I am so proud of my 2 oldest kids for performing as part of 2x the Mono on the weekend at our annual Porch Concert. My 10 year old boy is now playing on 2 songs and we worked all week on his Robot Costume. My Daughter was 2 days shy of 13 and was singing beautifully and even wrote her own synth lines for our song “We’re all Brothers.” Should also note that this was my 3 year old boy’s first concert! A big thank you to Darin Martin for playing and having me sit in on some songs. I would also like to thank The Commons for letting us use their sound system, we couldn’t do this event year after year with out their help.
2x the Mono will be performing a set at Cahoots Festival on the evening of Saturday July 11th, 2015.
2x the Mono BIO:
2x the Mono is a “Daddy/Daughter” duo that mixes together strange instruments like ukuleles & omnichords. “Dad” is pushing 40, but still likes to sing songs about robots in a voice that is much too high for his age. “Daughter” is 12 and plays analog synths that were obsolete long before she was born. The combo is a synth-folk sound that comes from a distant retro future.
On September 19th, 2x the Mono debuted our new line up. It’s a Daddy/Daughter Combo! I played Ukulele and my 11 year old daughter rocked out on the Omnichord. We were able to capture this historic moment on video. A big thanks to Dave Gould who jumped in with some improvised percussion.
Hey It’s A Birthday Christmas Single by 2x the Mono – FREE on Bandcamp
A new version of a little Christmas tune that originally appeared on the “Lo-Fi Christmas” album. This recording was inspired by 2x the Mono’s stripped down live performances of this song, and was recorded in just 60 minutes in Hamilton’s historic Grant Avenue Studio.
This song is a Christmas gift from 2x the Mono to you so feel free to download it for FREE (But don’t forget to pass the gift on to all your friends as well).
Randell Neudorf – vocals / guitar / sleigh bells / composer
Regan Neudorf – bass / glockenspiel / synth / floor tom
Adrian McFarlane – drums
recorded and mixed at Grant Avenue Studio in Hamilton, Ontario
produced by Amy King & Christopher Clause
mastered by Ryan Gollner
back-masked piano by Amy King
photo by Jennifer Kellner
On Saturday 2x the Mono rocked out at the Art of Sound festival with our 11 year old synth player. She was much cooler then us old guys.
Us “poor starving artists” often have more merch stashed under our beds then cash in our pockets. If we get the feeling that we can do a swap with a band we like, we are more then willing to make a trade.
That is how I acquired this Gasoline Gathers Hands Gathers Friends (gghgf) shirt. My friend Scott Johnson is part of gghgf and also plays under the name Thoughts on Air. Scott and I have played a couple shows together and we have worked on the New Harbours Experimental Concert Serries together. At one show Scott asked, “Would you be maybe be interested in trading a 2x the Mono shirt and CD for a Gasoline shirt and record? I jumped on the chance and said “Absolutely!”
Not only was I excited to get a cool shirt and some new music on vinyl, but I was also very honoured to have Scott walking around Hamilton in a 2x the Mono shirt. Scott is a very important experimental musician (locally and internationally), so it is a huge complement when someone like him is sporting your Band’s Shirt.
Listener is a poetry/indie rock mash up that sounds like it was made by a friendly band of pirates. They are also this weeks featured T-shirt Story.
A couple of years ago, I had been emailing Listener vocalist Dan Smith, trying to work out a show with them & 2x the Mono (didn’t work out, they got stuck at the border). But when they did make it to Hamilton on another tour I finally got to meet Dan in person.
I introduced my self to Dan at the merch table and he immediately grabbed me in a big hug and said (imagine this all being said by a pirate for the full effect), “Rrrrannnndellll, Grrreat to meat you! How have you been? So sorrrry about not making it to the last show… blah, blah, blah…” Now the reason I can’t really remember the rest of this 5 minute conversation, is that Dan never released me from his epic hug. He grabbed me, pulled me in and carried on the whole conversation while giving me a big monster bear hug.
I was both impressed with Dan’s focus/intentionality and yet weirded-out/unnerved by this intrusion on my personal space. Funny thing was when my conversation was over another fan walks up to say hi to Dan. “Hi Dan, I saw you in Toronto last week…” Dan grabs him in his bear hug and pulls him right in “Johnnnn! Grrrreat to see ya’ againnnnn….” You should have seen the surprised look on this young man, I’m guessing I had the exact same stupefied look on my face.
