Tuatara is celebrating ten years as a band with the release of our fifth studio album titled "East Of The Sun". The album will be released in June of 2007, but you will be able to hear various songs from the 15 song album posted here on our My Space page, and also on the jukebox page of our regular website: Tuatara.com.
We recorded and mixed the album at Studio Litho in Seattle, our home base so to speak. Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey and myself wrote the music, and then we sent the instrumental tracks to the various singers who wrote their own lyrics and then sang them. I was producing the sessions and playing drums, keyboards, and percussion, which kept me quite busy for most of the last half of 2006!
What I think makes Tuatara such a unique band, is that we are all veterans of the Seattle music scene for many years now, yet we approach each new album with the same excitement and freshness as if it was our first. Obviously Peter and REM were part of the first wave of "alternative rock" in the 1980s, REM being one of the first bands to carve out that genre, to incredible artistic and commercial success. My work in the Screaming Trees throughout the 1990s certainly added to that. But when Tuatara as a band gets together in the studio, what matters most to us is the perfection of "the song", which was always the prime directive in our other bands.
The new album is part of a double disc set, titled "East of the Sun, and "West of the Moon", and this is a kind of mystical reference to the direction the album is taking. The "Sun" disc has a Wild West, High Plains Drifter quality, almost Ennio Morricone in its atmosphere, and very masculine in its approach. The "Moon" disc features more of the female singers and has a kind of groovy, urban "Moon Vibe".
Overall the two albums are a magnum opus for Tuatara, and they are epic in their musical scope. We cut around 28 songs featuring some of the best singers in American and British songwriting. The cast includes: Mark Olson and Gary Louris of Jayhawks fame (one of my favorite bands of all time), Dean Wareham from the New York band Luna, the great Victoria Williams, Mark Eitzel of American Music Club, British songwriter John Wesley Harding, Jessy Greene formerly of the Geraldine Fibbers, British singer Adama (a MySpace favorite) the legendary Sufi poet Coleman Barks, and the aforementioned Scott McCaughey. The Tuatara line up is: myself on drums and keyboards, Peter on guitars, Scott on guitars and keyboards, Kevin Hudson on bass, Dave Carter on trumpet, Craig Flory on sax and flute, and Elizabeth Pupo-Walker on percussion. An incredible band it has turned out to be over these ten years.
The street date for the "Sun" album is June of 2007, and "Moon" will be released in October 2007. We are already talking about doing a US and European tour, although how we will wrangle all these Gypsy Troubadors onto one tour will be a great challenge, but so far everyone involved wants to take this show live to the people. We hope you will all show up, because I can personally say from the standpoint of the album producer, that this music, these songs, are some of the best I have heard from my generation of songwriters. They are beautiful songs, powerful and emotional, and performed by one of the best live bands you could assemble.
And a final thank you to all the fans who came up with us way back in 1997! We still remember the way it used to be, when music came from the heart......Barrett Martin