My taste buds—like my posture and defense to the jury—are pretty unrefined. I grew up in a house without frills, so food was more about eat than art. As such, I’ve carried into adulthood an as-long-as-it-ain’t-been-previously-chewed attitude.
I’ll cook occasionally, but the menu never extends beyond a dish that can be prepared and eaten in the same pan. My The Devil’s Carnival songwriting partner, Saar Hendelman, however, couldn’t be more different in this regard.
Saar regularly hosts food-oriented get-togethers where he prepares lavish feasts. The feasts are always composed of exotic, multi-syllable ingredients—ingredients that I’d have trouble spelling, let alone identifying in a produce lineup. It’s during Saar’s cookouts where I’m most aware of my lack of food sophistication.
The type of disparity present in Saar’s and my chow cultures carries into other aspects of our relationship, including our writing process. These differences are often the flavoring that make us a good team. I’d like to think that these distinctions also help inform the unique voice of our collaborative work. As Saar often puts it, I provide the caveman, and he provides the fop. And that’s how a carnival grows!
For the past eighteen months, in addition to working on Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival 2, Saar and I have been busy on a new music-based project. Our hope is to release this new work shortly after Alleluia! Even though this intended launch is months away, this past weekend Saar and I hosted an informal listening party for friends and colleagues. At the party, we shared a taste of our new work, including a handful of tunes. The evening also included Saar’s home-cooked food. The food, and the night, were themed to the project… and those themes included murder and America.
Next to Saar, I’m useless in the kitchen… but, in preparation for the listening event, I was cast in the role of sous-chef. As such, I chopped turnips, rutabaga and vegetables that I’d only previously read of in witch literature. The menu included pickled raisins, barley and stew. And everything was cooked in bourbon and beer. In keeping with this American theme, we also prepared a Kentucky cocktail called Bourbon Sling, which we served from mason jars.
The food was killer, and the listening party went off without a hitch. Our guests ate, drank and listened to songs in a backyard BBQ-type setting. By the end of the night, most were full and slurring from the Bourbon Sling.
When it’s ready, I’m excited to share this new work with all of you, the fine folks who have supported my musical projects over the years. Who knows? Perhaps we’ll throw a giant listening party/picnic when the time comes?
Until then, you can visit me next weekend at Collective Con in Jacksonville, Florida. I’ll be a guest at the convention May 8th-10th. The weekend’s festivities include an after-hours screening of Repo! The Genetic Opera. Please visit Collective Con’s website for tickets and appearance times. Hope to see you there!