Michael Cera Palin Kicks Off Their First Major Tour
If you've not yet given Michael Cera Palin's latest EP, I Don't Know How to Explain It a proper listen, you've done yourself a great disservice.
The trio's first release in a year and a half is an outstanding 5 song independent effort that boasts gripping, heartfelt lyrics as well as powerful playing, and showcases the band's trademark blend of pop punk, emo, indie, and (to a lesser extent) math rock influences.
For the uninitiated, I Don't Know How to Explain It serves as an ideal introduction to a group that, in addition to possessing what well may be the greatest band name in the history of band names, seems to have mastered the art of creating music that's supremely down-to-earth, relatable, and engaging on a personal level (a skill that has rightfully earned Michael Cera Palin widespread acclaim in the Atlanta DIY scene).
For existing fans, the new record will undoubtedly represent a welcome and logical next step in the thematic and stylistic direction Elliott Brabant, Jon Williams, and Jon Buncic first established with their 2016 release, Growing Pains.
On Friday, May 4th, the band will embark on a tour of the Eastern US in support of I Don't Know How to Explain It, starting with a kickoff show at The Bakery in Atlanta.
Though unable to meet in person due to an (understandably) packed schedule ahead of the run, guitarist and lead vocalist Elliott Brabant took the time to briefly speak with me over the phone regarding the new record and upcoming tour.
Elliott, thanks a ton for taking the time to talk with me today. First off, I love the new EP. It’s got a certain raw, honest quality to it that hooked me with the first listen. What was the inspiration for the record? What went into making it? Is there significance to the title?
The title has to do with the fact that the lyrics are really all about points of fixation, and how I wrote the songs in kind of a stream of consciousness, just trying to come to grips with those fixations. There’s a song on there about reckoning with a relationship that’s falling apart, there’s one about seeing people come and go in local music…it’s all shit that I already think about on a regular basis and felt the need to figure out and put into words. On a musical basis, everything just came together like it did because we like to jam, you know? We like to rock.
Now, I’ve got to ask, because it’s such an interesting rendition…what made you decide to cover Sheryl Crowe’s “If It Makes You Happy”?
Well, it’s a great song. And I think that for a lot of people, the only reason they haven’t realized that it’s great is because it falls into the whole “adult alternative” thing. The lyrics are just earnest and amazing. We wanted to share the song with people who might not hear it, or give it a chance, or otherwise be exposed to it – push past style boundaries, you know? Show them that great art is being made everywhere. Honestly, Sheryl Crowe is a really talented person, and a great lyricist.
Now, you’re about to hit the road in support of the EP’s release. Is this your first tour?
This is our first real run of dates, yeah. This is the first time it’s been more than, like, three shows back to back, and it’s the furthest we’ve been from home.
How long will the tour be, and what cities are you going to hit?
It’s going to last 12 days, including the kickoff show. We’ll be starting in Atlanta, then going up to Charlotte, then Raleigh, and DC…After that, we’ve got a date just outside of Baltimore, then we’ll stop in Philly…there’s a show in New Brunswick, New Jersey, then Rochester, New York. Then we’ll make a bit of a curve around The Great Lakes to Detroit. Then it’s Columbus, Ohio, and then we finish up in Nashville.
Are you nervous about it?
No, not really. Not particularly. I’m lucky that I’ve been on the road before. Granted, I’ve only ever done it one time before, and I didn’t go as far from Atlanta, so there’ll obviously be a lot of stuff to learn along the way. But yeah. I’m excited for the experience. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with some people that live out of state that I wouldn’t get to see, otherwise, and it’s always cool to meet new people as you go.
What are you hoping people take away from seeing the band live as you make this run?
I mean, if they connect with our art, that’s ideal. Or even if they just enjoy us on a surface level and think we sound like something they’d want to keep listening to, that’s cool. I really just want us to bring positive vibes. I want to create a positive, caring environment that garners expression. And honestly, whether that’s enjoyment, or whether someone hates the shit out of our music, that’s cool too.
When you get back, what does the future hold?
We’ve only got one other Atlanta show currently planned after the tour is over. I don’t know. We’ll cross each bridge as we get to it, I guess. As far as I’m concerned, I’d love to focus on writing a bit more, so that, hopefully, the next release won’t take so long.
Cool. Well, I think that about sums it up. Best of luck on the road, and thanks for your time!