Bocce & Bourbon: The Comfortable Songs of Chandler Travis & David Greenberger is a nineteen song testament to the men’s enduring friendship and the astounding, good-naturedly errant art that has been its by-product… or perhaps its lifeblood! The collection includes seven previously unreleased songs, one radical rearrangement, and eleven that have appeared on various releases by Travis’ many musical vehicles: The Chandler Travis Three-O, The Catbirds, The Chandler Travis Philharmonic, The Incredible Casuals, solo, and with Rabbit Rabbit.
Bocce & Bourbon: The Comfortable Songs of Chandler Travis & David Greenberger is being released June 12 on the Iddy Biddy label.
Ghettoblaster recently caught up with Chandler Travis to discuss the collaborative record. This is what he told us.
When did you begin writing the material for Bocce & Bourbon?
These are all songs I wrote with my friend David Greenberger, and the first one we wrote, “(You & Me) Pushin’ Up Daisies,” the last cut on the album, was written about 1983.
What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?
“Strongman of North America” was the one that involved the most work, and the one that came out the most differently from how I thought it would, due to my taking a lot of suggestions from my old friend Steve Berkowitz (former manager of the Cars, and current label liason for Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and a bunch of other legends) that led me in some unexpected directions. For instance, where, in the original arrangement I had the whole band come in strong, Steve suggested I get rid of everyone except for acoustic guitar, and to just kind of recite the lyric, an idea that couldn’t have sounded more out of left field to me, but for some reason (and believe me, I’m not usually nearly this suggestible!) I tried it (or at least something fairly close to it, and it worked amazingly well.
So, it wasn’t difficult -in fact, it was thrilling and surprising and delightful! -but it did take a lot of work, and came out completely different from my original conception, and Steve is a wizard!
Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record?
Jesus, are you kidding? Yeah, zillions! Well ok, not zillions, but there’s about 30 guys on this thing -not really that many, when you consider that it’s a compilation that includes about six different bands -the Chandler Travis Philharmonic, the Incredible Casuals, the Catbirds, the Chandler Travis Three-O, and Rabbit Rabbit (in addition to some solo work) -including amazing contributions from longtime cohorts like Rikki Bates, Johnny Spampinato, Keith Spring, Bill Scheniman, Keiichi Hashimoto, Ken Field, Dinty Child, Berke McKelvey, John Clark, and on and on (not to mention my esteemed lyricist throughout, David Greenberger.)
Who produced the record? What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?
I produced most of it; I had pretty good input, as I know myself intimately.
Is there an overarching concept behind the album that ties the record together?
Yes, it’s all songs written with my longtime collaborator, David Greenberger. Comfortable ones.
Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?
Been playing all of ’em, to varying extents, some (particularly the seven new songs) just recently, and some for decades (for instance, “Daisies” has been recorded on three different occasions in at least a couple completely different arrangements, and I’ve played it incessantly for thirty years or so.
(Visit Travis and Greenberger here: