Up from the blackest reaches of the human soul, out from the unsounded but deep depths of Fortress Früvous and across the trackless expanse of the world's postal systems, Moxy Früvous sens you a bih, juicy hello. Hello. As always we trust that you are doing well, and have not been impaled.
SINCE THE LAST QUILL: Pell-Mell is probably the best adjective to describe Moxy Früvous' experiences. April and May of 1996 saw the band off the road pre-producing and demo'ing songs at Comfort Sound Studios in Toronto for our impending album, the first time we had ever demo'ed the songs prior to recording them. It proved to be a valuable step - in fact one of the songs from that sesssion, No No Raja, made it to the album virtually unchanged (we removed the 'Raja disciplines a Servant' section from the prechorus).
In June we did a cursory checkk of our windshield washer fluid and set out on the highways of High Adventure, cruising up and down the Eastern for what was once known as 'booty'. A mouth a splendid gigs ensued, during which time each of us made a new friend.
In July we jetted off for the U.K., ostensibly for what our manager described as a 'luncheon' but which in fact turned out to be two weeks of solid touring in towns so remote that the last bands through there spoke Latin. The highlights of that trip were our performances at the Phoenix Festival and W.O.M.A.D., two events that could have propelled us to much bigger things in the U.K. had we not been playing in tents the size of the perfume kiosk at Sears. At our W.O.M.A.D. show we received a standing 'O' from a throng of excited Brits, which created such a buzz throughout the festival that our second show that afternoon was sold out. At the Phoenix Festival we played for a hundred hot, sweaty, sunburned locals resting in our tent after the Coolio set on the mainstage; after we'd finished, they probably thought that 'Coolio' was a brand of foot powder.
Throughout the summer we also descended upon a spate of folk festivals in both the U.S. and Canada. These included the Ottawa and Regina Folk Fests (where we made the pleasant but disturbing aquaintance of the Arrogant Worms), the Appel Farms Folk Festival in New Jersey, the Rocky Mountain Fest in Colorado, Falconridge in New York, and the Ben & Jerry's Folk Festival in Newport, the legendary American festival where Donovan went ballistic. All of these events were, in our eyes, non-pareil.
In September we again checked the wiper fluid (it had dropped) and set off for
what we could sense from the itinerary was 2 1/2 more months of touring.
After thousands of kilometers driven and many a strange elixir quaffed,
the tour concluded with a pair of rollicking shows in Rochester and
Buffalo that saw some of the biggest turnouts ever at a Früvous
show in the U.S.: around a thousand people each night. Put that in your
pipe, Ms. Morrisette!
A year ago, the four of us gathered at dusk in a burned-out Dairy Queen and begin pooling our thoughts as to what our next album should sound like. As the twilight deepened and raspberry marguaritas were futily called for, the conversation turned to the two insights we had gained from a year-and-a-half of touring the Wood album: first, that moody, timeless folk songs couched in brilliant and unexpected arrangements no longer piqued out collective muse; and second, that 'pop' was short for 'popular'. Debate as to which way the album should proceed raged back and forth for hourse. At the end of the evening and between volleys of complaints from the kitchen, we realized that what we really wanted to do on the next album was to 'shake it'. In that moment and with an audible clicking sound the Four became One, and a tremendous cry rang out against the charred girders: "No ballads - or balladas!" This caused the already-weakened structure to give way, and the groan it gave as it collapsed was as much the birthing of a zeitgeist as it was the saving of thousands of tax dollars embarked for the building's demolition later that summer.
With this vision firmly in place, we set out to make an album that was again a departure from anything we had done previously. We decided to abandon the 'cohesion' we had done for on Wood in favour of the more eclectic mix of styles that had characterized Bargainville. We also wanted to incorporate some of the techniques from the music that was turning us on at the time - drum looping, sampling, Middle Eastern rhythms, bluegrass twanging, and other styles suck as forties' swing and sixties' pop. Did we succeed? Well, we think so, and if we're lyin' we're dyin'.
Once again, his eminence Danny Levin flew up from Sugarland on the banks of the muddy Brazos to lend his stringed sexpertise to several songs. Hats off to a magical musical maestro!
