Mike Adams At His Honest Weight
How's The Messes
Tie-Dyed & Tongue Tied
Arrow & Asa In The Year 3000
Out There In The Way
Press A Little
Me & Tammy
- Stay In The Water
Credits:Written & recorded by Mike Adams at home in Bloomington, IN
Ben Lumsdaine recorded the drums at Big Ego in Los Angeles, CA
Mike Bridavsky recorded the bass guitar at Russian Recording, Bloomington, IN
Zac Canale recorded a guitar solo at his house in Bloomington, IN
& Glenn Myers recorded flutes at his house in Bloomington, IN
April 2020 - March 2021
Mixed by Ben Lumsdaine
Mastered by Mike Bridavsky at Russian Recording, February 18, 2022
Mike Adams - singing, guitars, bass, piano, synthesizers
Ben Lumsdaine - drums & percussion
Jessica Adams - piano on “Out There In The Way”
Zac Canale - lead guitar on “Out There In The Way”
Glenn Myers - flute on “Stay In The Water”
Bryant Fox - bass arrangement consultation
Special thanks to Adam Jessup & Jared Cheek
Mike Adams at his Honest Weight taps into the Indiana Rock Sound on Graphic Blandishment. Recorded primarily at home during These Uncertain Times®, Adams' latest draws from influences as diverse as The Mamas & the Papas, Superdrag, Black Bananas, and Roger Miller. The result is 12 inches chock full of God's top-shelf good stuff (we're talking about harmony, big hooks, creative home production, and efficient attitude!). Subject matter includes literal Death, identity and anxiety, real Love, Mike's cat Tammy, and a bunch of other stuff. Available on limited edition black vinyl.
Hey, Mike, what’s up? It’s me, your friend, Jared Cheek.
Oh, hey! Not much, just trying to decide what we should put in the one sheet for the new album.
How about I just ask you some questions about it? There’s only one person working at this Penguin Point right now, so I think our order is going to take a while anyway. It might be a fun way to pass the time.
Ok, sounds great. Go ahead.
Why is this album titled Graphic Blandishment?
I was watching one of the “Peanuts” TV specials with my kids and caught the title, “Graphic Blandishment”, in the credits. I’d never seen it before, but it sounded great and important. I dug into it and learned that Charles Schultz invented it to use in place of the boring title, “Animator”. I guess it was a tongue-in-cheek effort to lend some credence and emotional heft to their tedious, invisible work. That reminds me of what I’m doing making records; trying to squeeze grandiose emotional ideas into catchy little pop songs. Lyrically on this album, there’s a gray mix of heavy things like Actual Death and fear mixed in with mundane things like how much I like my cat. It’s “Graphic” and also “Bland”. I love a good euphemism, and I love a double entendre even more than that.
Why do you write songs? And after they are written, why do you record them?
Mostly for fun, though there are some therapeutic side effects. It’s a compulsion that I haven’t scrutinized very much. It has always just happened. (see: ‘Thunder Lightning’)
It sounds like this record was mixed a little differently than your previous albums? Why is that??
Usually, I record some songs and hand them over to the genius, Adam Jessup, for his push into their artistic, final form. I did that this time, too, but I accidentally made too many songs, so we gave half of them to Ben Lumsdaine for mixing, and that batch became ‘Graphic Blandishment’. Could Ben also be a genius?? We’ll see how many copies of this record we sell…
There aren’t any boring songs on this album? Was that on purpose?
I am but a lowly conduit. I am merely presenting the songs that God gives to me. Luckily, this time around she didn’t pass any of her boring, scratch-n-dent, seconds on to me. This album is chock full of God’s top-shelf good stuff!
When they are reviewing this album in Melody Maker or whatever, what bands would you hope they compare you to?
I’m always surprised by the comparisons that my music draws, especially because I’m often unfamiliar with the touchstones. I tend to listen to the same familiar, comforting, albums that I already love, over and over again. Which reminds me; do you like John Davis and/or Mike Herrera?
Does the singer die at the end of album closer “Stay in the Water” or is that something that we will find out at the beginning of your next album?
Yeah, they died. But, unfortunately, they rise up like a phoenix, fresh and powerful, and even worse than before. We will hear from them again.
I feel like I’ve heard an early version of the song “Open Heart” on some bootleg tape I bought from a fan on an Honest Weight message board back in 2012 or so. Is that possible? If so, why is it just now being released?
I’ve recorded ‘Open Heart’ so many dang times…I wrote it while I was working on the “Boiler Room” album, then recorded two different proper studio versions of it during the sessions for “Casino Drone”, but it just never felt quite right or strong enough. I kept chewing on it, and it finally got reshaped and fell into place with this album. It’s a genuine relief to have this song out of my head!
If one of the songs on Graphic Blandishment had to be used as the theme to a new Paramount Plus scripted dramedy based on your life, which one would it be and why?
I reckon it’d be ‘How’s The Messes’. It’s one of the few straight-up autobiographical numbers on this album, and of those, it's the one over which I can most easily envision a montage of my hilarious foibles. Licking an ice cream cone too hard that falls onto my shirt, or chasing a neighborhood dog as it runs off with my morning newspaper, awful stuff like that from my life.
Are you hovering in the sweet spot of fame and success in which you are respected and appreciated by a decent group of fans, peers, and critics while avoiding problems like creeps hiding in your bushes or having to decide how to spend any discretionary money?
