The first and only time I saw Grandaddy was as the opening band on the first U.S. Coldplay tour. While Coldplay were great (this was before Chris Martin made a career of writing on his hands), the real treat was Grandaddy. Music that was beautiful, filled with soul and passion that mesmerized the audience. When we learned that Jason Lytle has partnered with Earlimart’s Aaron Espinoza (another of our favorite bands) to form Admiral Radley, we expected magic. Their first album, “I Heart California” (released on iTunes on July 1st!) surpasses our lofty expectations. Jason remains one of the great American songwriters and his voice on this album continues to provide chills. We were fortunate to get Jason to spend a little time with us to talk about his time with Grandaddy, the music industry and trips to the salad bar.
TDOA: Jason, press articles reviewing Admiral Radley talk about how you “disappeared” for a while after Grandaddy broke up. Did you make a conscious decision to distance yourself from the music scene and if so, why?
JL: Yes. I seemed to have lost my appreciation for the business, promotional, and professional pressures that had managed to saturate my life. They came close to snuffing out my love for music all together. I left my hometown, and moved to the mountains. Montana, that is.
TDOA: How did you and Aaron connect and make the decision to form a band together?
JL: To tell you the truth, we had zero intention of forming a band. We just wanted to make an EP under “Earlidaddy”. All of a sudden the EP became an album’s worth of music and we both agreed that the name “Earlidaddy” stunk. Then we realized we wanted to sell some copies of this thing, and a few magical things happened, and Admiral Radley became the band’s name.
TDOA: I would think that each of you had a “process” for writing songs in your respective bands. Can you talk about how the songs on the new record were written? Lots of sending tracks back and forth to each other via email?
JL: 65% face to face in the studio collaboration, and 35% long distance file sharing. we both welcomed the fact that we were getting out of our comfort zones, in terms of writing and recording.
TDOA: I believe the first Admiral Radley show was played here at the Granada in Dallas. Can you talk about that first show, being on stage with a new group of people?
JL: We had rehearsed in LA for 5 days. Then we drove for two days straight to Dallas. We were cramped up and tired, so naturally we killed it! We had fun.
TDOA: The album is filled with the same kind of beautiful songs I would expect from an Earlimart/Grandaddy collaboration. And then there’s “I’m All Fucked On Beer” which will throw everyone off the trail. What made you decide to include this song that sounds so different from the rest?
JL: Aaron Espinoza has to take credit for this gem. I think he may have noticed that he had a lot of pretty songs, while I was racking up a few lighter weight songs, so he busted out this one to even things out a bit. Or that’s my theory.
TDOA: You’re releasing a “deluxe edition” of the new album which has some pretty nifty add-ons. Who came up with idea and is this what bands have to do in the age of downloading?
JL: It was a pretty collective decision, and yes….. there was definitely some thought put into making it more alluring than an easy “click of the button”. We are quite happy to make the product packed with as much care and personality as we can. I feel Grandaddy and Earlimart have always taken this thoughtful stance on album making.
TDOA: Will you do any videos for the songs on this record and how do you feel about making videos in general?
JL: Yes there will be videos, and there will be visuals, and they will probably be funny.
TDOA: Do you play Earlimart and Grandaddy songs at Admiral Radley shows?
JL: As of now we do not. But, there are talks about slyly integrating certain songs of each band’s into the set lists.
TDOA: What are you plans for the rest of 2010?
JL: Lots of travel. When I’m not traveling for music, I will be in the mountains, on my bike, on my skateboard, at a campsite, in my studio, maybe mowing the lawn, or paying some bills, or at a salad bar somewhere. That’s about it.