My Morning Jacket will be joined by the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra for a portion of its Aug. 5 set at Lollapalooza, to be held in the city’s Grant Park. The two groups previously played together last October at Chicago’s Riviera Ballroom, on the heels of MMJ’s summer 2006 collaboration with the Boston Pops.
“They contacted us after they heard about the Boston Pops show,” MMJ guitarist Carl Broemel tells Billboard.com of the Chicago Youth Symphony. “The really cool thing is that the Boston Pops gave us the scores for the arrangements we played, so we were able to play them again in Chicago. This time, when we got the offer to do Lollapalooza, we decided we wanted to ask them and do some other songs.”
MMJ will spend some time rehearsing with the Youth Orchestra prior to Lollapalooza, according to Broemel, who says the band is always open for “including people who would have a good time playing with us. We just want to have interesting things happen.”
The group has been relatively quiet so far in 2007, although it did play a mock prom at the 40-Watt Club in Athens, Ga., complete with Polaroid photos that attendees could take home as a memento of the evening. MMJ is getting ready to regroup “to start working on new music” more sooner than later but Broemel declined to speculate on a timetable for the follow-up to 2005’s “Z.”
Asked if the band might have new material ready to play by Lollapalooza, he said, “I wouldn’t hold your breath. But I wouldn’t count it out. We’re hesitant to play anything until the record seems like it has come together.” Besides, the band feels some fans are just now coming around to “Z,” which makes MMJ excited to keep playing those songs on stage.
“I feel like it takes a long time for a lot of people to get into a record and then finally go to a show,” Broemel says. “Especially for us, because we don’t have a big marketing blitz and we’re not a huge radio band. That has started to really happen with ‘Z’ lately. People finally know the new songs. It’s fun to have it evolve.”
Fans can look for MMJ members guesting on “Bring on the Comets,” the new album from dance-leaning rock outfit VHS Or Beta. Broemel appears on one tune, while MMJ frontman Jim James and keyboardist Bo Koster pool their talents on another. “The new record is a little bit different than the last one,” Broemel says of the Astralwerks set. “I only heard three or four songs, but I thought it sounded incredible.”