Mr. Anonymous to perform in Vail
Vail, CO Colorado
Life isn’t perfect, so why should a song be. That’s how Mr. Anonymous, aka Jeep MacNichol, views music. MacNichol, the former drummer for The Samples, recorded his debut record as Mr. Anonymous in Jamaica in 2005.
“When I was in Jamaica, most every singer hadn’t heard the track beforehand and just free-styled whatever came to mind,” he said. “I am a huge believer in capturing the essence of a first take in the studio. I feel like the purest energy comes from rawness and improv. I think people in general can think and plan the life out of situations, and as an artist the first inspiration is always the best, even if it’s rough or sloppy, it’s real.”
MacNichol will perform at Samana Lounge in Vail tonight. He took the time to answer a few questions for the Vail Daily, including why he went “Anonymous,” what it was like reuniting with The Samples at last year’s Mile High Music Festival and what happened the last time he performed in Vail.
1. Vail Daily: Your newest music project, Mr. Anonymous, is a dub/reggae/dancehall project and quite a different direction musically from The Samples. What prompted the change?
Jeep MacNichol: Well I don’t really look at Mr. Anonymous as a “change” from The Samples but rather a natural progression for me as an artist. The Samples always had a reggae/world element to their music mostly coming from the rhythm section, so transitioning into what I do now was not a huge step … and the “melody” aspect of Mr. Anonymous is very similar to what we did as well. The biggest difference is the singers on the albums (mostly all from Jamaica or the U.K.) and the dub aspect of the live performance, both of which are stimulating to me in an experimental sense.
2. VD: Have you performed in Vail before? What do you remember about it?
JM: Last time I played in Vail was with The Samples at some hockey rink, and all I remember is a guy passed out on the street with some cops around him …. and somebody threw up in our dressing room.
3. VD: How was it reuniting with the original Samples at Denver’s Mile High Stadium last summer after 13 years apart?
JM: Ya know it was a lot of fun, mostly for the friendship vibe …. and it was especially fun jamming with Jon Popper from Blues Traveler because we used to do that on the H.O.R.D.E. tour back in the day. For me it was great coming back to those tunes with a new perspective of everything I’ve absorbed in the 13 years since I left the band.
4. VD: Did you ever consider getting back together permanently?
JM: Well there was definitely some pressure to put the band back together after the show because the hype was so huge on it. But for me, I have to stay true to what’s in my heart and right now my whole heart is with Mr. Anonymous. It was great playing the “best of” Samples set because those songs were the ones that really touched the fans and the ones that we created when we were “naturally” all on the same page and inspiring eachother. And there’s a purity there because the sound is coming from a genuine place. But going into the studio to try to recreate that natural flow just felt kind of creatively sleazy, like “let’s go in and capitalize on the hype.”
5. VD: How do you describe your music?
JM: Psychedelic electro tribal dub dancehall. It’s melodic, it’s moody, it’s danceable and it gives you good vibes!
6. VD: What can people expect from your upcoming show at Samana Lounge?
JM: I play drums live with two DJ’s and a VJ who does the films behind us. We are a four-piece. For the live shows, the DJ’s take the raw tracks from the albums and basically send them into the stratosphere while I play tribal rhythms on roto-toms or thick one drop style and reggae-ton beats. In a nutshell, we take the three-minute album version song and push its limits into the dub world.
7. VD: Why did you go with the name Mr. Anonymous? Is there a story there?
JM: I came up with the name Mr. Anonymous because I wanted a James Bond nemesis-like character for the project … kind of like the Wizard Of Oz. With most all of the songs featuring other singers I felt like my role was more of a behind-the-scenes ninja, playing the instruments, writing the music, and producing the vibe. So it was kind of a name for me to avoid being considered the front-man for the project.
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