I’m really enjoying Conan’s return to late night. He’s been having fantastic musical guests so far: Jack White, Soundgarden and last night we were given a performance by the awesome band (that I won’t shut UP about), Fistful of Mercy. Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave guitar-god Tom Morello accompanied them for “Father’s Son”. And yes, that’s Dhani Harrison…George’s son.
I really, really love Fistful of Mercy’s musicality…and Tom Morello’s distinctive guitar? Wow. Just wow. I want to share a wonderful piece from CNN about how these incredible musicians came together and formed this “Super Group”…
“Dhani Harrison cruises past the conference table on his skateboard and pops a trick in the corner of Hot Records — the label founded by his father, the late Beatle George Harrison. A couple of minutes later, Joseph Arthur skates down the hall. Then Ben Harper walks in, a black-and-white board tucked under his arm.
So much for networking on a golf course.
The new trio Fistful of Mercy had its genesis at a Southern California skate park. Harrison, who fronts the indie band thenewno2, bumped into Harper — then in the midst of working with his rock project, Relentless 7.
“When you’re skateboarding, you don’t really have time to socialize. It’s more like trying not to hurt yourself,” says Harrison. “We met again at Lollapalooza, and it was like, ‘Oh hi, skateboard guy.’ And we talked about doing some songs.”
In the meantime, Harper had made plans to enter the studio with Arthur, his longtime friend. “It was all done via text messages really,” recalls Arthur. “He asked me if I knew Dhani Harrison, and I said, ‘No, is he in our band?’ ”
The three musicians ended up writing and recording nine songs over the course of three highly productive days at the Carriage House in Los Angeles. Most of the songs are acoustic and feature three-part harmonies.
“I’ve heard it called a folk record, and I’ve heard it called a pop record. I’ve heard it called a soul record,” says Harper. “It really is a chameleon of a record.”
Its lyrics also have a chameleon-like quality. The album tells the story of someone trying to figure out where he stands in a relationship. Given the fact that Harper recently filed for divorce from actress Laura Dern, his wife of five years, one might think it is a record full of breakup songs — especially since the CD opens with the line, “Just ’cause you say so don’t make it true. Just ’cause it’s over don’t mean we’re through.”
“I can see them interpreted as that,” Harper says. “It’s a record that will reflect where you’re at, more than us being able to say what it’s like.”
Harrison, however, says the lyrics tell the journey of Fistful of Mercy. “I see the record as more people getting to know each other and testing each other’s boundaries,” he says.
“The first song we wrote together was ‘I Don’t Want to Waste Your Time,’ because we all are a little nervous about wasting each other’s time,” Arthur says. “The album’s kind of like a conversation — a three-way conversation — and sort of a document of friends becoming brothers.”
Go buy this cd–or download it. Because I said so.