For almost 30 years, Jody Porter has helped shape the sound of underground and mainstream rock.
Known for his unique fretwork and very "British" playing style, he first garnered attention as a member of London-based shoegazing trailblazers the Belltower in the early Nineties, later enjoying massive chart success with Fountains of Wayne.
These days, Porter is deep into his solo career and is set to release his third album, Pacifier, in January 2017. In fact, you can check out our exclusive premiere of a powerful, dreamy and riff-driven Pacifier track, "Pick Yer Poison," below.
The album, which was written, performed and produced by Porter, was recorded—in a month—at Intrinsic Recording in Stafford, Virginia, with JP Maheu and mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London with Mark Owen.
"I first started writing the album in LA last year," Porter says. "I spent a lot of time in Venice, California, with the Pacific Ocean as my backdrop rather than the New York City snow for inspiration. It probably influenced the songs to some degree as the music itself is more upbeat than my last one [2013's Month of Mondays]. Pacifier will make a few rounds before I decide to put it out on my own label, New Departure Records, in January.
"I invited a few mates, including Brian Young from Fountains of Wayne, as well as Cobb Ervin and Matty Amendola, to play drums on the ones I didn't do myself. In terms of guitars I used, it's mostly Telecasters with some ES-335s and my coveted '57 Les Paul Jr. for overdubs. P90 Club, raise your right hand!
"Amps were my '66 Bandmaster, which hasn't been plugged in since I was a kid. It reminded me of getting belted with electricity when I started at age 6. Then there's my AC-30 stash and the go-to recording amp of choice, the JC800. The recording process for vocals at Intrinsic was simple. I was on an Iggy kick so I used the tried-and-true SM57 on a few of the punkier tracks. The Telefunken did most of the work for the others, despite the fact that there was an arsenal to chose from at the studio.
"I wanted to record it fast and not lose the vision, so there are a lot of first takes [on the album]. I've learned over the last two decades that you can lose the song by being a perfectionist. You've just gotta whip it up sometimes. It was a quick, fun album to make and probably my favorite of my solo albums. I'm waiting to put the Pacifier in your ears."
While Porter was in LA, he was asked to work on the new Monkees album—Good Times!—which was released earlier this year. The album, which represents the band's best work since 1969's Instant Replay or The Monkees Present, is a clever mix of new and old (but mostly previously unreleased) recordings and compositions.
The guys—Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith—finished up some vintage leftover tracks, wrote several new tunes and solicited material from a host of talented writers, including Paul Weller. They even completed a vintage Jones-fronted number, "Love to Love," to make sure their deceased bandmate was part of the project. Jones died in 2012.
"I was brought in to work on the album, which Adam Schlesinger and Brian from Fountains of Wayne had also played on," Porter says. "Adam called me late last year to write a song for it, which turned out to sound much like the title track, "Good Times," which was in the vaults and no one had heard. When I first heard it, I thought, 'Cool, I got to write a song for the Monkees.' Then I realized it was a song Harry Nilsson wrote for them in the Seventies with a very similar chord structure.
"I had a laugh about that because the song sounds like the Rutles. Oh well, it was still was cool to play with those guys. The album has songs penned by some greats like Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller, Andy Partridge and many others. It's one to tell the grandchildren about for sure."