Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Blue Moods Of Spain 20th Anniversary Contest Winner!

Thank you everyone who submitted their entries to the contest celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Blue Moods Of Spain. For those who haven’t heard about it, a few months ago I asked fans of my band Spain to submit stories, anecdotes, experiences, and/or observations about how Spain’s 1995 debut album The Blue Moods Of Spain affected them over the years and made an impact on their lives. I read every entry and was overwhelmed by the heartfelt stories, sincerity and graciousness. Picking my favorite entry was a difficult task indeed!

Before I announce the winner and post his entry for the world to see, I’d like to first share a message left on the Josh Haden Facebook page in response to a notification about the contest - from none other than Blue Moods producer Norm Kerner:

“For me it meant a month of my life spent with Josh and his band working on music that I loved and respected - and I can’t say that for much of my 20 years I spent as a record producer.”

That’s what it was all about for me, too. As I recount in the liner notes for Blue Moods Of Spain: A History Parts One and Two, the one month we spent recording the album was a truly magical experience, one of those providential moments in time one could never plan for or ever be able to repeat, no matter how hard one tried. Everyone there, musicians, family and friends, producers, engineers, and studio assistants, even the winos who lived in front of the studio, were symbiotically placed there to make Blue Moods into the beautiful reality it is. At twenty-six I’d made the best album of my life, even twenty years later I can’t equal it, and without Norm, Ken, Merlo, Evan, Petra and Tanya, trumpet player Larry Cady, photographer Ed Colver, and everyone at Brilliant Studios and Restless Records it never would have existed.

And with that I announce the winner of the 2015 Blue Moods Of Spain 20th Anniversary Contest!


One reason why I like Vincent’s entry is that it’s not only about Blue Moods proper, but about the 1996 limited edition 2-disc version that paired the original album with four live tracks recorded at L.A. radio station KCRW. That shows fan dedication!

Not to make light of Vincent’s teenaged would-be romantic entanglements, but I experienced the same thing growing up as a teenager in the 1980s, giving a girl a mixed cassette tape of music I liked, only to be met with incredulousness and sometimes complete apathy. (What do hopelessly romantic musically-inclined teenagers give each other nowadays? Mixed thumb drives?) And Vincent, don’t feel too bad, we ALL, male and female, have to cycle through the relationships that don’t work until we find that one person who’s as crazy as we are! Good job and congrats.

For his winning entry, Vincent will receive a copy of the two-record, 180-gram blue vinyl version of The Blue Moods Of Spain, released by Omnivore Records. For anyone interested in purchasing one or all of the first three Spain albums in the glorious lovingly cared for hi-fidelity only Omnivore vinyl can give, check out Omnivore’s Spain page.

Thank you so much to everyone who sent in an entry, it was inspiring, nostalgic and sometimes even wistful reading everyone’s thoughts, memories, and opinions. Again, it was very hard to choose a favorite, I loved all of them and it meant so much to me to read them. EVERYONE who sent in an entry will be receiving a free download of Blue Moods Of Spain, A History Parts One and Two. These are compilations of demo recordings made prior to the 1995 release of Blue Moods, accompanied by 40 digital pages of liner notes, archival photos, flyers, and more, available exclusively from the Spain Bandcamp page.

So, without further ado, take it away Vincent!

My Experience With The Blue Moods Of Spain, by Vincent Maston

It was a bad idea.

A really bad idea.

And as befits a really bad idea I tried it often, always to catastrophic results.

But I don’t really blame myself: I was young, I didn’t know better, and it didn’t even seem like such a bad idea at the time.

No, I don’t blame myself.

I blame you.


I wouldn’t have been in this mess if you hadn’t decided to release The Blue Moods Of Spain on that ill fated 1995 day.

Of course I loved it the very first time I heard “Untitled #1” on the radio! I still love every single song on this LP, but you know as well as I do that that is not the point!

No, sir, the point is that you chose to release a special edition of the album, bundled with a four track ep called “the KCRW session". And that is the version of the album that I had the bad luck to purchase.

What a mistake! What a terrible mistake I had made there! Because on this ep was the devil: Six minutes of dangerous beauty titled “I Love You”.


This was not the kind of power that should have been sold without at least a warning on the cover. “Beware, child, this record is cursed. Do not touch it, buy it, or even stare at it for too long! Unseal the plastic wrap at your own risk, for what’s inside might very well ruin your entire life.”

Could you imagine, sir, the effect that this song would have on a sixteen year old kid lost in the French south west countryside? Could you imagine the hours spent listening to it on repeat?

This is on you, sir, these hours are on you, and the dreadful decisions that I then made are on you.

No, this record should never have found its way to the hand of the young, impressionable, hopelessly romantic sixteen year old I then was. It made me do things. Things that I’m not proud of, but I have to tell so that you can appreciate the seriousness of the crime you committed.


