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How I learned to be a Zen Kitty

How I learned to be a Zen Kitty

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Tyson Todd Meade (of The Chainsaw Kittens) is coming to town, and he is bringing his one of one voice with him. 

Tyson’s latest solo effort Tomorrow in Progress is out now, and offers a cryptic & beautiful blend of indie singer/songwriting with some totally yet undiscovered genre of sound in music.   This fruitful combination makes this record different than just about any other record I have bought in the last 24 months.  Even more different/ weirder than Fat White Family’s newest album (and that is saying a great deal).   And for lovers of fine drumming, Jimmy Chamberlin plays drums on some of the best tracks (see Dusty Comes Up for Air), and also featured is Derek Brown (keyboardist) of Flaming Lips.


Today we learn about music so much differently than when I was in High School.   One of the ways I would learn about new bands (and I think many kindred spirits of my generation will agree) was from mix cassette tapes that Concrete Corner produced in the early Nineties.   They would have usually 4 different bands (from memory) and a couple songs from each.   I learned about quite a few bands that I still love to this day from that series of free cassette tapes usually from Phil’s Records or the classic Record Alley.   One of those such bands (and one that influenced me greatly as a singer and person) was the Chainsaw Kittens.   From the first listen I knew I finally had found a new original group that had the singer type prowess of Robin Zander, and the rock/punk/alternative/metal band to back it up.   I was not the only one that caught notice.   

Soon Chainsaw Kittens kind of became that great band that only the coolest people knew about.  Some people even to this day call them the, “Greatest American Band that you never heard before.”  There is a famous event where even Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) sent a very flattering letter to Tyson Todd Meade (lead singer/guitarist/lyricist/artist) about the Chainsaw Kittens debut album “Violent Religion.”  I will leave the details to Tyson to share or not. From a relatively early age (15), I began to have strong bond with this band and its ultra unique lead singer.     

It was years later and the Smashing Pumpkins related record label “Scratchie” was putting out the eponymously titled Chainsaw Kittens album in 1996.   I personally thought that finally this would propel this band into the limelight they deserve, especially with some of the most popular musicians in the world (at the time) behind them.   It was an incredible strike of luck that soon I would get to meet Tyson and open up for the Chainsaw Kittens at Sudsy Malone’s on Vine Street during that album’s tour (also in 1996).   I slowly walked to the bar (kind of like I did when I met Robin Zander) and shyly introduced myself to Tyson and the band.   I could not believe how cool they were in person, and how it was almost like by knowing their music, it felt like you knew them.  Their music has always been a genuine/ ultra realistic reflection of Tyson and the band’s real-life yearnings and such.   Meeting them in person confirmed this.   We began to hang out, travel back and forth to the essential band van for musical wanderings, and played a fun show.   We even had the Chainsaw Kittens back to town for a New Year’s Eve celebration that year (and partied ridiculously at a local Clifton home with exotic teas and more).  The days of alternative rock in Clifton were so alive then.   It was a great honor to have come full circle to be sharing the stage with a real idol of mine (I was the singer for Stich).   We even did a song together (although I sadly remember very little of that part although I know it was Tyson’s song and I think off of Motorcycle Childhood).   Tyson Todd Meade is coming back to Cincinnati, and may all the chaos and freedom of musical expression come with it!

On Wednesday June 24th 2015 at The Drinkery in Over the Rhine, Tyson Meade will be performing a solo set of his material from his latest solo album and perhaps songs from his brand new album (recording in China set to begin soon, his most recent work was also recorded in China).  This will be a rare opportunity to see one of the all-time alternative rock singer-songwriter greats in person.  It will be a true joy to see what kind of setlist he comes up with.  The night is being even further boosted by the hip and exciting songs of The Tongue and Lips.   This Cincinnati band will surely set the night on fire with some super fresh and delightful songs before Tyson takes the stage.  It should be one complete night of original music not to be missed in Cincinnati!  Tyson is also a world class painter and I hope he might bring some examples or pictures of his works we can share too!  

All artists/musicians/ and lovers of sound should be at The Drinkery for this special event.  I will be there in full force to celebrate this man’s incredible work, and have a great time with The Tongue & Lips too!   Make sure to review your Chainsaw Kittens and Tyson Meade discographies online before the show.   There is a great deal to immerse oneself in.   Just for the record my all time favorite is “Stuck” from the Chainsaw Kittens High in High School EP.  

PS: Lots of Love to Tyson- Its been almost 20 years since we first met in person!