After releasing The Tells of Parallels, I felt we were onto something, and that it was time to leave Company of Thieves to start writing the first full-length Mutts album. Bob was still playing with Big Science and Empires, and Chris Faller was touring with Company of Thieves. So we had to approach recording a little differently.
This time we worked with Dan Smart, whose Echo/Normal Studio was in his apartment, so we could work in shorter sessions whenever everyone was available.
The night before the first session in February 2011 was this epic snow storm, and so Pray For Rain started out with a whole lot of snow shoveling.
I would say this begins the 2nd phase of Mutts’ sound. On this record we did more instrumental layering and experimentation than on the EPs. I brought back the acoustic piano along with the amplified keys. Bob and I had started doing monthly acoustic shows at Reggie’s, and this is the 1st of many times he plays an acoustic upright bass on a Mutts album. It’s also the first time Bob plays electric guitar. Everything was fair game. Chris even convinced me to let him add bongos on a track.
That Summer Chris was mostly on the road with CoT, so Bob played drums on a few more shows. In May we got to play our 1st Audiotree Live – with Chris home from tour for a few days, I think we squeezed in one rehearsal before that session. And then we found Joey.
Bob and I met Joe Mullen through Company of Thieves – his band Endless Hallway was on the same label and was unbelievably bad ass. But they had just broken up and he was looking for a new project. So Bob and I put an end to our brief duo phase and Joe moved to Chicago from L.A. to be our drummer. He made it just in time to play the snare drum on the interlude track on this album, so he does appear on a recording. He did a whole bunch of tour dates with us, including a few more duo shows with me while Bob was on tour with Big Science. I think his most lasting contribution to Mutts is that many of the ideas for songs on the next three albums started out as improvisational jams with Joe in the practice space. He played drums on the album release show December 13th at Subterranean, then he moved back west.
Our circle of life on drums continued, as we closed the year with a couple shows featuring original Company of Thieves drummer Mike Ortiz on drums.