With its first live album, “Kicking Television,” about to hit stores next month via Nonesuch, Wilco is well into the writing process for its next studio set, which the band hopes will be released sometime next year. Frontman Jeff Tweedy tells Billboard.com Wilco has worked up 13 new tunes already. “There’s an enormous amount of excitement in the band about the recording,” he says.
“We did some recording before we went to Europe, and we have time scheduled in December and throughout the winter,” he adds. “There’s no schedule in terms of when something might come out. We all have high hopes we’ll be able to get something out next year, and sooner than later.”
The new album, which will be the follow-up to 2004’s “A Ghost Is Born,” will be the first to feature new members Nels Cline (guitar) and Pat Sansone (keyboards, guitar), who joined up shortly after that set’s release. The six-piece incarnation of Wilco makes its recorded debut on “Kicking Television,” which chronicles a four-night May stand at the Vic Theatre in the band’s Chicago hometown.
“What we’ve done already is basically record in our own studio,” Tweedy says. “We set up without headphones in a circle and roll tape based on us trying to get ourselves balanced as much as possible, without using the mixing console.”
Two of the tunes from this first batch of material, “I’m Talking to Myself About You” and the tentatively titled “On and On and On and On,” have been receiving stage time during recent shows. Tweedy says the former is “about as straightforward and as dumb as anything I’ve ever written, but musically it’s really exciting and fun to play.”
The artist adds that while Chicago seemed like a logical place to record, he initially failed to take into consideration that “we’d played a lot of these songs for these people like 7,000 times. How were we going to make this exciting?”
“Luckily it didn’t end up being a problem. But in hindsight, maybe it would have been a good idea to record our first show in Tulsa or something,” he adds with a laugh.
The only show on Wilco’s schedule for the time being is a Tuesday (Nov. 1) benefit for hurricane victims at the Vic in Chicago. Afterward, Tweedy will play a host of mostly U.S. solo dates through Nov. 22 in London.