Jon Auer has had a busy year. He’s currently touring Europe as co-frontman of the Posies, whose first album in seven years was released in June. And as previously reported, he played a major role with “In Space,” the upcoming Rykodisc album by the reunited Big Star.
But don’t blame him if he’s looking ahead a bit, because the veteran artist is also planning to drop his first bona fide solo album, “Songs From the Year of Our Demise,” early in 2006 on Pattern25 Records. The 15-track set represents the past half-decade in Auer’s life.
“The thing about this record is that I’ve actually had this in the works conceptually for five-plus years, and it’s this thing that in the land of the Posies and their fans, I’ve taken so long to do that it’s taken on this mythical status,” he tells Billboard.com. “There are people on the Posies [Web] list saying that it’s an urban legend actually. But it’s all ready to go.”
His longtime Posies colleague, Ken Stringfellow, has three solo albums under his belt, the latest being 2004’s “Soft Commands” (Yep Roc). But Auer fans have had less to choose from in the marketplace: his solo catalog is dominated by a pair of EPs, 2000’s “Perfect Size” (Houston Party) and 2001’s “6 1/2” (Pattern25).
“Maybe to the public at large there hasn’t been much out there,” Auer admits, “but believe me, I’ve been working on it. [“Songs From the Year of Our Demise”] is my baby. I played everything on it, and I pretty much built the equipment it was recorded on as well! I think it turned out excellent and I’ve gotten good responses to it, so I’m really excited.”
Tunes slated for the record include “Six Feet Under,” “Wicked World” and the melancholy “Song Noir,” which Auer co-wrote with his wife Michelle.
With so many projects on his plate (Auer also played guitar and sung on William Shatner’s 2004 album “Has Been”), was it hard to balance writing songs for three separate entities?
“I don’t want to say I put in an eight-hour day writing each day,” he says, “but I’m so much more into putting all moments of inspiration down. It’s been a really rewarding technique to have a crappy monophonic Sony cassette player, so I can lay something down and play it back immediately. I’ve gotten more good stuff out of that, and if I get an idea, I’ll work on it until what seems like completion. In the past, I would either do it all at once or put it away.”
The Posies’ tour in support of “Every Kind of Light” takes them through Europe until late August, and hits U.S. venues in September and October. Auer says he expects a Big Star road trip to follow, and “Songs From the Year of Our Demise” to be released in March.