Pre-Save ‘Televangelist’ on Spotify

‘Televangelist’ drops in 11 days and you can pre-save it on Spotify now!

Also – on wednesday I’ll be mailing out the CD pre-orders, so if you order now you’ll get the album early! (The vinyl is delayed, but should show up in the next few weeks.)

New Dolour LP “Televangelist” Pre-Order

I almost feel hungover from all the excitement over this last weekend. It was so great to see so many early-birds pre-ordering vinyl and CDs for the new album.

American Standard Time kicked off the party premiering the new video/single “Baby You’re A Faker.” americanstandardtime.com/videos/dolour-baby-youre-a-faker-video-premier

And then later in the day Goldmine Magazine shared a great write-up for The Royal We and included it in their ongoing “best of 2020” series! goldminemag.com/power-pop-plus/power-pop-plus-more-of-the-best-of-2020-plus

Be sure to check out the Jebb and Green Cast podcast interview that came out earlier in the week youtube.com/watch?v=vOA-OkyHwaI and my recent interview with The Netherlands’ Sweet Sweet Music Blog if you want to know more about the new album sweetsweetmusicblog.wordpress.com/2021/01/14/dolour-televangelist

I’m feeling y’all’s love and I’m sending it back to ya!

Best of 2020 !

I wanted to take an important moment to thank all the music writers, blogs, tastemakers, fellow musicians, radio DJs, and Spotify playlist curators who included The Royal We on their year-end lists. Especially all the cool folks I’ve met through the Power Pop worldwide community that have been so supportive through the return of Dolour this last year!  This gratitude extends to everyone who has shared a song through social media, played a song on a podcast, or helped spread the word in any way. Y’all have made my DIY dreams come true, and made this last year so much more bearable – and dare I say – enjoyable ❤

Here’s the year-end lists that have been brought to my attention the last couple weeks.  Some of these lists also include the “Written & Produced by Shane Tutmarc” collection, and even the December-released single “Televangelist” makes an appearance.

  • #1 of 5 // Best Power Pop Albums of 2020 // Alt Country NL // The Netherlands

https://www.altcountry.nl/blog/2021/01/powerpop/

  • #11 of Top 100 // Absolute Powerpop // Florida

https://absolutepowerpop.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-absolute-powerpop-top-100-of-2020-1.html

  • #13 of Top 60 // Power Pop Station // Brazil

https://powerpopstation.blogspot.com/2021/01/top-power-pop-albums-of-2020.html

  • #24 of Top 70 // Yoshiyuki Morikawa // Japan

https://note.com/pixyruri/n/n3a63ba0db0bf

  • Best Power Pop Songs of the Year: Yes and No // Sweet Sweet Music // The Netherlands

https://sweetsweetmusicblog.wordpress.com/2020/12/05/the-stories-behind-the-best-power-pop-songs-of-2020/

  • #10 of Top 20 Songs: Yes and No //  chili purchaser // Japan

https://note.com/donnievie/n/n01daa2529078

  • #25 (The Royal We) + #72 (Written & Produced by ST) of 250 // Favorite Albums of 2020 // Pablo Ferreyra // Argentina

https://www.facebook.com/pablodamianferreyra/posts/10225765348584289

  • #22 of 75 // Best international albums // Skar PD, Música Desapercibida // Spain

https://www.facebook.com/skar.pd/posts/2425228234289963

  • #62 (The Royal We) of Top 125 + #3 (Written & Produced by ST) of Top 4 Compilations // International Pop Overthrow // California

https://internationalpopoverthrow.com/david-bashs-best-of-2020-lists/

  • Favorites of 2020 // Pop Songs Your New Boyfriend’s Too Stupid to Know About // Seattle

https://www.mixcloud.com/PopSongsMixtape/pop-songs-your-new-boyfriends-too-stupid-to-know-about-december-11-2020-022/

  • Best of the Rest // Power Popaholic // New York

https://www.powerpopaholic.com/2021/01/the-power-popaholic-top-25-albums-of-2020.html

