Jon Auer, of the Posies, brings 'intimate' side to Bremerton
June 27, 2009 · Updated 12:14 PM
The Distillation of an Artist
When a musician deviates from the formula of whatever band they’re most well known for, it’s often seen as a “redefinition” of the artist.
But in the case of Jon Auer — of the legendary Northwest band The Posies, who released his solo debut in 2006 — a more fitting term might be “distillation:” the process of extracting an essence by heating or condensing.
“The Posies is definitely more on the rock tip,” Auer said of what differentiates his solo stuff from the Posies stuff. “It’s perhaps even more hidden with metaphors and kind of concepts, whereas my solo stuff is really a direct line to where I’m at, at a particular point in time.
“Overall, it’s more intimate and more on the cinematic or melancholic side than The Posies.”
Despite the schisms often conjured by side projects and solo albums, the fickle-yet-steadfast Posies are still together, more than a decade after their “final show” at Bumbershoot in the late 90s.
They came through Bremerton for a stop on their 20th anniversary tour last year.
“The Posies is The Posies when we want to be The Posies,” Auer noted. “Now it’s just one of things we do, instead of ‘the’ thing we do... and I think that’s why we enjoy doing it still.”
The distillation of Auer the artist is on full display in his epic solo album “Songs from the Year of Our Demise.”
The 15-song masterwork was forged almost entirely by Auer alone — from composing the songs to performing, editing and producing the final mix. He dragged the beautiful beast into existence near singlehandedly during a gut-wrenching five-year period that saw not only albums from both The Posies and his other band Big Star professionally, but also a divorce, a reacquainted love and the inheriting of a daughter through a new marriage in his personal life.
“I had a couple choices with making ‘Songs from the Year of our Demise,’” he said. “I guess I could’ve either gone to therapy or I could’ve made a record... and I figured it’d be cheaper to make the record.”
He’s not the first songsmith to take pain and sorrow into the studio and mold them into a masterpiece. Some of his favorite records, he said, were made that way. But he doesn’t expect to make another record where he alone is at the helm of everything.
“It’s the one record in my life that had to be done the way it was no matter how difficult or challenging,” Auer said. “It’s like running a marathon, or something, where you’re hating it along the way, but once you get to the end and you cross the finish line, you’re really happy that you actually made the effort.”
SHAWN SMITH, JON AUER and LORELEI come to Bremerton for an acoustic evening at 9:30 p.m. June 26 at Winterland, 1220 Sylvan Way in Bremerton. 21+, tickets are $10. Info: www.jonauer.com, www.myspace.com/winterlandrocks or call the club at (360) 479-5686.