Christian here.

We three Presidential songwriters, along with about 10 other musicians, played a gig a few weeks ago in Sacramento–a kind of local celebration of the release of Of Great and Mortal Men.  I took some of the proceeds of that gig and joined the National Organization for Women (NOW if you dig acronyms).

There are numerous reasons to do this–it’s an important organization for forwarding the rights of over half of the people on this planet: geniuses, scientists, writers, mothers, poets, wives, doctors, etc.  But more immediate for me is the knowledge that Jefferson, Matthew and I collected over 50 musicians together to put together Of Great and Mortal Men and I think there are only four women on the entire project.  That seems embarrassing to me.  (Not to mention that to my immediately knowledge there are no people of color whatsoever.)  One could make the argument, I suppose, that we wrote a bunch of songs about white men and hence the “casting” makes sense, but I still don’t like it, and I’d guess my co-writers have similar feelings on the issue.

In any case, there’s much a man can to do help, and this is just one way.  Apologies to women everywhere for our phallocentric representation of a phallocentric history.

If you’re interested in NOW, just click here.

Published in: on September 27, 2008 at 8:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

American River College, Sacramento, CA

American River College
Sacramento, CA
Tuesday, November 18, 12:15pm – 1:15pm
Location: Raef 160

Facilitator: Michael Spurgeon

Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies

Hosted by ARC English Professor Michael Spurgeon, Christian Kiefer and J. Matthew Gerken will discuss their new triple CD project: Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies, an indie rock romp through American history. They’ll also perform a few of songs from this project live with help from drummer (and Presidential trivia maniac) Chip Conrad. Nick Miller, in a feature article on the group in the September 4, 2008, Sacramento News and Review writes the project is “dynamic, both stylistically and thematically, exploring ambient, prog and funk while portending a darker view of U.S. history.”

This activity meets ARC goals 1, 4 and state PD guideline B.

Published in: on September 26, 2008 at 8:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Register to Vote

Haven’t registered to vote yet.  Do it!  You can get the paperwork you need from filling out a quick form on the Rock the Vote site, or visit the voter registration for your state.  It’s easy.  You need to.  Even if economists think it’s statistically a waste of time.  They’re idiots though.  Obviously!

Published in: on September 26, 2008 at 6:25 am  Leave a Comment  

New Press

Here are some recent places the album has cropped up around the cyberjoint:

  • Some nice comments from the AruOnline blog (a friend of bass axeman Chad) on our Sactown CD release for the Presidents can be found here.  Some pics of J. Matthew Gerken and Co. rockin’ someone–Harrison, perhaps, or Bush, Sr
  • We made the “Top 10” list from XL8R!  Jeez!
  • And a news note from the Daily Kos.  Check the comment below: “not too cheesy.”  Thanks!
  • An 8.5 from Prefix and those folks don’t give those away.  Well-written review too.
  • Alarm Press ran a news story on it too.
  • And of course My Old Kentucky Blog.  So can forget the Colonel?  Not us!  You’ll need to scroll down for this one.

Meanwhile, as staggering as this sounds, we’re actually already starting the longish process of contemplating SXSW for March of ’09.  Yee haw Texas again!  Lonestar!  Everytime we finish SXSW I feel older and stupider, but it sure it a good time.

Published in: on September 24, 2008 at 4:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Why we love Venus

Because of, among other things, this 5 star review of Of Great and Mortal Men.  Thanks, VenusZine!  Tasty quotes from our songs about Van Buren, Jackson, Washington, GHW Bush, and GW Bush too.

On Insight

Hey!  Jefferson, Matthew, & I spoke on Capitol Public Radio (Sacramento) show Insight today with the great David Watts Barton at the helm.  Listen in as we talk about all manner of Presidential songwriting madness (including clips and discussion of Ford, Jackson, L.B. Johnson, and Washington). 

Here’s the link for the archive.  We’re on second, after the super smart scientists discussing the Hadron Collider.  Yeow.

Link to Insight’s homepage here, in the advent that the link above is not working.  Thanks to Mark Jones, Jen Picard, and David Watts Barton (and the absent Jeffrey Callison) for having us on air.  Go team!

Published in: on September 16, 2008 at 12:04 am  Leave a Comment  


43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies

Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies

In case you’ve not seen it, here’s the cover art for Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies.  Art is by scratchboard maniac Kurt Lightner.  Amazing!

Due to a distribution gaffe, it’s listed under the band name (what?) “Of Great and Mortal Men” most places so you might have to do some digging to find it.  That’ll be changed to artist “J. Matthew Gerken, Christian Kiefer, and Jefferson Pitcher” as soon as these things happen.  Which means in 87 years.