See, I was then in the same class as a girl whose name I won’t reveal as to not shame her all those years later. I was in the same class as several girls, but this one was of a particular interest to me. Alas, I was in no way of a particular interest to her, I knew. So I devised a fiendishly clever idea to change this: a mix-tape. I spent hours selecting songs, getting them in the optimal order, and recording them on a C60 cassette tape. I wrote all the titles on the cover, and on the next day I found the courage to give it to her. “You know, you said you liked that Radiohead song when it played on the school bus the other day, so here are a few songs you might like too”, I said. Or something approaching. She looked at the tape. Then looked at me. Then at the tape again and muttered “errr… Thanks, I guess”. Or something approaching.

I was getting ready to get back in class when I heard her scream “You put a song called “I Love You” in there? Are you fucking mad?”


This should have been a wakeup call. This should have opened my eyes to the blindingly obvious unsubtlety of my wooing techniques.

I had no such luck.

For years I recorded C60 cassette tapes, burned CD-Rs, sent mp3s of your song, sir. For years it ruined my love life, until I finally found a girl just as raving mad as I am.

Years wasted because you could not help writing that one song. That song that perfectly summarized the feelings of a young, impressionable, hopelessly romantic sixteen year old.

So yes, mister Josh Haden.

I blame you.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Support The New Album From Josh Haden's Spain

"Through The Low Gate" is my band Spain's sixth studio album and will be released during the first part of 2016. It'll be three hours long and will encompass the history of music, poetry, art, and language since the beginning of time. The album will be released on Dine Alone Records in North America and Australia, and in the U.K. and Europe on Glitterhouse Records.

If you'd like to help support this project I've set up a subscription service on my personal Bandcamp page. Levels of support start at $25.00/year and include subscriber-only demos for the new album and subscriber-only written and video diaries of the making of the album, along with all the other non-Spain Josh Haden releases. Higher levels of support include a CD copy of the album with your name in the acknowledgements, tickets to future Spain shows, and more.

I've already posted the first demo recorded for the album, a song entitled "For You". You can check it out here.

Once again, here's the link to my Bandcamp subscription page: https://www.joshhaden.bandcamp.com/subscribe. Thanks!

Spain "You And I" Featuring Charlie Haden

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Josh Haden On The Watt From Pedro Show

The first punk rock show I went to was just after I turned 13, April 1981.
It was at the Whiskey A-Go-Go in Hollywood and the bands were Fear and The Minutemen.
I snuck there with my Jr. High friend Dylan Cabaldon and it was a pivotal moment in my life. It also cemented the Minutemen as my favorite band, they still are.
Yesterday I was Mike Watt's guest on The Watt From Pedro Show and I had a lot of fun talking about music and other stuff. You can listen and download free here. It's also available from the TWFPS iTunes page.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Your Music Is Our Music - RIP Ornette Coleman

Ornette Coleman was one of my dad Charlie Haden's oldest and best friends.

They first met in 1957. My dad talks about it here. Without Ornette, Charlie, Don, and Billy jazz would be a lot different today.

I am so happy and grateful to have spoken with and spent time with Ornette on more than one occasion. Just like his music he had his own way of talking, simultaneously abstract and specific, universal and personal.

Once when I was a teenager my dad was on tour with Ornette and gave him a cassette of my punk band Treacherous Jaywalkers to listen to on his Walkman while they were riding in the tour bus. My dad told me he looked back at Ornette listening on the headphones and Ornette had a big smile on his face, nodding his head with the music.

A few years ago Ornette called my dad on his birthday and Ornette and I spent about 20 minutes talking on the phone about music and family, and he invited me to come over and jam next time I was in New York.

I was finally in New York earlier this year while on tour with my band Spain. On a day off I called Ornette's son Denardo and asked if I could come over. My friend and guitarist Kenny Lyon and I spent over two hours with Ornette talking about everything from women and relationships to music as the key to world peace. Ornette was frail and his mind showed the signs of aging but he was lucid and cared about the future of the planet and humankind, often accenting his observations by saying "Nothing wrong with that!" Kenny snapped the pictures below. We easily could have talked all night and into the morning.

Ornette is still ahead of his time. He is a trailblazer and visionary. I literally don't think music will ever catch up with him. Ornette changed jazz and music in general permanently, against great odds and against a great wall of criticism, and he proved that it's OK to think differently and go against the status quo, and to follow and trust your instincts, and to choose freedom over constraint. That is what Ornette means to me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Spain The Band Song To Appear On MTV's "Finding Carter"

Spain's song "The Fighter" will appear in episode 8 of MTV's original program "Finding Carter", debuting August 19, 2014. "The Fighter" is from Spain's 2014album Sargent Place. Spain's MTV Artist page is here