Join us as we foist upon the world our sprawling...our epic...our gargantuan triple album and stream-of-consciousness board game.
And that's the sentence we chose to introduce you to Jumbo-Jet Whispers & Thunder-Lizard Serenades, an album 17 (17!) years in the making and bursting with 21 (21!) interrelated songs.
This album is a culmination of everything we have done up until right -- wait for it --- right NOW. There's still the seed of 3 Minute Hero, from back when we would stampede through this nation's midsection from club to club, playing our upbeat sweaty horn rock to fans who shared our affinity for songs about monkeys, food, and bad decisions. But there's also the mighty oak that 3 Minute Hero has grown into. Bad analogy. If we're sticking with tree imagery, we've actually grown into something more like a gnarled, somewhat stunted jack pine. Anyway. The big, juicy rhythm section is still here and the horns are hornier than ever. But now we've got something only time can confer: No, silly. Not wisdom. Baggage. But what glorious baggage it is!
It was the year 2000 (this would be a great place to play the embedded music selection -- you know, for ambiance). The band had dissolved. I had successfully tricked my girlfriend to become my wife. Some band members splintered off to join other touring bands while other members returned to school and, in one unfortunate case, Ohio. I always figured that when the band called it quits, I would just quit writing music. As it turns out, that's not how it works. In Russia, music writes you. I couldn't stop. First it was a horn line. Then it would be a snippet of a verse while I was washing dishes. I knew it was serious when I would call my home phone and sing a new chorus to the answering machine so I wouldn't forget it (I know, an "answering machine" -- but remember, this has been in the works for 17 years). I finally had to admit to myself that I was a songwriter who was writing songs that would need to be sung.
It was during this time when I began to feel a little adrift. I was in my mid 20s and was so self-centered that I failed to realize that this lack of purpose didn't make me special -- it made me normal. Well, the delusion was helpful. I needed guidance and I turned to the two guides that had never led me astray. Books and movies. And if we want to get really precise, the movie "Star Wars" and the book "Light in August" by William Faulkner. Can we just agree not to trust anybody who says they've never seen “Star Wars”? Yes? Thank you. Thanks to the greatest tag-team in myth-telling history, George Lucas and Joseph Campbell (author of the influential book on comparative mythology, "The Hero with a Thousand Faces," among many, many others) I was able to spot the archetypal story of the hero in nearly any book or movie from a mile away. The common story is literally as old as time. In short: our hero leaves his or her comfortable home, our hero undergoes a series of tests and struggles in an unfamiliar setting and, lastly, the hero returns with something that is a benefit to society at large. Ishmael returning to tell the tale of the great white whale? Hero. Luke Skywalker joining the rebellion instead of picking up power converters at Tosche Station? Hero. Offred from "The Handmaid's Tale"? Hero. Buddy the elf going to Manhattan? Damn right he's a hero. But these heroes all tread a familiar path. Campbell includes up to 17 points that a heroic journey can ping. They almost always go in order. That doesn't help a guy who's adrift and can't seem to find even one stage of the hero's journey in his own life. That's when William Faulkner dropped by to help me.
I love Faulkner's books for many reasons, but one of the most revealing reasons is that his characters always make me feel well-adjusted, healthy, and more moral than amoral. Faulkner's "Light in August" predates Campbell's work, but he was familiar with Campbell's predecessor, James George Frazier and his book on comparative religion and mythology, "The Golden Bough." There is no single hero in "Light in August." But nearly every single step of the heroic journey is accounted for -- by different characters. Genius! Instead of having one hero, Faulkner had a group of people fulfilling the stages, thereby making the arc of the story the true hero! Does it work? Kind of! If Faulkner could scramble up the heroic formula and parse out the necessary stages, there was nothing stopping me from carving up the formula and making it work for my purpose. So I did. Does it work? Kind of!
