Partisan Records is excited to welcome John Grant back to the US this spring, when he will play major US markets opening up for Elbow, in addition to Sasquatch Festival. Kicking off in Washington, DC on May 11th, the tour will route through the East Coast, Midwest, and West Coast, culminating at The Wiltern in Los Angeles on May 28th. The full list of tour dates is below.
WATCH: Moving video for “Glacier” highlighting 100 years of
LGBT history via YouTube
WATCH: John Grant playing “GMF” on Letterman
Grant has been nominated for a Brit Award in the Best International Male Solo Artist category. At the awards show on February 19th, he will be up against Drake, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, and Eminem in the same category. Additionally, Grant has re-recorded Elton John’s “Sweet Painted Lady,” which will be released on the 40th anniversary reissue of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, out March 24th
It’s been an extraordinary journey for John Grant, from a point where he thought he would never make music again or escape a life of substance abuse to winning awards and accolades, collaborating with Sinead O’Connor, Rumer and Hercules & Love Affair and having his music featured in the award-winning film Weekend.
It’s a journey that’s taken him from his birthplace in Buchanan, Michigan to be raised in Parker, Colorado, studying languages in Germany and, after his band The Czars split up, basing himself in New York, London, Berlin and, most recently, Iceland, where the bulk of Pale Green Ghosts was recorded. It’s also been a journey from The Czars’ folk/country noir to the lush ’70s FM alchemy of Queen Of Denmark to the astonishing fusion of sounds that lifts Pale Green Ghosts to even giddier heights.
If Queen Of Denmark is Grant’s ’70s album, channeling the spirits of Karen Carpenter and Bread, then Pale Green Ghosts is his ’80s album. Of the electronic tracks, the title track is a panoramic, brooding classic, while “Sensitive New Age Guy” and “Black Belt” are the tracks that you might dance to in new wave clubs. “You Don’t Have To” is a classic example of Grant’s influences blending together, in a reworked arrangement of a track unveiled during concert tours in 2011. It also features the distinct spacey Moog sounds that are familiar to lovers of Queen Of Denmark, while McKenzie and Alexander play on “Vietnam” and “It Doesn’t Matter To Him.” Grant’s touring partner, keyboardist Chris Pemberton, plays the gorgeous piano coda on the album’s tumultuous finale “Glacier.”
Besides producer Birgir Þórarinsson, a.k.a. Biggi Veira, of Iceland’s electronic pioneers Gus Gus, the album features a range of Icelandic musicians, including saxophonist Óskar Gudjónsson on “Ernest Borgine,” named after the legendary American film/TV actor. On an album of typically caustic revelations and scabrous humor, including sex, sexuality and the pitfalls of growing up in an era, and a particularly religious environment, that ostracized gay men, “Ernest Borgnine” combines all these strands with the admission that Grant is HIV positive.
Grant’s frankness also led to being arguably the first person to announce such news in front of a live audience, as he did when appearing with Hercules And Love Affair at London’s Meltdown festival in June 2012. HALA main man Andy Butler had asked Grant to collaborate on a track (“I Tried To Talk To You,” as yet unreleased) and requested that he, “dig deep,” with his lyric. “It’s what I wrote the song about so I thought I should talk about it there and then,” Grant explains his public declaration. “I thought I shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it, as there are lots of people in my situation, who feel like outcasts in society, people who had addiction problems, who feel ashamed and unlovable because of it. I want these people to know they have someone on a stage who is dealing with this too.”
Grant has also never shied away from discussing depression, and Pale Green Ghosts is a show of strength and survival, of moving on with life, on what will continue to be an incredible journey. “Moving to Reykjavik, at the age of 43, was incredibly risky and scary,” says Grant. “I didn’t know anyone here, but I’ve built up a life here, and recorded an album I’m really proud of, that distills what I’m about down to its most essential components, better than ever before. And this was during the middle of health issues. It means I’m trying to take the bull by the horns, and to live.”
Tour Dates w/ Elbow
5/11 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
5/12 – Boston, MA – Royale
5/13 – Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory
5/16 – New York, NY – Webster Hall
5/17 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall
5/19 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues
5/20 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
5/23 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
5/24 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
5/25 – Quincy, WA – Sasquatch Festival
5/27 – Oakland, CA – The Fox Theatre
5/28 – Los Angeles, CA – The Wiltern
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