Science works!

My new gig at the studio is going swimmingly!  Talking to my friends Alex and Roman about Joseph Campbell, Phillip K. Dick, the evolution of man, and what we would do with the power of invisibility.  All while recording a song for a huge Mexican food company.

New song Shorty is sounding sick ridiculous.  I’ll post Scheherazade demos like tomorrow.

Did You Know? Evolution doesn’t necessarily do what’s best for the survival of an individual or species.  Rather, the genes that survive are good at getting themselves copied.  A famous example is the peacock’s tail – a huge hindrance and liability to the male peacock, but such a lady killer it doesn’t matter.  Richard Dawkin’s The Selfish Gene was the groundbreaking work that expressed this subtlety, and did to Darwin’s theory of evolution what Einstein’s General Relativity did to Newton’s laws.

New tune – I’m loving the new Shins record – this song and video – amazing.  There is so much great music coming out – intelligent, clever melodies are popping up all over the place.  (Even in the pop world…) Some of these new artists take me to another world.  I hope that the new Cruise Elroy can be a small part of this intelligent, deep musical universe.

Not new tune – I think the guitar riff at the end of this song is the heaviest ever recorded.  A perfect song.

Hearty chuckle – here is a great stand-up routine by the incredible edible  Jim Carrey.

Chris Merritt songDonna.


Whew.  After a bloody battle, the enemy has retreated beyond the horizon. The planets have aligned.  Hell has frozen over, thawed, and frozen over again.  A group of helpful-looking ducks are waiting patiently in a row for further instructions.

Too dramatic?

Well, anyway.  I’m writing this on the 10th floor recording studio on 7th ave in New York City.  Have you been wondering what’s up with Chris Merritt’s music?  Well, my friend, where should I start?

Firstly, I landed an awesome new gig at a commercial music house in New York.  The big boss came to my shows and became a fan.  I’ll be writing Superbowl commercials.  I’m smack dab in the city in a beautiful new studio with musicians I respect and admire.  I’m getting paid and I have keys.  I’ll tell you more about this the more it unravels, but the important implication for you, the humble Chris Merritt fan, is that I have a place to finish great records.  Less running around surviving.  Less guerrilla recording (tracking church pianos until I get kicked out).  Less stealing from children to pay Jake Thro’s exorbitant mixing fees (kidding, people).  Instead, beautiful vintage gear and a positive vibe.  A studio.  Some freedom.  Top-notch engineers.  And giant contacts in the music industry.

Secondly; although it appears I’ve been lying dormant like some sort of hibernating beetle larvae, I’ve actually been working hard with the new band, like some kind of underground parasitic wasp colony.

We have a new band name.  Jake Thro, Brett Ripley, and Chris Merritt (that’s me) are to be known henceforward as: Cruise Elroy.  We have like 25 songs in various stages of recording.  We’ve arranged and demo’ed our cover of an entire symphony (Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade).  We have big plans and big ideas.  And now, a bit of resources to make them happen.

We played a show with the great Fountains Of Wayne a couple weeks back and it was inspiring.  Since then, everyone’s been kind of busy.  But now it’s time to make things happen.  And we need your help.  On June 17th, 2012, we’ll be launching a Kickstarter campaign so we can finish our epic version of Scheherazade.  The money we raise will also help facilitate the completion of the very first Cruise Elroy album.  Incentives will include a beautiful limited-edition score, an album of unreleased Paperface tracks, and a glam shot of a topless Brett Ripley.  I think he thought I was joking when I told him that.

Cruise Elroy is like Chris Merritt, but only kind of.  It’s even better.  We’re pulling out some classics (Rain King, Ms. Parker) and doing them properly, but mostly it’s new, mind-bending, heart-pounding, weird stuff.  Produced nicely, with heart and rawness.  You’ll see.

In fact, we’re trying to finish 4 or 5 songs to show you how awesome it sounds.  We’ll release it as a little free thing all over the internet as soon as possible.  A Free P.

I also have a couple other projects that I’m really excited about, but I’m not quite ready to reveal them.

Do me a favor.  Email three friends about Chris Merritt.  Send them your favorite track.  Let’s wake the sleeping breast. I mean, beast.