  • Best Singles of 2020: Televangelist // Power Popaholic // New York

https://www.powerpopaholic.com/2021/01/the-top-10-eps-of-2020-and-some-final-singles.html

 

“Written & Produced by Shane Tutmarc” Pre-Order Now

KOOL KAT MUSIK press release:

NEW RELEASE ON THE KOOL KAT MUSIK LABEL – AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER 25 – ACCEPTING ORDERS NOW!! Hot on the heels of Dolour’s “The Royal We” comes this terrific 22-track, specially-priced 2CD set of Shane Tutmarc’s music released in between Dolour records under his name and as Solar Twin. Along with some previously unreleased tracks, the other songs were previously available only on vinyl or as downloads – until now! Shane explains “Shortly after ‘The Royal We’ was released, I was approached about collecting my various singles and album tracks that have never had a proper physical release. What we ended up with is much more than just a collection of odds and ends, ‘Written & Produced…’ is a cherry-picked collection of personal favorites from my solo recordings, Solar Twin, and Dolour. This collection should function as a companion to ‘The Royal We’, ideally filling the cracks between my disparate projects, making it feel like you’re on a guided journey through my solo recordings, Dolour, and Solar Twin.” Disc 1 collects stand-alone singles, deep album cuts, plus 2 brand-new exclusive tracks, ‘Damaged Goods’ (Dolour) and ‘Last One Standing’ (Solar Twin). It also includes the recent ‘A Brave New World’ which was KEXP’s “Song of the Day” in April 2020 and “Hold On To This Moment,” nominated for 2019’s Song of the Year by the Nashville Industry Music Awards. You’ll also find hidden gems from 2014’s digital-only album, “Borrowed Trouble” (“What Is This Love,” “Can I Count On You”) and songs from Shane’s 2015 single-a-month series (“Suicide Weather,” “Out of the Dark”). Disc 2 is the first time on CD for 2017’s Solar Twin debut, “Pink Noise”, which is the most-streamed album of Shane’s discography.

Order from Shane’s bandcamp: https://shanetutmarc.bandcamp.com/album/written-produced-by-shane-tutmarc

Order from Kool Kat Musik:

http://shop.koolkatmusik.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=KKM&Product_Code=Shane_Tutmarc

The Royal We – First Dolour Album In Over A Decade – Pre-Order Now

A little back-story:

When I abruptly ended Dolour nearly 15 years ago I left hundreds of unfinished songs behind. After my grandfather passed in December of 2006 I had a complete change of heart and followed my muse down a different path for the next decade. Making my Solar Twin album a couple years ago brought me to a new place, and opened me up to looking at some of the unfinished songs. Digging through the piles of old demos, these 10 in particular really jumped out at me as having so much life in them. I played every instrument on the album, and it really brought me back to when I was making Suburbiac and New Old Friends all those years ago, while also utilizing everything I’ve learned about record-making over the last 15 years. It’s been a unique journey of discovery, combining my past with my future for the first time. It’s not merely a nostalgic trip, it’s a chance to let these songs live NOW after they’d refused to die all these years. The album drops on June 19th, but you can pre-order it and get the instant gratification track, I Can Quit At Any Time right now. There are limited CD and Cassette packages available, as well as high-quality digital files. Hope you enjoy the album as much as I did making it. xo Shane

A Brave New World

It’s been way too long since I’ve updated the website. But with all this great attention around “A Brave New World” I wanted to share some links to help y’all find what you’re looking for.

Last month, at the very start of social distancing and quarantine, my long-time friend and frequent collaborator Eric Johnson of Seattle’s KOMO News reached out to me wondering if I may be able to write a song for these new times we were living in. He wanted music to combine with footage his KOMO team were shooting around the empty streets of Seattle. Always up for a new musical challenge – I went to work. Within a week I had the song written, produced and mastered and Eric debuted the song and video on KOMO News on April 1st. Since then they’ve aired the video 3 more times! The video has been shared through social media and YouTube – garnering over 300,000 views!

And to top it off, KEXP has now made it their Song of the Day and included it on their Weekly Mix podcasts, and Spotify playlists. NPR is even offering a free download of it, in conjunction with KEXP. Very exciting to see this song reach people and maybe offer some hope through these dark times.