Listener has had a pretty profound effect on my song writing. Although I have always done some spoken word songs, I would always write the music first and add the lyrics afterwards. When I saw Dan do a solo Listener show with out the rest of the band he did half the songs as poems without music, and this really stuck with me. The musicality of the words on their own really inspired me. I wanted to write lyrics/poems that had that same innate musical quality in them before even a single note was added. I started writing lyrics with only a pen and paper and no guitar in sight. I would speak/shout the words, trying to see where they took me. This is how my song “Community VS Technology” was born. The great thing about putting so much into the words, is that it can make you have to dig deeper to find the right notes to live up to the lyrics, and when you are done you can end up someplace completely unexpected.
Star Wars is such huge memory from my childhood that I wrote a song about it called Science Fantasy. All the verses are about the movies and all the choruses are about how the Star Wars phenomenon intersected with my family.
Science Fantasy (Lyrics by Randell Neudorf)
Epic tales from a future past
Grand adventures with lightning swords
Its science fantasy
Princess power with good old blasters
Redeemed scoundrels join the battle
Its science fantasy
Action figures brought the fun home
Bought my first one before I saw the show
I must have got the wrong one cause my dad brought me back
I’ll never forget what he did next
He bought one more and said “You need the hero”
Fallen dark lord, an evil master
Technologic terror tactics
Its science fantasy
One line wonders from bounty hunters
Backgrounds implied so don’t deny
There’s a history
I heard the theme song at my grandma’s house
My uncle was playing it from a record on the shelf
He asked me would I like to see the show
He took my brother and I with grandma in tow
It was a double feature, that’s how I saw the first two
Puppet master, a hairy giant
Tin can humor, a golden tongue
Such cute robots
Cool space ships, like flying Lego
All in real space, all in real time
I believed it all
My brother got scared of the hairy side kick
But oh did he love that little green man
We loved those movies way past prime
And bought all the toys from discount bins
Just two poor boys with no chagrin
Some music sticks with you for a life time. It’s the music that you were raised on and grew up into and now shapes how you raise your own children. For some people that would be the Beatles, Elvis, or the Doors, but for me it is Larry Norman.
When I was a toddler I would fall asleep in the living room listening to Larry Norman on my dad’s 8-track with a giant pair of headphones. The album was “Upon This Rock” and my favourite song was the “Moses Song.” I loved the contrast of the pretty voices singing “Milk & Honey” with Larry yelling out his part so much that he lets out a little cough in the middle of the song. Being on 8-Track, there were some untimely pauses in the middle of the songs as the machine switched mechanically from track to track, but even those pauses became part of the music for me. I had actually listened to the album for so long on 8-Track that when I bought my own copy on a CD I missed the 8-Track pauses and felt a jarring sensation every time my CD played the song with the familiar pauses “missing.”
Later in my childhood, music didn’t seem to be played as often in my home. I’m not sure why that was. When I was a tween I started listening to music on my own. I’d buy an album once every 4 months or so with my allowance. Not having a lot of money to find new music to listen to, I also started mining my Dad’s record collection to help feed my desire to hear more music.
I remember going through each of my dad’s records and listening for a couple seconds and thinking “crap.” I tried the next record “crap,” “Crap,” “more Crap,” and then I found it. I found a record with a long haired man looking very cool and intense. I popped on the record and fell in love. The album was “Only Visiting This Planet,” and every song was the most amazing arrangement of classic rock awesomeness I had ever heard.
I can’t over estimate how profound an influence the music of Larry Norman has been on me (musically, politically, and spiritually). I trace any inkling of my sense of social justice and peace activism to songs like “I’am the Six O’clock News.”
2x the Mono may not sound like a Larry Norman cover band but why does everyone of our albums have at least one song on it with spoken word lyrics? Because that’s what Larry did. Sure bands like Rage Against the Machine, Project 86 and Listener have influenced the character of that spoken word, but it was Larry Norman that first showed me the power of words spoken over music on songs like “Reader’s Digest” & “Nightmare #71.”
Songs like “The Outlaw” enshrined a picture of Jesus that holds true for me today in my spiritual life more then any theological book or preacher’s sermon.
I’ve seen Larry Norman live 3 times.
