"In this band, we definitely don't have many boundaries. We pretty much don't have any."
Recently, TJ Penzone (third from left), vocalist for up-and-coming New York act Men Women and Children, took time from his busy schedule to answer some questions I had about the band. The upcoming album has been mixed for Warner Bros. Records by Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode, Erasure, Interpol) at Stratosphere Studios in West Chelsea - Manhattan, NY. Now, after a fall filled with the recording of a debut album and tours with the likes of Action Action and the legendary Gang of Four, TJ and his bandmates are poised for a new year of successes.
The following " 4.5 Questions " was taken from my Q&A with TJ:
1) Men, Women and Children is an entertaining name. How did the band decide on this title?
TJ: When we were in Nebraska recording our album, Nick our keyboardist saw this truck pass by... The truck said "serving men, women and children since 1930" or something. No idea what the product was though...we almost didn't use it cause we decided to make up 100 names after that - but in the end it just seemed like the right choice. Even people in the band who didn't like it at first liked it (i.e. me)...also we got it from Stevie Wonder's song "Saturn."
2) Who are your personal musical influences and how do these influences fit into the whole makeup of the group?
TJ: Talking Heads , Curtis Mayfield, The Time, Stevie Wonder, early Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Heatwave, Prince - these are pretty strong influences on us; i left about a few hundred out.
3) How has this band been unique from anything you have worked with in the past?
TJ: It was a breath of fresh air to write with this band. In my previous projects I put boundries on the songs and performance unintentionally...in this band we definitely don't have many boundries. We pretty much dont have any.
4) How did the recording process go for the new album, and when is the release date?
TJ: It's done and will be out March 14th in stores right by your house.
4.5) "One time when we were playing a show in... " (finish the tale)
TJ: One time when we were playing a show in Maryland (with no electronics because our van was broken into and our computer stolen earlier that day), a guy gave us 900 dollars in an envelope after we mentioned onstage about our current loss...it was definitely inspiring to see that there are still good people hanging around in the world.
My sincere gratitude to TJ Penzone for his time. For more information and audio, visit the band's official website and myspace. Please support them by saving up your pennies to purchase the new album come March 14th and/or to catch Men Women and Children on tour this spring.