Here’s your one-stop-shop to find my music and to follow my journey.

http://shanetutmarc.bandcamp.com/album/a-brave-new-world

BandCamp is where you can directly support me. There is the full version of the song, which is available everywhere – Spotify, AppleMusic, etc… but there’s also the “Single Edit” which is the shorter version used on KOMO, and there is the “Instrumental Mix” as well, if you wanna sing-a-long or just enjoy the backing track without vocals.

I also encourage everyone to follow me on social media:

Instagram.com/shanetutmarc

Facebook.com/ShaneTutmarc

Twitter.com/ShaneTutmarc

Thank you! xo Shane

2017: Year of Reckoning

These last 12 months have been a creative year of reckoning.  A year ago this month I finally released Borrowed Trouble, which had been recorded in 2012, and stuck in limbo for nearly 5 years. The album takes many of the musical and lyrical themes of my earlier solo work a little further, utilizing a room full of seriously top-notch Nashville musicians, including a horn section and strings – arranged by Mike Leech whose credits include Elvis Presley, Dusty Springfield, Dobie Gray, and Merle Haggard.  Also in December, I released Solar Twin‘s 2nd single, Black Sky Revisited – which was a way of clueing people into the new sounds I was working on while at about the halfway point of recording the debut Solar Twin album. In May of 2017, I released the 3rd Solar Twin single, The Big Sleep, to coincide with the airing of Seattle’s KOMO News documentary The Demon at the Door, directed by Eric Johnson of which I composed the instrumental score. The Big Sleep was featured in the closing credits of the film.  In June, the Damaged Goods album was released, which features all 11 single-a-month songs that I released in 2015, along with 3 previously unreleased songs including the title track which was recorded at the same time as The Big Sleep.  In October, after nearly two years working on Solar Twin’s debut album, I released Pink Noise.  To me, this is one of my proudest achievements as an artist. It not only feels like a giant step forward creatively, but it really feels like the culmination of my lifelong exploration of music.  To close this “year of reckoning” out, I resurrected my old Seattle project Dolour for the first time in a decade, with a pairing of new original Christmas songs, All Winter Long.  The title-track was something I had started writing back in the Suburbiac/New Old Friends days, but recently returned to and finished.  And Christmas With My Baby was written around Christmastime last year, and felt more like a Dolour song than anything I’d written in a decade, and that really led to the single coming out as a Dolour release.  And to make it a proper Dolour release, I was so happy to get Jason Holstrom on ukulele on the song!  He was a huge part of the New Old Friends and Years and the Wilderness albums, as well as having a hand in Suburbiac and the Traveling Mercies albums.  It’s too early to tell if Dolour will become an active project again, but I do have plans for some archival releases in the coming year, as there is still so much unreleased Dolour music in the vaults.  My music is my spiritual journey, and it means so much to me to connect with other people through my music. Thank you to everyone who has been part of this journey with me.  This music is how I relate to the world and make sense of life, and if it brings you joy or helps you in any way through your journey – that makes my heart happy.

Damaged Goods – 16 Questions and Answers

Today marks the release of Damaged Goods, and the culmination of a decade of work.  Damaged Goods collects all 11 single-a-month songs originally released in 2015, with 3 additional tracks.  These songs come from various points throughout the last 10 years of writing and releasing other albums.  So Hard to Make An Easy Getaway was written in early 2008 (before the release of Hey Lazarus!), The Basement in Nashville was recorded on my first trip to Nashville in June 2008, and 5 of these (I Know I Should Know Better, What is This Love?, Southern Pines, When You Found Me, and Easy Getaway) were originally made available on a very short-lived EP, released in December 2010.  The other half of the tunes were written and recorded after the Borrowed Trouble sessions between 2014 all the way up to the title-track, Damaged Goods, recorded earlier this year (although written back in 2012).  So how do all these songs fit together?  Is this a “collection” of songs, or an “album”?  Damaged Goods was released by In Music We Trust, based out of Portland, OR, and the head of the label Alex Steininger sent me a list of questions to answer which were used for press releases relating to the album.  Here is the full interview, where I attempt to shed a light on the writing and recording process, and how I see this album fitting in with the rest of my catalog.   And at the end of the interview you’ll find links to stream and download.  Enjoy! – Shane Tutmarc

1.  What does the album’s title mean as a representation of the album as a whole?

Damaged Goods is a band of misfits and loners.  Songs that refused to play nice with other songs.  And the title “Damaged Goods” seemed to sum up this batch of songs perfectly.

