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Typewriter Tim Jordan. Photo by Thomas Crone
Don’t know what you’re doing today, but it’s probably not as interesting as Typewriter Tim Jordan’s day. No offense, of course, but you’re likely not having a day-in-the-life documentary shot on you today.
Knowing that videographer Joe Rainville was planning such a shoot, Jordan’s decided to jam a few of his passions into one, action-packed Wednesday. He’ll be giving a massage at his home studio, where he keeps a regular clientele limber and healthy. There’ll be a glass pouring session in the afternoon, in which he’ll create artwork with disassembled typewriters and glass. In the evening, he’s put together a one-time-only band to fill the Venice with multiple hours of funk. There might be some unexpected antics in-between.
The end result might have a wait a touch, since Rainville keeps a busy schedule as a member of the road crew for acts as diverse as Neyo, Government Mule and Vampire Weekend.
But the shooting is going on, well, probably right now. And if you want to be a part of it, in a cameo way, the Venice Cafe is the spot to be at tonight, which you can learn about below. We caught up with Jordan for lunch at The Royale yesterday, just after he’d completed a yoga class, and just prior to long ride on his motorcycle. In effect, just another weekday for Type Jordan.
What’s your day looking like, tomorrow?
I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to cram in there. I haven’t met with Joe, yet. Which is typical of Typewriter Tim. Nothing planned, we’ll just wing it and capture as much as possible.
Is the show the highlight of the day? Or is that even safe to say?
You know, that’s a tough one. I so thoroughly enjoy making sculpture and pouring glass. But I love doing shows. I couldn’t pick one that I enjoy more than the other. That’s what I love. I’m most alive when I’m making art or performing.
Doing this at the Venice makes it special, yeah?
I mean, the Venice is my home away from home. That place has an energy this is unmatched. It’s magic, and we have always played the best we’ve ever played at the Venice. We don’t care if there’s a small audience, we’re just in heaven. The band tomorrow, well, I’ve never played with these guys before, so that makes it extra interesting for all of us. It’s probably harder on those guys than me.
And who all’s going to be onstage over the course of it?
Tom Byrne’s on guitar. Chris Turnbaugh on bass. Garrett Peek on drums. And Proletariat from Person X will be opening. I’ll also appear with him. You never know who will show up. I’ve talked to Fred Friction, some percussionists, a few horns may show show. I should give props to John Heusler on didgeridoo, Jake Troost on bagpipes and Ray Brewer on washboard.
That’s a full house. Talk a bit about being an improvisational performer as opposed to relying on songs during an evening like this. What makes it work?
Well, if you can cut through fear and find yourself, then... life is uncontrollable. You think you can plan life, but you can’t. My art reflects that. Having a song to come back to is comforting, it provides structure. We’re more like an abstract painting. We take it as it comes and if it’s not right, you make it right. Whatever “right” is. And it’s exciting, ‘cause it’s the first time every time. You have to have the confidence to deal with the uncertainties of what may, or may not, come, so you reliquish any control or any structure. There’s a magic that can’t be facilitated within any song. These musicians have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into. But I’ve been doing this almost 20 years and I’ve never had a show go bad. Well, I’ve had one show go bad.
I shouldn’t ask...
That’s when we tried too hard. We tried too hard to do something, recording a show out of town and it didn’t work. But that’s the only one. The rest have been sheer magic. There’s nothing like it. An all-improv show can sound terrible, but if you have the right people involved, you’ll have something you cannot do otherwise.
Obviously, this a huge night of the year, what with people going out to clubs.
Definitely. It’s Thanksgiving [eve], and there’s an opportunity with people in town, to get together and be thankful for each other.
What else is taking place with the documentary?
In relation to the doc, we’re trying to cram everything I do into one day, which is challenging, ‘cause I’m all over the place. We found a guinea pig who doesn’t mind getting a filmed a little bit during a massage. We’re trying to throw a recording session in between pouring glass and the Venice show. Yeah, it’s going to be a full day. But life is meant for living.
That’s a phrase I’ve heard you use lately. Obviously, you’ve picked it up from George Malich.
George getting cancer and his video clips almost making fun of the cancer re-instilled an idea of pressing forward with life. It’s all more poignant for me now. George inspired me to take it up another level.
Opening yourself up to a documentary is basically allowing people well into your own life. What’s appealing about that?
I’m a very expressive, in-your-face person. It comes naturally to me to document that, or for someone else to do so. It’s also a challenge to document the abstract, to get a gist of what goes on in my head. I can’t even do that. I just do what I want. And we’ll turn the cameras on and try to capture a part of it. Then cut it all up. All my art and performance is completely in the moment. This’ll be one of the first times that we’ll try to edit it down. I’ll let someone else try to document my abstraction and my insanity.