#113 – “Processional” (1996)

House Of Mayors EP

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.
A.S.: Same here again. This of course being the minor key variation on the “House of Mayors” theme.
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.
A.S.: Yeah, especially his saxophone skills here.  I think he’s much better with larger saxophones.
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.
A.S.: Really?
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.
L.K.: It’s also noticeable in his solo in “Reprehensible”, and the clarinet playing in the theme for The Oblongs also sounds like him. For as technically “wrong” as it is, it does make his playing very distinct-sounding.
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.
A.S.: Yes, as we were mentioning yesterday, this is what ought to be in Podcasts, not just live Venue Songs repeated.
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.
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