2. How is it similar and then how is it different from your previous records, both solo and with other bands?

With most of my previous albums I’ve tried to reign in the variety of songs I include. I’m usually aiming at a theme lyrically and musically that feels like an “album statement.”  But that is not the case with Damaged Goods whatsoever.  If I were to compare this album to anything I’ve done in the past, I think the closest would be Dolour‘s third album, New Old Friends (2004).  They both have a wide variety of songs that all stand on their own, and there’s no production tone or theme that any of the songs are forced to adhere to.  They both feel like a killer playlist of songs on shuffle, as opposed to an album where there is a set mood that carries through the whole thing.

3. What is the most significant lyric on this album to you?

I’m never good with choosing favorites.  There’s special lines in every song for me.  And it doesn’t show much humility on my part, but if I had to choose something, I might say “why’s everything bad taste better than it should” from Poison Apple, or “I’d rather live in my head, sometimes I’d rather be dead than faking it” from the title-track, or “it’s a secret passed lip to lip, it’s a mystery I never could get, the answer must be deeper than blood, what is this love” from What is This Love?  But if you asked me tomorrow, I’d have three different answers for you.

4. Did you go about this one differently than you did your last album?

Yeah, most albums I’ve gone into the studio with a batch of songs and recorded them all within a short period of time.  With this album, the songs are from various different periods throughout the last decade, and they were recorded at a number of different places, with different players and collaborators.  It’s the only album I’ve done this way, except for Dolour’s New Old Friends – but even that record was done over the course of maybe 2 years – versus 10 years.

5. What did you do differently on this record that you haven’t done on previous records?

Everything.  When the idea of doing a single-a-month came up, I knew I had a ton of songs that could work for a series like this, but I really didn’t know what songs I would include, and had no idea of what songs I’d end up writing during the series as well.  It was very much a choose-your-own-adventure approach every month.  So I think there is an immediacy to this album, that would be impossible to match doing a more traditional album recording.

6. Did the record come out how you heard it in your head?

Yes and no.  Going into this project, I wasn’t even sure it would end up being an album.  It was essentially one-song-at-a-time.  Whether it was an old song or a new one, each month I decided what song I wanted to work on.  I guess I knew with that approach, it would lead to a lot of variety.  I like to think of it as more of a collection of “short stories” versus a “novel.”

7. What surprised you about the record that you didn’t envision?

I guess the biggest left-turn for me during the process was songs like Out of the Dark and I Never Said Anything.  I started experimenting with more midi and electronic sounds on those songs, and they directly influenced me to start a new project, Solar Twin –  which I now have a few singles out, and I’m almost done with my first full-length for.

8. What are the highlights of the record for you?

Again, I don’t usually like to pick favorites.  They all ended up on this album because I love these songs.  But to pick a few, Out of the Dark, Suicide Weather, I Know I Should Know Better, and the title-track are songs I’m really glad to have out there.

9. How do you think this record fits in in the musical landscape of today?

That’s a tough question, because it implies I have an understanding of the musical landscape. Haha.  But I suppose it fits in with other artists that follow their muse and don’t try to get pigeonholed into a sound to fit a certain demographic.  I don’t know many artists who are as free spirited, musically, as I am.  But I’m sure there are some kindred spirits out there, and I hope we can connect with this album.

10. Is there a theme or message running throughout this album?

This album is a bouquet of wild flowers.  They are all individuals, but maybe it’s their loner status that make them all relate.

