Playing each of its first five albums in their entirety last October at New York’s Terminal 5 has led Louisville rockers My Morning Jacket to “dig deeper” for the shows it will be doing in support of its new album, “Circuital.”
“After playing all five albums in five nights… in New York, we kinda became re-acquainted with our catalog,” drummer Patrick Hallahan tells Billboard.com. “So now we’re really trying to just change up set lists, at least five or six songs every night that are completely different, and trying to dig deeper into the catalog and bring back some oldies and stuff.”
Hallahan admits with a laugh that the quintet has “a tendency to put some songs in the doghouse, so to speak. We have a constant flow of things that come in and out of our good graces. This time we’re trying to pull some stuff out of doghouses and put them back in. We’ll see what happens.”
Hallahan explains that My Morning Jacket — which begins its tour Tuesday (Aug. 2) in St. Louis — tends to seek a “template” set list “where we’re real happy with the flow” and then making adjustments on subsequent nights. He says the group does look up old set lists for the last time it played in a particular city to avoid duplicating rarities and one-offs. Then, on a rotating basis, each band member gets to choose two rarities for a particular show and the rest of the band votes on one to play.
“A lot of it is about whatever we’re feeling,” Hallahan adds. “If it’s a Friday night we might step it up a little bit. If it’s a crowd we’ve known historically as a little more dancey or… enthusiastic, we throw in a few more upbeat tunes. It depends on the evening. We don’t really know what we’re going to do until we get there and feel the energy of the space.”
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My Morning Jacket is still buzzing about the No. 5 Top 200 debut of “Circuital,” the group’s best-ever chart showing. “It took off more than we could have ever imagined, that’s for sure,” Hallahan says. “Honestly, we try not to think about it too terribly much. Some people rise faster than others and fall faster than others, and for whatever reason our path is one of a slow incline so far, which has been a beautiful thing. To find out we were No. 5 on the Billboard charts, that’s nothing to scoff at. That was a damn fine phone call to get.”
With “Circuital” out, My Morning Jacket is making a few future plans. The Terminal 5 catalog shows, Hallahan says, were recorded and will likely be released as a vinyl box set and possibly as digital downloads. “We’re looking to release ’em at some point. We just have a lot of listening to do, five nights of two and a half hour sets,” he says. The group is also hoping to find a way to release the version of the “Circuital” track “Outta My System” that it recorded for a proposed re-launch of the Muppets’ Dr. Teeth & the Electric Mayhem band, which was scuttled after the executive who proposed the idea was fired. “At some point we’ll release the Muppet version of it,” Hallahan promises. “It’s hilarious. We had the best time doing it.”
For now, however, My Morning Jacket is focused on touring — through Aug. 23 in the U.S. plus an Austin City Limits Music Festival performance on Sept. 17, then Europe in November and more in 2012. “We’d love to do some South American dates this time. We’ve never played south of Mexico City, so that would be great,” adds Hallahan, who’s taking nearly two months off to welcome a baby he and his wife are expecting in late September.
“We’re going to try to pace this album cycle out. We had a tentative two or two and a half year schedule where we do three months at a time in various places — wherever people want us, basically. We’ll just kind of see how the path keeps taking us.”