Roger Joseph Manning Jr. Preps New Music, Reissues: 'I'm Conducting a Huge Experiment'
Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
A decade after his last release, Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Jellyfish, Imperial Drag, Beck) has new music coming out -- as well as some older material he's bringing back to the marketplace. And there's even more to come, he promises.
Manning is launching an extensive PledgeMusic campaign for the release of Glamping, a four-song EP that's due out May 18. Alongside it Manning is making his 2009 album Catnip Dynamite, available on CD and via digital download, and he's re-releasing a deluxe edition of 2006's Land Of Pure Imagination with three bonus tracks that were featured on the original Japanese edition of the album. His pre-order PledgeMusic incentives includes songwriting, piano and synthesizer programming lessons, dinner and record shopping excursions with Manning, and a variety of exclusive merchandise for various levels of pledging.
"I'm conducting a huge experiment here," Manning tells Billboard. "I have a feeling that knowing my audience pretty well they're going to be extra, extra excited about all these opportunities." Manning also plans to make the PledgeMusic campaign ongoing, using it as a vehicle to keep releasing new music -- including plenty that's waiting for its turn to be released.
"I've got no shortage of material," he says. "Pledge lends itself to someone like me, who has these very loyal fans who have been with me sing Jellyfish and are always, like, 'Hey, when are you gonna give me my next fix?' If there's an audience that wants to keep having these semi-annual meetings with me, great. I'll have plenty to give 'em."
And though it has been a long wait for something new, Manning promises that Glamping will certainly sound familiar to those who favor the brand of crafted, sometimes psychedelicized pop he's done in bands and on his own. "I enjoy writing in all styles, but that's what keeps coming out of me," Manning explains. "I like very melody-oriented stuff, so I find myself naturally gravitating to the artistic inspiration moments from the traditions that birthed rock -- post-jazz, Cole Porter, classic Broadway music, what Burt Bacharach gave us, on through all the pop that happened in the '60s and '70s and even '80s. People are like, 'Oh, you wear your influences on your sleeve;' That may be, but I'm not stealing anything. It's just fun to play in that tradition."
Manning will be touring further as part of Beck's band this year, but in what he calls "a very sane schedule, two weeks here, a week there. He's figured it out at this time in his life, and it works for me." He's also assembling "a group of friends to do a handful of showcases" of his own music, although he eschews the idea of a full tour.
"I plan on playing live but not an, 'Alright, let's pile in the back of the van and go do this!' kind of thing," Manning says. "That doesn't interest me, nor do I think it’s the best foot forward for me at this time. But there will be live stuff and we'll probably play a handful of key markets. I am going to try to create live content I can post and that can be part of all this, too."