Meanwhile, your best bet is ordering directly through the label as they are still the only folks who seem to actually have the thing in stock.  At least I think they have it in stock.  Hell, we songwriters don’t even have copies of it yet…and the release show only days away.  Yeow!  Hopefully that’s because there have been so many preorders that they’re sold out everywhere already.  I say it again: Yeow!

Published in: on September 10, 2008 at 8:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Release Day!

Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies, the new album by J. Matthew Gerken, Christian Kiefer, and Jefferson Pitcher, celebrates its official release today. 

As this project has been filled to the brim with the rich taste of production problems, the official roll out today has been no different as it’s not yet on iTunes or eMusic and is showing up as “backordered” on Amazon.  Not to mention that it’s listed not under Gerken, Kiefer, and Pitcher but rather under the band name (what?) Of Great and Mortal Men.  It’s all very confusing.

Best bet: Order it directly from the label by clicking here!

Meanwhile, here are a couple of new nuggets ‘o press to whet the appetite:

Dig it!  Oh and the Bee has a stream of George Washington, featuring a cast o’ thousands of musicians including Damian Sol (violin), Fran Mironchik (flute), Keenan Bird (rudimentary snare drum), Jason Roberts (guitar), Vince DiFiore (trumpet), Andrew Dost (flugelhorn), Mike Curry (drums), and John Gutenberger (bass) (see links for most all of those musicians under “links”).  & speaking of Washington, the Men’s Vogue/GQ piece uses C.W. Roelle’s Washington art as the header.  Oh hell yes.

Published in: on September 9, 2008 at 8:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

9/13 in Sacramento…

What’s this?  There’s actually a tour date?  Indeed, and what a tour date:

For one night only in the wee town of Sacramento, CA, Christian Kiefer, Jefferson Pitcher (all the way from NY via Ontario) and J. Matthew Gerken for an evening of songs from Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies.  & we’ll have copies of the thing for sale.  FINALLY.

September 13, 2008 + 9:00pm + $3 (but bring $33 so you can buy the thing too)
Fox & Goose Pub + 1001 R Street + Sacramento, CA 95811
Christian Kiefer + Jefferson Pitcher + J. Matthew Gerken

Christian’s on first (on account of Chip, my drummer, having a double booking), then Jefferson (who you may never see again in Sacramento as he’s moved to Flesherton, Ontario, where he will likely live forever), and then Matthew with his crack team of sonic beasts Nice Monster.  Oh!  Hell yes!  Get there at 9pm as we’re starting right on schedule.  We’re not playing ALL the Presidents, but damn near.  Starting with Washington and moving on from there. 

To quote Tyler (the song, not the man): Oh!  Hell yes!

Published in: on September 5, 2008 at 5:41 am  Leave a Comment  

Sac News and Review Woo Hah!

Three sexy men in colonial formal wear

Three sexy men in colonial formal wear

The Sacramento News & Review was kind enough to interview us three.  It was to be a Music Feature.  Then it was to be an Arts Feature.  Then it became a cover story.  To which we all say: Oh!  Hell Yes!

By the time the author interviewed Jefferson Pitcher the piece was nearly done and so he even ran Jeff’s interview separately in the paper. 

Good times for all.  We’re planning a single show for local (to Sacramento) folks on Sept. 13 at our regular stomping ground the Fox & Goose Pub.  If you’re around (and are 21+, sorry) please come by.  The label promises we’ll have copies to sell at the show by then.  If I get my biz together I’ll have 3″ mini CDs of some of the demos as a bonus for those who buy it.  I really wanted to be able to give everyone a copy of the Constitution but I just couldn’t work out the $.  Damn you $$.  Damn you to helll$$!!

In any case, you can read the cover story here and the Jeff PItcher interview here.  Go now!

Meanwhile, we did a rather lengthy series of interviews–both by e-mail and phone–with Matt Erler at NUVO and he did us up a really great essay/review/overview, which is quite good and worth the read.  Check it!

AND Matt also kindly enough published the original complete interviews too so you can read those as well if you’ve got an inkling for the digital ink.  We didn’t know Matt before this, but like Nick Miller (who wrote the SN&R piece above) he really took the time and effort to understand what it was we were trying to do.  Thanks, gents.

Meanwhile, our friend Sandy did a post with some of the original demos (with our permission, of course).  Original demos of Washington, Coolidge, and Adams.  Check those out on Sandy’s site here.

Published in: on September 5, 2008 at 12:03 am  Leave a Comment