I set about taking events in my life, primarily from the time when 3 Minute Hero was first active, and attaching them to the different points of the hero's journey. They were all out of order but, thanks to William Faulkner, I wasn't going to let a little thing like linear time drag me down. The songs began to flow together. The first song, "Ice Cream," is about the call to adventure. That took place in the year 2000 as I ate a waffle cone in front of Izzy's Ice Cream in St. Paul and realized how this album was going to come together. That runs into the second song, "La Piscina," which is the refusal of the call to adventure. "La Piscina" takes place in Jacksonville, Florida around 1991 -- when I refused all kinds of calls to adventure (probably to my benefit). The third song, "Crazy Uncle," fulfills the heroic step of finding a mentor or some kind of supernatural aid. May we all be lucky enough to have crazy uncles in our lives. When we were children, they were the inappropriate adults. Their jokes were ill-advised. Their Zeppelin t-shirt smelled like weed. Their mustache handles drooped a little too low. And they probably owned a sketchy looking van. The list goes on, with a timeline jumping from as early as 1979 to as recent as 2017. On this album, every stage of Joseph Campbell's heroic journey is paired with a memory, and every memory comes with a song.
That's a lot text there, but you deserve it. After all -- we're asking you to be a part of this ridiculous ride. So, despite all of that, we should do a quick checklist to insure awesomeness: Song about ice cream and excessive sweating: check. Song about over-chlorinated pools and Andrew Jackson: check. Song about an inter-dimensional portal appearing at a kegger: check. Song about life without color: check. Song about going to New Orleans and becoming a child pirate: check. Song about escaping an exploding volcano AND zombies: check. Song about Sir Laurence Olivier: check. Song about girlfriend who lives to commit arson: check. Song about having a meaningful relationship with the Statue of Liberty and maybe a fever dream about "Planet of the Apes": check. Song about straight up whacking a unicorn: check. Song about stealing a pie made of moonshine from vengeful monkeys: check. Song about the impossibility of being involved in a family business: check. And Tatooine: Check. Song about what it feels like to have bats in your head: check. Song about carrying things in and out of your house and car, repeatedly, forever: check. Another song about monkeys and pies: check. Song about how Richard Dreyfus's character in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" is a bad role model for aspiring husbands and fathers: check. Song about how history is a spiral, so don't get too bent out of shape for screwing up or, conversely, don't get too high and mighty for making the right choice, because hey...next time: check.
Hopefully, that will all make you forget that stuff about Faulkner.
So who are we? Who is this 3 Minute Hero?
Thank you for asking. The current, longtime incarnation of 3 Minute Hero is as follows:
Jay Kalk: guitar and vocals
Bryce Blilie: trumpet
Jonathon TeBeest: drums and vocals
Paul Gronert: saxamaphones
Al "Ice" Berg: keyboards
Dave Kittelson: bass
Matt Hanzelka: 1st trombone
and I'm Jeff Nelson: 2nd trombone and lead singer.
And now, a multi-pronged question: why a triple album? Why a concept album? Why vinyl? Why does the record sleeve double as a board game that can be played while the album is playing?
The first time I heard that albums were dead and that we now live in the age of the single, I dry heaved. Perfectly crafted singles are a thing of beauty and they have their place. But -- and I should warn you: this gets a little manifesto-ey -- we believe in the big, glorious mess that proudly proclaims "More is AWESOME." Everything about this project has been about more. How can we make each song MORE better [sic]. How can we make each side MORE cohesive. How can we make that horn line MORE, you know...MORE. We also believe that for as heavenly as it is to listen to good music on headphones in the privacy of your own personal sphere, this music should be listened to with other people. Maybe a little too loud. And you should be laughing and talking and drinking something out of a Solo cup. That's also where the board game part of this plays into -- listen, play, talk, connect. This project was conceived not just as a means to help some guy figure out his jumbled life, but also as a weapon to fight for everything that current musical trends incorrectly view as unviable. And maybe, just maybe, to help bring people together.
So that's what you're signing up for. You ready for this?
Plus, did I mention that the album rocks?
If we raise $7500 we'll throw in a turntable slip matt, and deluxe t-shirt
If we raise $10000 all record rewards get a 3 minute hero coloring and activity book including black and whites and a color your own album cover.
Risks and challenges
The music is written.
The music is recorded.
The art is done.
Now we need your help to press the record. That's it, nothing else.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (41 days)