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the making of « Theo Bremer Bennett

the making of

Johno Wells

Back in 20 zero 4, my old middle school buddy, Johno Wells started bugging me about REALLY recording some of my music. We had re-connected the year before when he ran across some very rough demos I had posted on a blog for various close friends and fans. “We’ll do a little acoustic EP– nothing big,” he said. It’d be an excuse to get together. That December I had some business in Las Vegas NV, which is equi-distant from each of our houses. I showed up at the Orleans Casino with my acoustic and Johno showed up with his silver Nissan pickup FULL of recording paraphenalia. Johno is nothing if not thorough. Schlepping all the gear past the severe-looking porters/bouncers, snaking through the rows of gambling machines and down very long corridors to our room on a little rickety dolly contraption was particularly hilarious. We kept waiting for someone to stop us and ask for our credentials, or the neighbors to start beating on the wall with their fist.

We were giddy as school girls, and our suite glittered with knobs and lights like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. We spent 3 wonderful days laying down tracks to 4-5 songs. I’d run off to do press checks for a few hours and would step back into our HQ and Johno’d hand me my guitar and I’d lay something else down. HEE HEE! Let’s go get some sushi.

Listening to the mixes on the solitary drive back to Gallup, it wasn’t that I was unhappy. They sounded great. But it seemed like just a start. Incomplete. I didn’t want to just be a Morrissey-derided protest singer. I heard something bigger in my mind. In a word I heard Michael “Horsey” VanHouten,

Michael VanHouten

my dear friend of high school and many many bands, including the Gadflys of Wheaton. Michael, it was always assumed, was the drummer– as no one else could. But he is actually a one-man orchestra and composer and singer of the highest calibre. The secret weapon.

 

I got home and looked at the furniture. Sat down in it. I noticed there were a bunch of other half-done songs laying around the place– songs that demanded a full-on band. Not really enough for a full-fledged album, but a good start on one. It was time to step out of hibernation. I sent some of the Vegas mixes to The Horse, and in turn, the sounds that came back were nothing short of breathtaking. These weren’t just acoustic songs anymore. Sprinkle a little Dr. Jon Iralu in there, and it started to sound like something.

For a few years after that initial start, I had very little creative space. I jumped back into freelance visual work in 05. There were a couple movie projects to follow– Yezelalem Minch in 06-07 with multiple trips to Ethiopia, sifting through old WW2 photo archives and footage and shooting interviews with Navajo Codetalkers in 07-08, some other soundtrack work for Dave Taylor in Alaska.

It was really the birth our latest son which enabled me to finish this project. My freelance suitors started to back off a bit, realizing that I was taking on the principle baby duties at home so Carol could keep swinging at Rehoboth. So, between naps, and changed diapers and visiting grandmas, rock and roll has taken place.

I hope you enjoy what has transpired over these many years. It’s been a lot of work and a ton of fun. And I am very pleased to FINALLY be able to share it with you. Thanks for listening!   –theo

Theo & his Ethiopian Brood