11.  How do you think the lyrics and the music work together on this album?

Really well!!  Haha.  I suppose because they didn’t have the constraints of trying to fit a production mold, they were all able to be more free to be themselves.  The music and lyrics of each song were able to go wherever they wanted, so maybe that makes them all a bit more honest.

12. How would you describe the sound of the album?

I would say there’s a little bit of everything.  Not a lot of artists are willing to offer this kind of variety.  I’m a big Beatles fan, and albums like Revolver or the White Album have such massive variety and I’ve always admired that.  You can’t pinpoint “the sound” of those albums.  If you like what I do at all, you’ll never get bored, I can promise you that!

13. Being a collection of singles, how did you get the album tied together, to come through as an album, not just individual songs?

Well, when it came time to sequence the album – I decided to not put them in chronological order.  That would have felt a lot more like just a “collection.”  i spent time putting them in an order that I hope takes you on a cool journey.  Plus with the 3 bonus tracks, I didn’t want them to just feel tacked on at the end.  I put them where they felt right. Opening with Damaged Goods felt like a good statement to kick off the album, and closing with Goin’ Goin’ Gone felt like a good way to sign off.

14.  What bands do you think people will compare you to?

Well, I guess I’ve already compared myself to The Beatles!  Haha.  I have no idea.  That’s a thought that maybe should cross my mind more often, but I never think about that.  Who do you think?

15.  What are your goals with this record?

The single-a-month series was an experiment to give people a chance to follow my music in a more intimate way.  But now with this expanded album release, I hope this exposes the scope of my musical output, and maybe lead folks to explore all the different directions I’ve gone over the nearly two decades I’ve been recording.  There are ties to my early Dolour years with songs like Suicide Weather or the title-track, there’s bits of the Traveling Mercies vibe with The Basement in Nashville or Til Daddy Gets Paid, and there’s songs that foreshadowed my latest project Solar Twin, like Out of the Dark and I Never Said Anything.

16.  Anything you want to point out/discuss that I left out?

I think we covered it!

Stream Damaged Goods on Spotify

Download Damaged Goods on iTunes

Download Damaged Goods on Amazon

Full ‘Seattle Magazine’ interview with Shane Tutmarc and Eric Johnson

Seattle Magazine recently interviewed Eric Johnson and I about our collaboration on the documentary Demon at the Door: Our Heroin Crisis which aired a couple times earlier this month on Seattle’s KOMO News.  Johnson is a longtime anchor at KOMO, and he and I have collaborated a couple times now with me composing the score for his documentaries.  Other than ambient soundtrack work, this is the first time he’s also asked for an original song to close the film.  I wrote Solar Twin‘s new single, The Big Sleep for the end credits, and Seattle Magazine asked us a number of questions about the process.  Once the article went live, it was in a very truncated presentation.  You can see the article here.  And now I’d like to present the full unedited interview that Eric and I had with Seattle Magazine writer, Victoria Uhl.

Name of Band: Solar Twin

Name of Track: The Big Sleep

In three sentences or more, tell us the story of the band:

Tutmarc: Solar Twin is a bit of a 180 for me after nearly ten years down a path of American roots music, but it’s also a full circle for me if you go back to my early work with Seattle indie experimental pop bands Dolour and United State of Electronica.  Over the last few years, I found myself drawn more and more to electronic, experimental and melodic music, further and further away from the bluesy-country-gospel sounds I had been focused for most of the previous decade.  Of course, there are a few of these flourishes throughout my rootsy records… but suddenly I found myself wanting to go deeper and deeper down this path.  Like my Dolour days, Solar Twin is essentially a solo project, that I occasionally bring collaborators in on.  I released the first Solar Twin single, Slow Motion, last September, and a follow-up single Black Sky Revisited in December.  The Big Sleep is the third single, and I’m busy finishing up more singles with a full-length on it’s way.

