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The Tale of Meet the Head

Meet the Head has been based in Chicago since the mid-90s. With their sophomore release, El Kindergarten Nino, the four-to-fivesome returns to the stage after a lengthy recording hiatus.

Meet the Head offers a distinctive blend of pop/rock influences: a touch of twang, a shade punk, even a hair folk-like. Propelled by a locomotive rhythm section, the songs are hook-heavy, lush in harmony and lyrically inventive.

Meet the Head formed in the fall of 1995, when singer-songwriter Jay Shearer and guitarist-vocalist Jon Watkins hooked up in a Chicago bar. Soon after, they recruited friend and vocalist/spiritual coordinator Lisa Schrag to form an acoustic three-piece. This rapidly morphed into a full-fledged electric band when bassist Tom Herman and drummer Paul Ovnik came aboard. The band released a six-song EP entitled Pocket Reference in 1995 (under the short-lived and unfortunate name, Dynamite Peasant).

Herman and Watkins left shortly after, and bassist/multi-instrumentalist Jamie Wagner filled the gap. A year later, Meet the Head released an eponymous full-length CD (1997). Thus followed: a small but loyal following, minor college airplay and many shows.

After playing the local club/bar set for years (Beat Kitchen, Double Door, arts festivals, etc.) and recording the basic tracks for a second CD, Meet the Head took a sabbatical, vowing to finish the record before returning.

Now it’s done. Pressed, printed, buffed, and shined, El Kindergarten Nino is the band's best work yet. Principal songwriter Shearer empowers and sweetens standard formats with a playful intensity. The songs bounce with clever nuance and melodic force. Schrag backs this up with a subtle, semi-madrigal vocal effect. Ovnik and Wagner round out the arc of the Head, forging a dense palette of solid rhythms and fluid counter-melodies.

Drawing on numerous influences (Camper Van, Talking Heads, Pavement, Belle & Sebastian), Meet the Head shoots for a balance of tastes and texture. They forge a unique style in the studio and consistently deliver a lively live show.

Buy it now at CD Baby

Album Snapshot:

Meet the Head: El Kindergarten Nino
Lost in America Music: LIAM 005
Release Date: March 2002
Produced by: Meet the Head
Recorded by: James Wagner at Argyle Studios, Chicago, IL
Musicians: Jay Shearer (guitar, vocals), Lisa Schrag (vocals), Paul Ovnik (drums), James Wagner (bass, theremin, acoustic guitar, keyboards)
Jon Williams (organ, accordion, car keys), Curtis Black (trumpet, horn arrangement), Taku Akiyama (alto sax), Alex Gilbert (tenor sax)


(Click on highlighted tracks to hear them in lo-fi RealAudio.)

1. Bone Hollow
2. Little Kiddie Chairs
3. Front Seat Gospel
4. Have Faith in the Shade
5. Asphalt Queen
6. One of the Things We Love
7. Into the Waves
8. Lotta Nerve
9. Flashbulb
10. The Tomahawk
11. The Ropes
12. Distant

Contact Meet the Head

For more information on Meet the Head, El Kindergarten Nino, booking availability or to weigh in on whether Philip Roth deserves the Nobel Prize for literature, e-mail the band here.

Photo Gallery

Page and contents © 2002 Meet The Head. It's theirs. And you can't have it.

Upcoming Shows:

More shows are in the works. Please check back soon.

News & Notes:

Enthusiastic reviews of LIAM's 2002 releases keep pouring in. Splendid e-zine chimed in recently with write-ups on the latest CDs from both Big Breakfast and Meet the Head. Of Big Breakfast Splendid said, "[they] get inside the blues, and inhabit them, and make you feel like wailing, or drowning your sorrows... Everybody needs a good howl, and This Kind delivers it hot and fast." Meet the Head got equally positive treatment: "Every song is an instant sing-along... Final analysis: El Kindergarten Nino is highly recommended to any and everyone who has ever sung along to anything."

Richard Milne, host of WXRT-Chicago's Local Anesthetic show, said of Meet The Head's El Kindergarten Nino: "Note for note, pound for pound, this is one of the thoroughly solid recordings I've heard all year."

Meet The Head's tune "Have Faith in the Shade" was recently featured on the Local Music Corner segment of Chicago Public Radio's popular 848 program.

Meet the Head's 1997 self-titled debut is still available, but quantities are limited (and we mean LIMITED). Don't look for this rare piece of collectorama on e-Bay – it's only here, at Lost in America Music. E-mail us for ordering instructions.