The first show was in High School with my friend Andrew, my brother Regan and my Dad. We arrived 3 hours early and were the very first people in line. It was general admission so we wanted to make sure we got good seats. No one else showed up until 2 hours before the show (and they were very surprised that they weren’t the first people in line). The Funny thing was that after all that waiting we had to settle for 2nd row seats because the promoter let his family in early and they took up the front row. Luckily they were short and we still had a great view. I had enough money at this show to buy a couple tapes that I didn’t have, but there were so many more recordings that I didn’t own but didn’t have the cash to purchase.
The second show I saw was in University and I had saved up $200 from teaching guitar lessons. I bought every album I didn’t have, and upgraded a couple I did have to CD. I even bought a couple”best of albums” that had alternate versions and bonus tracks on them.
The third show I saw was with my wife Susan shortly after we were married. I again bought a lot of merch (including the this week’s Larry Norman for President T-Shirt) and Susan got to see her first glimpse of my weakness for merch.
These Larry Norman shows weren’t just about the music, they were religious experiences for me. It sounds cultish but it was like getting to hear a prophet or great philosopher. I hung on every word of every story between every song. I laughed at his jokes about dinosaurs and almost cried as he told people “If you don’t help feed the poor, don’t buy my records, and don’t come to my shows.” Again it sounds sacrilegious to write about how much I look up to Larry Norman as an idol, but his music and persona has been such a huge part of my life.
In 2008 Larry Norman passed away and I mourned as if I had lost a close family member (even though I never met the man in person). Believe it or not Larry Norman even showed up in a couple of my dreams at that time, and as cheesy as it sounds i sort of feel like I got a chance to say goodbye.
Here is a 2x the Mono track called “Cowboy Pacifist” that comes straight from my Socially Conscious Larry Norman Roots.
Older posts from Randell about the death of Larry Norman:
I am a proud Hamiltonian who lives near the stadium formally known as Ivor Wynne. I have had the chance to see a number Tiger Cats games there with my kids.
At my day job as the Pastor for The Commons (believe it or not, a number of musicians in the Hamilton Music Scene are also pastors), I spend a lot of time thinking & talking about neighbourhood and community. When I heard about the new stadium being named “Tim Hortons Field,” it got my creative juices flowing. I first wrote an article entitled “What’s In A Name?” for The Commons Blog and then the story got reprinted in the August 2013 Issue of Urbanicity.
In the article I talked about what choosing a name says about what we value as a society:
“In the grand scheme of things Corporate Naming of Stadiums isn’t so important. It isn’t a huge justice issue. I don’t want to see parks or schools getting into the world of Corporate Naming but I understand why a giant stadium is seeking out every revenue source it can find. I also understand why companies try to align them selves with buildings and events that the wider community cares about.
For me though, I would be more impressed with an organization like Tim Hortons if they paid for the naming rights and then used it to say something about what they value. Imagine…
Lincoln Alexander Stadium – We value progress, racial equality, and our history. We believe that every child that pursues an education can go on to do great things.
Bernie Faloney Field – We celebrate our sports heroes. We remember all you did on and off the field. When you moved to our city you didn’t just become a Tiger Cat you became a Hamiltonian.
Hamilton Community Stadium – We our proud of our roots and we give this stadium back to the community that has supported us for so long with all those double double purchases.
Tiger Field – We know why you’re here, it’s the same for us. Go Tiger-Cats Go!”
– Click Here to read the full article.
I was also able to use my friend Jennifer Kellner‘s amazing photo of Ivor Wynne in the article.
Jen and I sell our art/photos/merch together at the Art Crawl Makers’ Market each month, and we got the great idea of taking the article and photo even farther by creating an Ivor Wynne T-Shirt together. That shirt is today’s T-Shirt of the Week.
We will be selling our Ivor Wynne shirts (and other art) at the James Street Super Crawl on Fri Sep 13th and Sat Sep 14th, at our tent just outside Christ’s Church Cathedral in the Makers’ Market. We have lots of different sizes and they come in both Gold and Grey shirts.
Normally I don’t talk so much about my art on this blog, so to give a little 2x the Mono tie in take a listen to our song “Industrial C.” The songs is about my neighbourhood that is a both a stone’s through from the stadium and the factories. If you like the tune you can download the full “Community VS Technology EP” for free on bandcamp.
Incidentally I should also mention that many of 2x the Mono’s promo photos were taken by Jennifer Kellner.