In three sentences or more, tell us the story of the track: 

Tutmarc: This song would not exist without the film.  Initially I was just working on atmospheric/ambient stuff for the soundtrack, but then Eric requested a song for the end credits.  Although, I’ve had a number of film and TV placements over the years, I’ve never written something specifically for a film before.  Between some of the dialog he had emailed me, and a few clips of video, I had a pretty good sense of the project, and I even found a few lines to make reference to in the lyrics.  The song came very fast, which is always a good sign.  Unlike the first two singles, which were very auto-tune heavy and hip hop influenced, this song took a more ‘70s route with it’s production.  That approach seemed to suit the song, and the film, better.

What’s next?

Tutmarc: Well, Solar Twin is not my only project.  In addition to the occasional soundtrack work, I’m also an active producer.  I’ve got a couple projects I’m working on right now with some Nashville artists.  I’m also continuing to release music under my name as well.  On June 30th I have a solo (“Shane Tutmarc”) full-length coming out on Portland, OR label, In Music We Trust.  It collects my single-a-month series from 2015, with three bonus tracks, including the title-track, “Damaged Goods.”  And I should have another Solar Twin single out this summer.  After that, I’d like to see a Solar Twin full-length coming out by Fall.

Can you tell us a bit more about how you came to work with Eric Johnson?  

Tutmarc: Eric and I go back a decade now.  Although he was a familiar face from my TV screen, originally as the sports guy and then eventually as one of the lead anchors on Seattle’s KOMO News, I got to know him as a regular at Easy Street Records in Queen Anne where I was working.  Every week on release day, he’d be there buying a stack of albums.  His thirst for new music was impressive to me, even as a music obsessed twentysomething at the time.  Our big connection came when we discovered our mutual love of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. He ended up picking up a few of my Dolour albums and solo records, and our friendship grew from there.  We stayed in touch, even as I’ve been living in Nashville the last 7 years.  This is the second soundtrack I’ve done for Eric.  Our first collaboration was back in 2012, for a documentary called Touch the Wall.  It had been a while since we’d worked together, and I was itching to do some more film work, so I was excited to hear from him early this year asking me to do the soundtrack for this new documentary.  

What inspirations did you draw from for this particular track?

Tutmarc: Relating to the topic wasn’t very hard, as I’ve been through some heavy addictive/destructive periods in my life, and as anyone who’s been through stuff like that knows, it’s something that is part of your daily thought process whether you are still living that way or not.  So my goal with the song was to try and write it from the perspective of the user.  The challenge of trying to be the best version of yourself, while being a slave to the power of the substance.  I think it’s a very similar power that music has always had on me as well.  “Chasing highs” is something all songwriters or performers do, so it was relatable in that sense as well.  And like most of the Solar Twin stuff, I played all the instruments and recorded it all myself, so it is something I’m very connected to.  This song gave me a chance to dig into some early influences like Pink Floyd and The Flaming Lips to try and capture that dreamy, classic psychedelic vibe.

Any Seattle plans or shows coming up?

Tutmarc: For the last few months I’ve been trying to get out to Eastern Washington to produce a record for my great-grandma, the Northwest music icon, Bonnie Guitar.  She recently turned 93, and I’m really hoping to get out there and record her soon.  If I can make that happen, I’ll definitely take the opportunity to play in Seattle as well.  Since living in Nashville the last 7 years, I’ve made it back to Seattle for shows usually twice a year.  But I’m especially excited to do my first Solar Twin show in Seattle as soon as possible.

How’s Nashville these days?

Tutmarc: Nashville has definitely been experiencing a major boom over the last few years, and it’s really changed a lot from the small town I moved to 7 years ago.  I recently re-located to Hendersonville, about 30 minutes away from East Nashville where I had been living the whole time since I left Seattle.  Most of my regular haunts in East Nashville have changed so much, and there’s so many new people in town, it really isn’t the same place I moved to and fell in love with originally.  But these are all sentiments that I’m sure are familiar to Seattleites. It definitely felt like a Seattle deja vue when the boom started to hit Nashville a few years ago.  

-end of interview with Tutmarc, beginning of interview with Johnson-

How did working relationship start?

