After spending all of 2007 writing and recording a new album future Phish bassist Mike Gordon has come back in a big way in 2008. Mike’s new album, The Green Sparrow, contains some of the most straightforward rockin’ songs he’s ever written and shows off yet a different side of his wacky personality. To support the album, the man known as Cactus put together a tremendous group of musicians who seem to impress at every stop on their cross-country tour.
Mike recently took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about The Green Sparrow, his new band and the reunion we’ve all been waiting for.
How did you come up with the title and the cover art for The Green Sparrow?
Well, I was going through song lyrics and then the Green Sparrow was a line in Morphing Again (eighth track on the disc). I really like the way the bird came in as a sort of a non-sequitor. It’s not really clear what the bird represents. I kinda like the mysterious nature of it. If I had to guess the bird seems to be a kind of a guardian angel of sorts. It just felt right to call it that.
We were gonna try to get a graphic designer to make the album cover, but it was really hard to find someone to see my vision through in a short time. So I just went and got all of this colored tissue paper tissue and sat in a room to do it myself. I feel I really captured the kinda vibe I was looking for. And it’s also a fantasy of mine to do a little more with visual arts. My mom is a painter and sometimes I feel envious that she’s making things that you can appreciate and stay the same over time, whereas music requires the passing of time to enjoy. The album cover is one thing I always thought I could do. Brett Dennen made his own album cover and I thought “oh shit, I can make my own album cover.” So I finally got a chance to.
Let’s talk about the opening track Another Door. What’s the story behind that tune? Is it a post-breakup song?
Well maybe. It is a post-breakup tune, but only because it happened after the breakup and my life is informed by what’s come before. But it was written a few years after the breakup and I had already done some different collaborations. And the breakup really only took me a few months of serious grieving, I think. So it had been a longtime since that grieving period…
Read on at Glide’s Hidden Track for more of the exclusive interview with Mike Gordon…