#113 – “Processional” (1996)
A.S.: Since the technical title of this song is “Processional”, I’ll specify that this is the first “Processional” on the House of Mayors EP
L.K.: Not gonna lie, this is my favorite of the three processionals that serve as variations on the main theme of the EP’s title track.
A.S.: I’m not sure if this is my favorite or the third (the fast, rockin’ one) is, but regardless, this is really a great bit of music.
L.K.: I’m a total sucker for clarinets, man.
A.S.: Same here. Same here.
L.K.: Also minor keys.
L.K.: I just really enjoy the arrangement and instrumentation of this one a whole lot. I can’t help but wonder if it would sound better if John Linnell’s woodwind skills were a bit more, shall we say, schooled.
L.K.: I mean, there is still a certain charm to his clarinet playing though, but yeah, his sax skills are less up to snuff.
A.S.: His clarinet playing sounds a bit better, I think – he certainly has an untrained tone, but he can bend notes pretty darn well.
L.K.: Am I the only one who thinks he doesn’t actually tongue anything on clarinet? He always sounds like he articulates solely with his embouchure.
A.S.: I’ve never thought of it that way, but I think you’re right.
L.K.: I am being a total clarinet player here. I’m just saying so because I actually used to do the same thing for a while.
L.K.: Then I got yelled at for it, so I stopped.
A.S.: I never did that, but part of me wishes I did, since I’m not a very good classical clarinetist, so I might have been better off with that wildly untrained style.
L.K.: I think everybody goes through a phase where it’s like, “man, tonguing everything all the time sounds so boring, let’s try sort of sliding around a little bit”
A.S.: Oh yeah, I used to do that in rehearsals.
L.K.: I was doing it in marching band for songs that weren’t classical marches, but still got yelled at for it anyway. I am still a big fan of vibrato on clarinets, but that is ALWAYS frowned upon. Unless you’re in a jazz band or klezmer band. Well, or in this case… a rock band.
A.S.: Really? My badass clarinet professor was never particularly against vibrato. But anyway, Linnell’s embouchure-instead-of-tonguing technique is especially evident at the part that goes “stacked in columns and rows” in the lyrical variation.
A.S.: And it sounds great in context. I mean a lot of things about TMBG and rock and roll in general is that it’s technically wrong. A lot of bands go out of their way to make things wrong, TMBG included.
L.K.: Yeah, rock is not known for its orthodoxy.
A.S.: So why not apply that to woodwinds? Even in pieces like this, which are much more classical in nature, it works out just fine.
L.K.: I really like how the processionals give this sort of sense of structure to the House of Mayors EP that a lot of other EPs lack. It really is constructed as its own suite of pieces, rather than a bunch of songs stuck together that wouldn’t fit on an album.
A.S.: Oh yeah, as I think we discussed when “David Dinkins” came up in the shuffle. It’s a great EP, probably the most cohesive single body of work in the band’s entire, extended repertoire.
L.K.: It’s just a shame it’s so hard to come across! Fan-to-fan file sharing is literally the only way it’s accessible anymore. Even the original Hello EP itself is almost impossible to come by in a physical format.
L.K.: Agreed. It’s not like TMBG is able to make any money off of it in the format it’s currently being disseminated in anyway, so why not release it on a podcast?
A.S.: That’s the problem with free stuff, you can’t complain about it without looking like a dick but well
L.K.: I don’t know, we joined the Instant Fan Club, so I think we can complain a little.