We met Stephen Traub while we were demo'ing songs at Comfort Sound in August when he covered a shift one afternoon for the in-house engineer. Sensing serendipity in the air, we quickly scheduled a meeting witht him later that week, and when he brought as reference discs XTC's Skylarking, Tom Waits' Bone Machine and Los Lobos' Colossal Head, we knew we'd found our man. From the very beginning he spoke about beefing up the groove and the low-end of our sound - he wanted our songs to "hit people in the groin as well as the head", a comment that raised more than a few eyebrows around the room. From pre-production in November to the final mastering in January he provided a valuable outside opinion and shared in all the jokes and insanities of the recording process. In the end, we couldn't have made this album without him: his engineering chops were keen, his jawline Pitt-esque and his steely gaze reminiscent of a late-model Terminator. When we look back now, it's clear that his value to the project can be measured only in terms of the money he was actually paid to do it.
Of course the question in everyone's head must now be, what good is an album if it doesn't come out in America? This question dates back to Confucious, but fortunately Früvous fans need be troubled no longer. For in addition to the unswerving support and occasional night out we receive from Warner Canada, we are proud to announce our signing to the independent Bottom Line Record Company in New York City. This collection of wily industry veterans and hotblooded newcomers makes Bottom Line Records the team to watch in '97. And distribution of our albums in the U.S. means that Americans will no longer have to befriend a Canadian just to have a copy sent down. The record will be release on March 18th in the States, which converts to April 22nd in Canada. The Bottom Line Deal also includes Mexico, so to the burgeoning fanbase in the place with the shake Peso, we say, "Areba!"
"What's a Moxy Früvous?" -Pete Seeger, February 1997
If you live in the USA, please head to your favorite record
store on March 18th. If they don't already carry it,
tell them it's on Bottom Line Records, distributed by Navarre.
If you're Canadian like us, go to your favourite
record store on April 22nd. If it's not there, tell them it's on
As most of you already know, the Frühead Card, introduced only last June, has become the safest and most popular way for the more intense Früheads to take a bit of the edge off. For those of you new to the Card, here's how it works: first, obtain a Frühead Card simply by asking Marcus, our beloved Tour Manager / Whipping Boy for one at the merchandise table at any one of our gigs (we have found over the years that Marcus responds positively to almost any request, and this is no exception). Next, place the conveniently-sized Frühead Card in your wallet, purse, or sock, and present it to Marcus to have it stamped at every Moxy Früvous show you attend. As your number of stamps increases, you will be rewarded with these items:
3 Stamps: Official Früvous Pin.
6 Stamps: Frühead T-Shirt. Exclusive design. Must be earned, cannot be purchased.
12 Stamps: Compleat Früvous Video Collection The "Silver Jubilee" award.
18 Stamps: Personalized, Recorded Song About You. Recorded and sent to you.
24 Stamps: All Expenses Paid Bowling (or comparable activity) with Früvous.
30 Stamps: Special Date #1.Dinner and dancing with Dave.
36 Stamps: Special Date #2.Dinner and dancing with either Jean, Mike, or Murray.
50 Stamps: Ass Brand! Früvous budgie-dog seared into your flesh by member of the band.
Even The Washington Post has taken note: "Toronto-based band Moxy Früvous...said it wanted to 'start rewarding people for such psychopathic deication'..." -Buyers Come Back for More - With Freebie Coupons, July 5 '96
Remember, Frühead stamps aren't cashed in like airmile points but instead accumulated like powerful friends in the provincial or state government. Here's a list of those intensely devoted Früheads we mentioned earlier, some of whom we in the band jokingly refer to as 'in the red zone!':
In Video-Land (12 stamps and over):
Dan and Jacob (Massachusetts)
Nick and Sandy (Ohio)
Bonnie, Dede, Joan, and Susan (Pennsylvania)
Sporting the T-shirt (6 stamps and over):
Heather, Justin, Krista, Marjory, and Michelle (Illinois)
Emily, Hannah, Lisa, and Stanley (Massachusetts)
AJ, Eric, Lisa, and Megan (Michigan)
Chris, Debbie, Ella, Gerry, Heather, Laurie, Lisa, Lisa Ann, the S-L's, Terry, and Vicky (New York)
Brandon, Brian, Cathy, Gerry, John, Keith, Kristina, Marty, and Tadd (Ohio)
Cheryl, Heather, Tara (Ontario)
Chris and Zard (VA)