Arts & Entertainment: Missionary Position frontman gears up for busy 2013

It’s already shaping up to be a hectic 2013 for Tacoma native Jeff Angell who finds himself in the enviable position of fronting not one but two popular Seattle bands. One, the Missionary Position, will play songs from its sophomore album, “Consequences,” on Jan. 5, at Jazzbones, 2803 6th Ave.    And recently, Angell and his Missionary band mate, keyboard player Benjamin Anderson, found themselves unexpectedly in a new, budding super-group called Walking Papers, which also includes Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees and Mad Season fame and Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver, with contributions from Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready. That band released its self-titled debut album in October to critical acclaim at home and abroad. And Angell recently gave the Weekly a call to discuss what may be his most prolific musical year to date.

TW: So how did Walking Papers come together? 

Angell: Missionary Position opened some shows for some band that Barrett had. So we kind of made friends with him, and he actually played some upright (bass) and some percussion on “Consequences.”  He’s pretty serious about jammin’. I thought we were just playin’ for fun, and he was kind of recordin’ it and goin’, “Hey we’re makin’ a record.” So within six or eight practices he was like, “I have some studio time for this other thing I’m doin’. So if you want to come down, and we’ll just record some of the songs.” And there was enough there to get a record goin’. 

TW: So this year you’ve been mostly in Walking Papers mode, and now you’re about to transition back into Missionary Position mode. 

Angell: We’re kind of hoping that when the Walking Papers stuff slows down, after the next round of tours, then we’ll maybe release another Missionary Position record. With new connections and a new network, hopefully we’ll get that thing over to Europe. 

TW: So you have the songs ready and you’re just kind of tying it to...

Angell: Yeah, still finishing touches. Sometimes you’ve gotta let ‘em marinate for a while and then come back to them and see how you feel about ‘em. It’s hard to maintain being objective when you get too close to it. That’s why it’s kind of nice to have a different project to work on. You put the one down for a minute, and then you go do the other thing. When you come back to it you have a new, clearer perspective. 

TW: Tell me what direction you’re going in for the third record. 

Angell: Well, for one thing, we recorded it totally in live chunks. We’d redo the vocals, but (we used) no Pro Tools or edits or anything like that. So it went totally organic. We intentionally left a lot of warts and crooked teeth and hair on it. The last record, we went kind of the opposite and tried to make it really meticulously tight and produced. That’s one thing. But also ... Ben has done a lot of ambient music before. So we kind of pulled that into it a little bit and mixed it with what we do. There’s still some Nick Cavey, Tom Waitsy kind of stuff in there. But now there are some ambient, droney qualities that I think are really cool. 

TW: When and where did you record this one? 

Angell: All the other records we recorded at our own studio here in Seattle. This time we built a studio over in Spokane for a friend, so he was kind enough to let us use it. Our friend Dan Spalding, who’s played some upright bass and some saxophone and stuff with us at different shows, it’s his studio. ... So this time we totally removed ourselves from Seattle and Tacoma and turned our phones off and just completely focused on it, which made it come together really quick. 

TW: And you said you’re already working on the next Walking Papers. 

Angell: Yeah, we recorded five new songs for that already. We recorded one at Joshua Tree, down there where the Queens of the Stone Age do their “Desert Sessions.” A couple of guys who play with Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal have their own studio there. We recorded some there, and we recorded some at Avast up here. 

TW: Did you work with (Queens leader) Josh Homme and those guys?

Angell: Oh no, it was Dave Catching. It was his studio, but that’s where they recorded that stuff down there. I’m kind of friends with those guys, and Barrett played all over the “Rated R” record. Josh wasn’t even there, but Dave Catching and Brian (O’Connor) from the Eagles of Death Metal were hangin’ around, and we did some jams and stuff. But we’re not writing any songs with anybody else, really. 

TW: They’ve got their record that’s under wraps. 

Angell: Yeah, I can’t wait to hear that – Dave Grohl on drums again. It’s 10 years after “Songs for the Deaf,” and here it comes again – the same kind of lineup. I’m not sure you’re gonna get Lanegan up in there, though. Who knows? He’s a mysterious stranger. That’s his thing. (Chuckles)

TW: Is he still up in Seattle?

Angell: I think he lives in L.A. I actually don’t know him. He’s on my “not to meet list.” I have certain people that I like their music so much I don’t want it to be skewed by knowing them personally. In my world, Mark Lanegan’s hangin’ out under streetlights in the rain somewhere. He doesn’t actually eat breakfast ... or watch TV or nothin’, you know. He wanders in the night under artificial light with the traffic buzzin’ by. He’s not a real person. He doesn’t even sleep. (Laughs) My Tom Waits still gets drunk and sleeps in the gutter and hangs out with hobos all day. He’s not on an exercise bike at the Hilton reading the Wall Street Journal. And my Nick Cave, he’s clawin’ at the lid of a coffin somewhere. They only let him out to make a record and do a tour, you know. 

TW: So what should people expect from your set at Jazzbones?

Angell: There might be some surprises in there. I really like our band live. Playing with the Walking Papers kind of has this slower, heavier groove. And then there’s something frenetic about the Missionary Position. It’s sultry, but at the same time it’s high strung. So that’s what we’ll be trying to bring too the peeps. 

Comments

Gessel Orthodontic University Dental

Letter to the Editor

If you would like to contact us directly, please submit a Letter to the Editor here.