Let Me Go On Record


Kids Make Band Names (pt 2)

As a fun experiment, my good friend Melissa asked her elementary school students to come up with some band names. They listened to some tracks, and then got into groups and brainstormed ideas. The results are awesome. I was impressed with the creativity and intelligence of 1st and 2nd graders. I laughed, I cried, and I’m pretty sure my brain exploded once or twice. Here they are in all their glory:

1st Grade:
The Bear Wolf
The Rock Brothers Band Rocks
Rock in Roll
Rockin Peanuts
Fresh Beat Band
Rockin Hansen
Trouble Ones
One Man Band
Cool Loud Band
Rolling Pins
Sharp Men
Hurricane Men
The Christophers
Sound Band
Soft Band
Chocolate Band
BandAid Band
Rockin Cheetahs
Band Man
Bad Boys
Rockin Cobras
Rock Around The World
Triangle Band
Rockin Ninja
Beat Band
Rockstar Band
Bandit Band
Rockin Cookies

2nd grade
Rock band
The rising dead
Rock n roll band
the hard rockers
The big bad men
Rock on
The white cells
Big bad band
Rock and boom band
The New Yorkers
Rock and roll together
Rock and roll friends
The crushers
Alone on the streets (dark, I like it)
The rocks
Earth shakers
The battle
Firework company
Rock n roll joy
Rock n roll hounds
The monsters
The trashers
The pain
Fire band
Star band
Hard metal
War pigs

Fountains Of Wayne

I’m playing this Friday (May 11) with the mighty Fountains Of Wayne in Huntington, NY at a place called The Paramount. Buy tickets here!

I first heard Fountains Of Wayne in high school. My first girlfriend listened to horrible, horrible music. I mean, the worst music in the universe. But she had this CD of this band Fountains Of Wayne. Her friend was a fan of them, or knew them, or something. She said, “yeah, there’s only one good song on here” and so I knew for sure the album would be awesome. We broke up and I “accidentally left her CD in my car.”

The album was the self-titled Fountains Of Wayne, and I was immediately floored. I heard great and clever melodies, funny lyrics, and sad storytelling all in one colorful universe. FOW soon became one of my favorite bands ever, and their second record, Utopia Parkway, was even better. It was darker, more intelligent, mature. It remains one of my top ten records ever.

Their new album Sky Full Of Holes is a masterpiece. Fountains’ best songs yet. Here are some of my favorite Fountains Of Wayne tracks: Cemetery Guns / Hey Julie / Leave The Biker / A Fine Day For A Parade / Denise / Senator’s Daughter / I 95 / Summer Place

Kids Make Band Names (pt1)

Well, I’m back in Band Name Limbo, which is an enormous, dark, confusing place. I’ve been busy starting a new and extremely exciting job in the big city (Upperville, VA……wait, I mean, New York City, NY). The band has 25 songs partially recorded, as well as Scheherazade, which has been demo’ed by the band. It’s all…….well, really, really damn good music, and I feel like we’re finally making waves, and poised for some breaks. However, I feel like starting something fresh and tight, something marketable….plus, this is definitely a band lately…. The creative process involves everyone.

As a fun experiment, my good friend Melissa asked her elementary school students to come up with some band names. They listened to some tracks, and then got into groups and brainstormed ideas. The results are awesome. I was impressed with the creativity and intelligence of these 1st and 2nd graders. I laughed, I cried, and I’m pretty sure my brain exploded once or twice. Here they are in all their glory:

Kid’s Band Name Ideas – Day 1

1st Grade:
Baby Pie
The Fast Speed
Thunderstorm Eyes
Starry Nights Rule
Banana Sword
Hot Tree
The Princesses
The Hot Chicken Band
Werewolf Fire
Running Blood
Pizza Tree
Black and White
The Meatballs
Bald Eagles
The Black Pandas
Tears of Blood
The Hot Boy Band
The Amber Band
Werewolves of the Hot Fire
Pizza Panda
New York City is Awesome
Carebear Band
Race Dragon
The Mr. Sandman Band
Black Band
The Mosquitos
I am a Tree
Fire Rock
The Outlaws

2nd grade:
The Big Bad Band
Fire crier
The Fire Band
Buttkick Rock
New Boys
Rockstar Baby Attack
Baby on the Roof
The Funky Monkey
You Go I’ll Go
The Bad Girls
The Lord of Gods
This is How We Roll
The Vampires
Learn How to Rock
Mario Rock
Rally rock
Say it Out Loud
Smoke Dash
I Go Where You Go
The Mini Muffins
The Awesome Rock Band
Doin the Duggy
The Jerk
Where to Go
Let it Shine
Doin the Boogie
Four the Sequences
Rock Box
Mario World Rock
Baby at the Door
The Purring Pandas
Singing Rock Music
Dark Rock
New York Rock
The Walkers
The Bad Boys
The Four Werewolves
It’s All About Me and You
I Love You
Texas Rock House
Monster Party
The Rocking Turtles
Baby Rock
Cash Stache
Fire Skull
Texas Rangers
Snake Hole
The Adorable Dolphins

