Joey Cape - Vocals
Angus Cooke - Cello, Percussion, Vocals
Marko DeSantis - Bass
Thom Flowers - Guitars, Vocals
Derrick Plourde - Drums
Jonathan Cox - Loops, Keys, Programming
Todd Capps - Keys, Vocals
Bad Astronaut is the indie-rock side project of Joey Cape, lead singer and songwriter for the flagship Fat Wreck Chords band Lagwagon and 1/5 of the all-star punk cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. Formed in 2000, this 7-piece band has released two dark, mature, studio-heavy full lengths (2001’s Acrophobe & 2002’s Houston: We Have a Drinking Problem) influenced by serious songwriters such as the Flaming Lips, David Bowie & Elliot Smith. The band is rounded out by former Lagwagon drummer Derrick Plourde, Sugarcult guitarist Marko 72 and producer, engineer and owner of Orange Whip Studios, Angus Cooke.
Rather than serve you with some bloated, superfluous evaluation of their new (and final) record, I’ll let Joey describe, in his own heartfelt words, how this special album came to be and the influence of the passing of his dear friend Derrick Plourde.
“I have been working on Bad Astronaut’s third and final album, Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment for almost 4 years, the last year without my friend, our drummer Derrick Plourde. If you don’t already know, Derrick took his own life in March of 2005, leaving family, friends and admirers devastated. Before that day I considered not completing the record. I thought, as a whole, the album could be vastly improved. I knew it was a lot of work and I was already very busy. We spent so much time working on songs but none of them were finished. None of them sounded fully realized. A lot of the song writing seemed relatively unworthy when compared to our earlier records. Still, I knew this record had potential and when I recovered from the shock that followed Derrick’s suicide; I knew what I had to do. I had to finish the record for him. I had to pick up the pieces, sort through them and make our last collaboration worthy of his greatness.
Given the material I had to work with, I had a long way to go and much of it was going to be unprecedented ground for me. I spent the following weeks writing new songs and quickly recording a completely reactionary album called Resolve with my band Lagwagon, an equally necessary effort to honor Derrick and an essential part of the road to recovery. After completing the Lagwagon album I continued writing in grief. I knew many of the songs on the Bad Astronaut album would need to be reconstructed or re-written entirely. I spent a month directly patched into a Pro Tools session with a guitar, playing along to Derrick’s drum tracks, trying to re-establish the effortless chemistry he and I have always had. At times it felt like self-inflicted torture. Other times it was a spiritual experience. Regardless, I truly believe I grew from it all. Throughout the 4 years we spent periodically working on this record, Derrick was often in no condition to record. Sometimes I had no idea where he was sleeping or whether he was even alive. During one of his lapses I resolved to finish the record with a close friend of ours, Jonathan Gorman, a drummer Derrick deeply respected. Derrick and I never got the chance to record some of the songs we had rehearsed for Twelve Small Steps… In retrospect, I can see the value in releasing only the songs featuring Derrick’s drumming, but this wouldn’t truthfully document the process of making this album. In the end I did some drum editing and Derrick did not play on the entire album but I feel it best represents what he and I wanted.
The album has a split personality because it was recorded before and after losing Derrick. It emotes the feelings I felt throughout this entire period of my life. I am very pleased with the album and I hope Bad Astronaut fans will appreciate it as well, especially because it is one of Derrick Plourdeâs last musical contributions to this world. I consider this record to be the final Bad Astronaut album because without Derrick, there is no Bad Astronaut. Ironically Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment is a title that was conceived by Derrick and I during a rehearsal prior to our last recording session. It now seems all too appropriate and disturbingly sincere."
BAD ASTRONAUT’s Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment OUT November 14TH ON FAT WRECK CHORDS!