LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Architects of noise, composers of modern art, experimenters, masters of craft... The members of ephemeral collective Tears of Silver bring much to the table. This quartet is comprised of four individual, highly accomplished artists (Ken Stringfellow, Jesse Chandler, Jonathan Donahue and Grasshopper) who would each be able to mesmerize a room on their own repertoire without question.
But there's magic in mixing, and it's here where a night with Tears of Silver takes on a larger than life significance.
Jesse Chandler comes from Woodstock, N.Y., and is a member of internationally acclaimed bands Midlake and Mercury Rev. Fluent on many different instruments, he's also played sideman to such diverse talents as Norah Jones and Daniel Johnston. His other projects include BNQT with members of Franz Ferdinand, Travis, Grandaddy and Band of Horses; and Pneumatic Tubes with Rachel Goswell of Slowdive. Jesse enjoys the "Three R's": readin', runnin', and 'rchestratin', though not at the same time. His favorite breakfast cereal is Grape-Nuts, and he sees each day of the week as a different color. Orange and yellow days are his current favorites.
Jonathan Donahue is a founding member of American legends Mercury Rev and was a member of the Flaming Lips in the very late 1980’s and early 90’s. Jonathan's haunting, whispery tenor is easily one of the most identifiable in contemporary music, his singing and songwriting heard on classic albums by Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips, Chemical Brothers, and the Avalanches. A native of the Catskill Mountains, He studied with renowned beat poet Robert Creeley in Buffalo during the mid 80’s after a promising career in ice hockey was cut short due to a recurring ‘lack of skill’. A lover of dark chocolate, this spry, whiskered Taurus is quite the mood-swinger and can be a real handful at times*. He currently holds the title of ‘Godfather’ to Grasshopper’s first-born son, Donovan.
Grasshopper is also a founding member of Mercury Rev, known for his epic guitar tones and delicate backing vocals (and occasional lead vocals). He has released full length albums of ambient drone music, has studied film and media with iconoclasts such as Tony Conrad and Paul Sharits, and started his musical career on the ol' licorice stick--the clarinet. He has lent his Hoppertronics to recordings by Swans, Luna, Mark Gardener, and Five Dollar Priest among many others. He lives to bet against all odds, whether it be at the roulette table, the horse track or stage left on a night at the Opera House.
Ken Stringfellow is a founding member of the Posies, and has long associations with iconic groups R.E.M. and Big Star. He has released four acclaimed solo albums, a country western opera, and produced albums for Damien Jurado, The Long Winters, and dozens more. He has performed in over 85 countries worldwide, and been sideman to Neil Young, Patti Smith, Robyn Hitchcock…he's also known as "Le P'tit Yanqui Bizarre" on his adopted island home somewhere in the Atlantic. Hollywood born, raised in the Pacific Northwest, occasional Parisian.
Each night, songs will flow from the four corners of these deep and wide careers, and mix sonic hallmarks from one repertoire to the other -- from Midlake's post-folk, both pastoral and cerebral, to Mercury Rev's orchestral haze, to Ken's heartfelt indie balladry and formidable piano skills -- spilling over and recombining and forming a rapturous gestalt.
The shows will not be in clubs, but in handpicked alternative spaces chosen by the group. The locations will be kept secret; only the dates and cities will be announced, and the actual venues will be announced to the ticket holders only, 48 hours before the show. This concept was developed by Ken on his tour with the Posies' latest release, which found the band popping up in churches, motor garages, mansions, caves and more.
The evening will be a chance to enjoy the modern classics from each artist's long history as well as some new music they have created for the occasion (and certainly cover songs beloved to them repurposed and retooled for this tour) This is the first time Mercury Rev's music has been performed in many parts of America for nearly a decade.