaire and Matt Hollywood, along with former BJM members Jeffrey Davies and Miranda Lee Richards. Also along for the ride: Pete Holmstrom of The Dandy Warhols, Ryan Van Kriedt of the The Asteroid #4/Dead Skeletons and Jason “Plucky” Anchondo of the Warlocks/ Spindrift.
Much more than getting by with a little help from his West Coast friends, “Apple Bonkers” sees Gion leading the trip to a psychedelic land of honest-to-goodness rock and roll.
Joel’s fellow bandmates aren’t the only ones who have left Gion’s San Francisco neighborhood, and the album title “Apple Bonkers” is in reference to a city changed by an influx of tech startups and higher rents, for better or worse. There’s a serious tone to the album that might surprise some listeners, shaded by the sometimes insane realities of the world in the year 2014.
But Joel has a message for listeners in the final track of the album: “Don’t Let The Fuckers Bring You Down” and invites us to live a little, leave the bullshit behind and enjoy some rock and roll sunshine with your friends.
Apple Bonkers will be released August 18 (UK) / 19 (US) via a co-release between The Reverberation Appreciation Society and The Committee To Keep Music Evil. Available in LP, CD and DIGITAL formats, and a limited edition cassette on Burger Records.