The Thing — the Scandinavian free-jazz trio made up of Mats Gustafsson, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, and Paal Nilssen-Love — are a hard musical group to talk about for a guy like me with a bunch of cut-ups for friends. I’ll be all like “Oh, Greg, did you hear that The Thing have a new record coming out on November 5?” and Greg’ll say, “Which thing? HAHAHAHAHA!” Ha ha, Greg, keep laughing and we’ll see how funny it is when I turn your entire throat inside out, how about that? Or get this, I was telling my friend Stephanie that the album’s called BOOT! and that it’s The Thing’s sixth studio album and she was just like, “BOOT!? Just one? Where’s the other one? Are they waiting… on the other boot to drop?!?!?”
My guy out in San Fran, Rufus, called me up the other night and before I could even get in a single word he just blurted out, “Did you hear that BOOT! was recorded over three ‘intense days?’ Sounds crazy. You wanna hear what I did for three intense days… with your mom?” Geez, Rufus, get a life. And Rory, god, Rory is the worst. She wanted to let me know that BOOT! features re-worked versions of compositions by John Coltrane and Duke Ellington, but she couldn’t pull herself together long enough to even do that. I guess she was too busy inviting me to Applebee’s for dinner just so she could put our name in as Donner and laugh at the host when he called out “Donner, party of two?” I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that I left that Applebee’s in a major huff.
I also told my neighbor Charlie about the impressive list of people that The Thing have worked with either collectively or as individuals, especially because I knew he was a fan of people like Neneh Cherry, The Ex, Peter Brötzmann, Sonic Youth, and Merzbow, but all he could say was, “Heh, I hope you’re checking that list twice… you know? Like Santa Claus would!” Really, Charlie?
But that’s enough about me. Like I tried to tell my friends, BOOT! is out November 5 on The Thing Records. According to the label’s site (which is run by the group), there are also plans to re-issue the group’s entire back catalog, with 2011’s Mono coming first, later this fall. And no, Mitch, a “back catalog” is not a big book where you order new backs and have them delivered to your house. For crying out loud, that doesn’t even approach being funny. Get a hold of yourself man, you’re an adult!
04. Red River
• The Thing: http://www.thethingrecords.com