Yeah, in terms of fame, I’d say so, mostly. Every now and again I have to weasel out of a conversation with an intense fan who says they came by my house and now they can’t get the tune from my doorbell out of their heads. But in terms of success, I’d say, ‘not quite’. I need enough walking-around-money to buy a new doorbell every so often. Then I’ll be happy.
Are you looking forward to playing these new songs live? Yes or no?
Who played all of the instruments on Graphic Blandishment?
All the drumming and percussion on the album was done by my good pal, Ben Lumsdaine. My friend Glenn Myers played a flute on “Stay In The Water”, and Zac Canale played that soaring and surprising guitar solo on “Out There In The Way”. Oh, and my wife, Jessica, played half the piano track on that song, too. We sat on the bench together and she played the low notes while I played the high notes. It was a real love story. I played everything else.
These songs seem particularly catchy. Is that some sort of metaphor for the transmission of viruses?
A virus metaphor would certainly have been apropos during These Uncertain Times®, but no. These songs are earworms, which means they’re more analogous to like, ringworm or scabies.
What does your ideal music career look like? Please give a rough outline of your 50 year plan.
Let’s see…I started getting serious around age 15, so that means I’m already about halfway through the 50-year plan. I wouldn’t change too much. As long as I’ve got some quiet moments to write once in a while, and enough good buddies around who find that I’m most tolerable to hang-out with when we’re playing music, then I think I’ll keep plugging along just like this. At the 50-year mark, we can reassess.
If you could control the way everyone listens to music, how would you choose to have someone listen to this album?
Ideally, if we could come up with some sort of gyroscopic stabilizing device to house a turntable, then have 12 or so people board a speed boat together where we all wear very large noise-canceling headphones and zoom around a large body of water enjoying ourselves, but also paying very close attention to the music; that’s what I would choose. But that would require a lot of time and boat fuel to make sure that everyone in the world got a chance to listen, so it’s probably best that I’m not in charge of these kinds of things. Apart from that, I’d hope that people will obtain and listen to this album in whatever way feels best to them.
What percentage of your songs are about real events and/or feelings in your life and what percentage are about something fictional that you just made up, like “The Monster Mash”?
First of all, I’m not sure where you got your information, but just to be clear - I did not write “The Monster Mash”. But, otherwise I’d say 99% of my songs are either autobiographical, or inspired by real feelings and observations from my life and point of view. I do a lot of organizing and critique of my own ideas in these songs. It's therapeutic and beneficial to my waking life outside the songs. Otherwise, I might become a Monster, and then whoever wrote “The Monster Mash” would have to go back and insert me into the lyrics, and I’d hate to put that amount of work on them.
Remember that one time a few years ago when Mike Adams At His Honest Weight and King Crimson both stopped at a gas station at the same time while on separate tours? How did that make you feel?
I don’t think King Crimson was nearly as excited as we were. We decided to be polite and not bother them, instead we just gawked. We were also a little bit afraid that if we said ‘hello’, they might challenge us to name three King Crimson songs, and between the six of us, I think we only knew two. I felt a little sorry for them, as we six grown men huddled shoulder-to-shoulder in the warm camaraderie of our van and watched them all climb into their big, cold, giant, impersonal tour bus with their families.
Does Graphic Blandishment have the Indiana Rock sound? Speaking of which, could God create a chili dog so big that even they could not suck it down?
‘Graphic Blandishment’ definitely has the Indiana Rock Sound. Although, all the drumming and mixing was done in southern California, so maybe it has more of the Indiana Rock feel - sedimentary and layered, full of karst features. As for God’s Chili Dog; it would depend on the size of their accompanying Tastee Freez.
What are some albums or books that you were listening to or reading during the creation of Graphic Blandishment that may have influenced these songs?
I read Wendy Erskine’s, “Sweet Home”, and Jon Mooallem’s, “This Is Chance”, while I was working on this album. “Sweet Home” certainly influenced the way I felt a little more free to toy with language in these lyrics, and I think ”This Is Chance” got me in the mood to Make Something while also Surviving Danger & Uncertainty. Music wise, I was mainly listening to Superdrag. Like, a lot.
Does Graphic Blandishment sync up to any movies like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon syncs up with Norbit?
Yeah, sort of. It’s only 38 minutes long, so if you press play on the album right at the moment that the opening credits end on any episode of “Hee Haw”, then you’re in for a real wild and hilarious enhanced romp.
This is the 5th Mike Adams At His Honest Weight album. Is this basically the same 5th MAAHHW LP that would have existed if there had not been a global pandemic? Explain your answer.
Musically, I think so. I was already chewing on making a Rock Record and sketching out some of these tunes before God sent the virus down to distract us all from the Giant Chili Dog Paradox. But lyrically, definitely not. These lyrics all became a real snapshot of the year AD 2020. Between the virus, the racial and social justice possibilities of that summer, being the dad of two young kids, and losing a few friends and loved ones to Death in a short amount of time, the need for thought-organization became urgent. The social halt of the pandemic also left me with a lot of time at home to work on this record. So, even though I had already begun working on this stuff, those early pandemic days definitely had some major influence on this album, both obviously and subconsciously.
Oh, hey, looks like our order is up.
Cool, let’s eat.