Jay Bennett RIP

Some sad news to report. The musician Jay Bennett, a guitarist, keyboardist and singer, died yesterday in his sleep. Jay was most well-known for his work in the band Wilco, particularly on the Being There, Summer Teeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot albums. He was a very important creative force in that band for such a significant period of time; Jeff Tweedy has always been at his best with a foil, and Jay was a formidable one.

Since leaving Wilco, Jay has continued making music: five albums in the past five years, the most recent of which, Whatever Happened I Apologize, just went up as a Kickstarter project this past week. Our condolences go out to Bennett’s friends and family, and to the fellow fans out there.

Idolator reports:

Earlier this month, Bennett made headlines when he sued former bandmate Jeff Tweedy for breach of contract stemming from unpaid royalties; in a post on his MySpace blog shortly before the news of the lawsuit came out, Bennett blogged about upcoming hip replacement surgery and his work on his long-in-the-works album Kicking at the Perfumed Air.

Jay was 45 years old.



Phone call with The One who hit the mark

Jacquie Tran in Melbourne, Australia was the donor who sent us over the 2K mark and won a phone call from yours truly! Check out this video of our conversation about accents, the future, sports medicine, summer, and this project.


Allison Weiss owns Kickstarter. Check out the video of her phone call with the backer who put her over the top (on day one!). And she gets to talk to the future! So awesome! Congratulations, Allison.


The incredible projects just don’t stop. Today we have Allison Weiss, a Tumblogging singer-songwriter currently living in NYC, who is looking for $2,000 to make a new EP. After a couple of hours, she already has more than $700. Incredible! Congrats, Allison! Back this project!


Jay Bennett's "Whatever Happened I Apologize" on vinyl

In November 2008, Jay Bennett (ex-Wilco, Titanic Love Affair), released his new album "Whatever Happened I Apologize", for free...

Jay Bennett, formerly of Wilco (and the overlooked Titanic Love Affair), is using Kickstarter to put out a 180-gram vinyl version of his latest record, Whatever Happened I Apologize. Give Jay your support!

Brendan Mackie Writes His Second Novel

Brendan Mackie’s Help Me Write My Second Novel is one of Kickstarter’s earliest successes. Mackie, a novelist, sought $500 so that he could devote himself fulltime to writing. To attract backers, Mackie came up with some ingenious rewards, including fake facts written for you, a month as your personal writing slave, and our favorite: “I will name a minor character whatever you want. Within reason. No Purpledick McStinkblossom or anything.” Thanks to inventiveness like this, the project took off like a shot.

Currently the project has been pledged $536 with eleven more days to go. We sent Brendan some questions about his project and, true to his writerly nature, he responded with an essay on his project and Kickstarter. Here it is:

I joined Kickstarter so I could get support to write my second novel.
I’ve managed to finish novel number one, and am presently going
through the glacial slowness of trying to get it published.  I want to
keep on writing, but I don’t have the funds.  With the Kickstarter
community’s help, now my life as a starving artist will have a little
less starving, and a lot more art.

I chose my rewards based on what I could produce.  I write, so I
thought that, in addition to giving naming rights to some characters,
I could offer to write some things for the people who donated stuff.

About three quarters of my backers I know personally, but by far the
bulk of the money I got was given to me by perfect strangers.
Emphasis, I would like to add, on the word perfect.

How am I going to be updating people?  I don’t know.  I’ve recently
faced a hard-drive crash which has made my productive time a little
more harried.  I think I am just going to provide my backers with what
they got according to their donations, and tell them only when the
project is completely complete.

My favourite band?  Right now it’s Okkervil River. Been listening to
the extensively coinciding with an unfortunate bout of melancholy.

What was unanticipated was how quickly I could get support!  And the
super wonderful kindness of strangers.

What would I change.  Hmm.  I don’t know yet.  Ask me when it’s finished.

Project Widgets

Save the Ramzi (Canceled)

Well, we all remember Save the Music, right? You know, the charity that helps schools pay for music programs? VH1? Gloria Estefan...

Check out the Kickstarter widget that just rolled out. You can find them for all projects by going to the “Share” button in the navigation bar, like this one for Save the Ramzi. It’s an easy way to promote a project you created or are supporting on your blog. Give it a try.

KSR Open House Recap!

Last night Grand Opening in the Lower East Side of NYC held the first-ever Kickstarter open house. And it was awesome. So many more people than we ever had imagined came out, including some project creators, like Mike of LostLES, Kevin of Decorative Nihilism, Jeff from Accidental Nostalgia, Rob of Late Night Tunes, and Joseph of iPhone icons. All of whom were fantastic people. There were also some serial backers (like myself) who got to meet the folks they were supporting, as well as prospective project creators. Total lovefest.

One of the great things about the night was the energy: people were lobbing ideas back and forth, asking what projects they had done/were thinking of doing. Two separate people said that before coming they had never thought they’d make a project (“I’m not a creative person”) but after meeting everyone, declared that they had to do one. Simply being around that kind of positive, creative energy (to get all granola) was invigorating. It really was.

Clearly we’re going to have to do another one of these soon. And definitely make it out, if you can. And everyone who we talked to about starting projects last night: get started! There were so many passionate, exceptional ideas, and we can’t wait to see them live.

Thank you to everyone for coming out! Thank you to everyone for pitching in for booze! You got a lot of really great people drunk! And a special big thanks to Josh Miles, an awesome dude who, out of nowhere, volunteered to donate a case of wine to the party. Hi-fives all around.

PS: I was the “event photographer” last night, but got engrossed in so many conversations these are the only pix I took! But it’s something!