Show with Fountains Of Wayne! / NEW VIDEO

Chris Merritt opening for Fountains Of Wayne!  At the Paramount (Huntington, NY) on May 11th!  This is one of my favorite bands of all time, and I couldn’t be more excited.  We’re going to kill it. More on this soon!!

Meanwhile, I’m playing THIS SATURDAY in Provo!  Utah, Salt Lake, Provo, Orem, Logan fans, come on out!

Check out this awesome promo video, and make sure to put this on your Facebook wall! Let’s get everyone excited about the show this week!

Video created by Anaïs Saunders and Jackie Watanabe :) thanks guys!!



Recording update

I want to finish a few of these songs and release them for free!  We’ll probably be done with five very soon:  One Man To An Army, On My Own, Coney Island, Bi-Polar, and Amelia.  They are kiiiind of getting close to being done. They are the first songs I’ve ever recorded that are not compromised in any way.  Pretty, heavy, heartbroken, happy, haunting, funny.

Sheherzahde is getting close to being finished, conceptually.  Most of it is demo’ed.

We’re also hard at work on The Itch, Sucker Punch, Jitterbug, Burning Baby, Shorty, The Beautiful Ms. Parker And I, Pretty Bitch, Newborn, Sherlock Holmes, Mechanical Mind, Bi-Polar…..many more……

I’m also hard at work on a side project which will be ready for unveiling soon.

I feel like this is the longest I’ve gone without releasing a new record.  It’s a desperate feeling, but I know I have to persevere to finish the most epic music of my life.

Don’t put your faith in science.

People at shows have said this to me: “Don’t put your faith in science” or “Science is just your religion” or similar such nonsense. The idea that science is it’s own field or subject is actually a little false. Science is simply the pursuit of knowledge. Science is the process of finding (good) explanations for our world.  A good explanation can’t be varied very much (I first heard this idea from physicist David Deutsch). Even though religion finds explanations for the world, they can be varied immensely and have the same explanatory power. Johannes Kepler, who discovered that planets have elliptical orbits, discovered mathematical laws governing those ellipses. If you wanted to predict the location of Mars, and you varied an equation by the smallest fraction, your prediction would quickly become inaccurate. Kepler created a good explanation.

The Japanese Shinto creation myth says that Izanagi-no-Mikoto (male) and Izanami-no-Mikoto (female) were given a spear with which they stirred the water, and when removed water dripped from the end, Japan was created in the great nothingness. Although the myth is beautiful, if taken as fact (as it surely was), it’s a bad explanation.  If you varied this explanation, even a lot, it would have the same explanatory power. What if they had used a giant pair of chopsticks to stir the water instead? What if they had used humongous straws to lower the water level and expose Japan? What if, instead of people, it was monkeys who had done the stirring? None of these changes would hurt the explanatory power of the myth. It still teaches us nothing about how islands form, why they disappear, how long they have been there, when the first people got there, etc. Science – and only science – can do, and has done, those things.

Science (or, the human creative understanding of reality) has done the following:

Allowed us to fly through the sky like a bird.  Given us the power of near-instant communication with anyone on earth.  Shown us how to boil water to kill pathogens.  Allowed us to understand genes and evolution.  Cured the near-blind with contact lenses and laser surgery.  Shown us close-up footage of the ravaging storms of Jupiter.  Given us literally every object made with metal.  Cured and destroyed uncountable deadly diseases.  Given us control of warm fire.  Let us understand and even touch the moon.  Allowed us to make and transport food to sustain literally billions of people.  Given us electricity, and artificial light.  Given us music recordings.  Cartoons.  Cars.  Roller Coasters.  Skyscrapers.  Boats.  Aquariums.  Advil.  Video Games.  Maps.  Refrigerators.  Hot tubs.  Ice machines.

So that’s why I put my “faith” in science.  It’s responsible for literally every inch of progress our species has ever made.  And I’m not even exaggerating.