LTTM spoke with inspirational singer/songwriter ToddZero about his brand new album 'My Precious Limp', an album with more than a touch of personal experience oozing from it. Read about the story behind the music, and why he loves "tinkering in the studio".
Tell us a little bit about this new album of yours?
I've got a whole lot to say about the inspiration behind this album. So much so that I felt compelled to write a rather explanative blog post. But in short, this album is coming from the perspective of doing a lot of soul searching... of seeing what God has done -- and is still doing -- in me after some major character flaws were revealed in me. Namely, some very bad choices that I made in my late 20s, early 30s that still haunt me today -- an extramarital affair, sleeping with my best friends wife, rebellion against God, rebuking my morals, etc. There is a lot of wreckage in my past. I'm 45 now but the consequences of sin and a hardened heart against God are far reaching.
Long answer, I know.
But these songs all deal with that topic and ultimately, God's wonderful grace and redemption. I called it "My Precious Limp" because in Genesis 32 when Jacob is about to meet with his long lost estranged brother Esau, Jacob is confronted by the Lord and is given the blessings of a new name (Israel) and a new limp. This whole thing about being humble is pretty important to God because for some people -- like Jacob and, apparently, like me -- He uses it as a tool for redemption.
Which is your favourite track on the album and why?
My favorite track is "The End of the World." Because it escapes the pop song formula by about a mile in lieu of an 11:29 minute long journey through pretty much whatever I wanted to play and write about. It's not going to be everybody's cup of tea but it was fun to make and I like it.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
I'd pick Brian Wilson over anybody. He seems like such a sweet guy and a genuine genius.
Do you prefer playing live or working in the studio?
I will most likely never play live again unless there is a really, really, really good reason to. With the live experience -- and I've done it a whole lot in my life -- it may be a transcendent moment but nothing lasts from it despite how much work goes into it. Plus, let's be honest, I'm a micro artist with very small pockets of niche fans. Promoters are not banging down my door to try to sell out their venues.
So for me, having my own studio is where I want to invest the bulk of my time. I much prefer tinkering in the studio because the fruits of that labor last forever in the form of recorded and released material. I don't want to over-hype my "studio" either. It's a laptop with a mic and some speakers. That's pretty much it.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
I grew up on alternative rock but have grown to include elements of gospel, hip hop and opera. I'm a hodgepodge style that is uniquely me and hopefully it works. Again, I'm definitely not appealing to the Adult Contemporary or CCM crowd here. But maybe -- God willing -- some will embrace the unorthodoxy of what I'm doing and go along for the ride. If not, I completely understand.
How would you define success in your career?
If my self-inflicted misery could become a message that could then help other people avoid some of the crap that I've pulled. That would be great.
What is your favorite album of all time?
That's way too hard to answer. I have probably listened to the Joshua Tree and Pet Sounds more than other albums so by sheer frequency they would have to be my top albums. But I have not listened to them in recent years. So then again, maybe they're not my favorite albums of ALL time. Maybe my favorite of THIS time might be easier. Right now I've been listening to old 50s records. My favorite song is "All I Have to do is Dream" as sung by the Everly Brothers. I love a lot of songs written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant who wrote a lot of those sugary, sweet 50s tunes.
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your mp3 player. What track is it?
The Gilligan's Island theme song. Just kidding. That's a tough question. Maybe "It's a Wonderful World" as sung by Louis Armstrong.
What does the next year hold for Todd Zero?
I'm working on a secret project that turns everything I've done up until now musically on its head and attempts to reinvent everything. But no promises, ha ha.