Johnson: It started at Easy Street Records on Queen Anne. I was buying a special 40th anniversary release of the Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations. I’m a huge Brian Wilson fan. And the guy behind the counter said, “You like Brian Wilson? I went to see the premier of SMiLE in London!”  Right then I thought, “Here’s a guy with exceptional musical taste!” I’d gone to see the same show at Carnegie Hall.  Shane and I talked about Brian and Pet Sounds and what his music meant to us.  From there, it just evolved. I loved his work with Dolour. Fantastic stuff. And, as it turned out, he’s a really cool guy.  I went to a couple of his shows, and admired the passion with which he attacks his career in music. The guy is legit.

Fast forward a few years, and I was working on a documentary about a local swimmer named Marin Morrison. It was called, “Touch the Wall”, and I needed music. I also had zero budget for music.  I talked to Shane about it, and he said he’d love to try doing some soundtrack stuff. He worked up several different “moods” and sent them to me. I paid him a couple hundred dollars out of my own pocket.

We developed this little system where I would describe the feeling I wanted during a particular scene in very vague terms. “I want it to be sad, but not syrupy. It should be slow, and feel like you’re remembering a friend that is gone,”… stuff like that.  And then, in a day or two he’d send me something, and it would be perfect. As if he’d already seen the piece (which he hadn’t).  And so we were off and running.

 

What’s the best and worst things about working with him?

Johnson: Well, the worst thing is the distance. He’s in Nashville, or else touring with a band, or going to visit John Lennon’s birthplace or something. And I’m here in Seattle. It’s hard to bring him into the equation and show him something as it’s being built. But we work around it.

    The other thing is, he’s very much an artist, and he’s very protective of the integrity of his work.  He had a song called “Across the River” that we used in “Touch the Wall.” I figured that since it was about a swimmer, maybe he could change it to “Across the WATER”… since she swam in a pool, not a river. But Shane nipped that in the bud right away.  He said something about how being too literal can kill the universality of the message.. something artsy like that. And I knew right then and there that the lyric would not be changed. I respect that. The man’s an artist.

 The best thing is that when I have an idea for a musical texture in my head, and I describe it to Shane… almost 100% of the time, what he delivers is better than what I imagined in my mind.  In other words, the REALITY of his musicianship is better than the FANTASY of my own!

Case in point, the song, “The Big Sleep.”  I said, “Shane, I’d like to have a song for the end credits of the special I’m doing about heroin in Seattle. I sent him some raw interviews with heroin addicts talking about what their lives are like… the downward spiral they inevitably take, and what the drug steals away from them in the process. It was gritty, desperate soul crushing stuff. “Can we do something from their point of view?” I asked.

A couple weeks later he sent me this beautiful, fully produced song. I was stunned. He had listened to those interviews and pulled out little details and stuck them into the lyrics. And if you listen to that song, you’ll hear the optimism and euphoria of heroin, followed by the sense of loss that always follows.  It sounds like a lost Beatles song, eerie and hypnotic.  I jokingly called it, “Lucy in the Sky With Heroin.” It couldn’t be more perfect.

 

How did the idea for the documentary hatch?

Johnson: The show is called, “Demon at the Door: Heroin in Seattle”.  A year ago I did a 1-hour program called, “There But For The Grace of God…”. It was about homelessness, and it consisted of me just talking to homeless people and having them tell their stories. Pure and simple. And the reaction was overwhelming. I had people from all over the country reaching out and telling me that it changed the way they think. The reaction was unlike anything I’ve seen in my career as a broadcaster.  In any case, I realized while working on that show just how intertwined homelessness and drug use is. In particular, heroin.

 So, I decided to do an hour documentary about the stuff. It’s the raw and personal stories of addicts, some alive, some now departed. It’s also through the eyes of police officers on the streets, trying to get a handle on the epidemic. It features addiction experts, and politicians and parents. I’m trying to look at this thing from every angle… to get a no holds barred look at the immense toll that heroin is exacting from our city,  our youth, our families.  It is devastating, heart-breaking stuff. I also think it is incredibly important to learn about.  I’ve been working on it for about 8-months.

 

When/where can we see it?

 Johnson: It airs for the first time June 1st, right after Game-1 of the NBA Finals.  10pm.  It will air again Sunday, June 11th at 3pm.