On May 18th and 19th, the Jay Cobb Anderson Band took to Denver for two stand-out nights of music. Jay is best known for his work with the beloved and quickly rising West Coast band, Fruition. For these special solo shows in Denver, Anderson invited many familiar friends along for the ride, including his Fruition bandmates, Tyler Thompson and Jeff Leonard, as well as the band’s frequent collaborator, Brad Parsons, and many others. However, this wasn’t the only reason that Anderson and company were in town, as Anderson went on to play with Elephant Revival during their final farewell show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on May 20th.
Cobb’s run with his solo band—which saw support from Brad Parsons Band and TK & The Holy Know-Nothings—took place at Denver’s iconic independent venue, Cervantes’. Cervantes’ has become a special place for Fruition and the band’s extended musical family, given that the dual venue is owned by the renowned Colorado talent buyer, Scott Morrill, who has become a friend to the group over the years. Morrill has always been a fan and a big supporter of the band. Over the years, he’s advocated for them and helped them grow, offering Fruition gigs before they began performing at legendary venues like Red Rocks Amphitheatre and climbing the bills of nationally renowned festivals like High Sierra, Electric Forest, and Northwest String Summit.
While Jay Cobb Anderson was in Denver for these shows, Morrill and Anderson had a moment to sit down, catch up, and talk earnestly with one another. You can read the interview below. For those who missed out on Jay Cobb Anderson’s appearance at Red Rocks earlier this month, you can catch Fruition at the legendary outdoor amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado, on August 18th, where they’ll support fan-favorite Americana act, Railroad Earth. For more information about Fruition and Railroad Earth’s upcoming Red Rocks show in August, head here.
Scott Morrill: So Jay, let’s start by talking about your songwriting process. I know you spend a lot of time writing songs with both bands you just played with last weekend: Brad Parsons Band and TK & The Holy Know-Nothings. You guys are so close and it seems like you wouldn’t have to schedule time to write together—you’d just end up late night with your guitars. Is that accurate?
Jay Cobb Anderson: That’s pretty much always how it has happened, whether it’s late at night or in the daytime. Brad [Parsons] used to live with us, and I live with Taylor [Kingman] still, so it makes it really easy. We’re constantly playing music. You wake up in the morning, and someone’s working on a song. It’s happening all the time. It makes it really easy to collaborate. Sometimes, I’ll poke my head in Taylor’s room and be like, “I got this thing I’m working on! What do you think? What should I do?” We’ll hash stuff out. Sometimes, things come really quick when we’re at a bar or something. But yeah, it is all very natural and it always has been, because all of us are dedicated songwriters. It’s what we do.
Brad Parsons & Taylor Kingman – “Desert Rose”
[Video: Mark’s Memories]
Scott: How did you first get to know those guys?
Jay: Brad I’ve known for a long time. He’s from the same place I’m from in Idaho—Lewiston, Idaho. He was actually at my first show ever, when I was 13. He was a high schooler, which was intimidating. I was like, “Oh, man…” because I knew Brad Parsons. He was always a great musician and known around town. But we didn’t become friends until way later, until I was about 22 or so, when he started coming to our home pub, Hogan’s in Clarkston, right across the river from Lewiston. They’re all in one valley.
It wasn’t until a little later that he asked me if he could buy some weed from me, and we became friends. I was like, “No way, dude,” because I didn’t think he smoked, but then, he came over to my house and finally peer pressured me into selling him weed, and then we started jamming. From that point on, we became really really good friends and started a band called The Villains. Later on, I moved to Portland and kind of talked him into moving out there. Then, we started another band called The Bell Boys together, and we did that for a long time until that band split apart. So that’s how I’ve known Brad.
Taylor, I met him at Horning’s Hideout in Oregon, at a festival called The Raindance. There’s this new band on the bill called The Hill Dogs. I was sick, I believe, and we headlined the show late night. After the show, there was this kid that came up to me with his neck tattoo and was like, “Man, I love your music. I’ve listened to it for a long time. I just wanted to meet you and say thank you, you put on a great show.” And I was like, “Oh, thanks!”, you know, and then went to bed pretty early that night. The next morning, I woke up, sleeping in a car, and I heard this music coming from down the hill. And I was like, “What the fuck is that? I have to go.” So I got up as fast as I could and ran down the hill and it was The Hill Dogs playing, Taylor’s band. So I’d met him the night before but I had no idea how talented he was.
Scott: How old was Taylor at that point? He was probably pretty young since he’s 25 now.
Jay: He was 19 or 20. I got his contact information and said I’d love to play some shows with you. The first show I played with him was a Villains show actually. Brad was on drums. But yeah, we played at the Goodfoot Pub in Portland with The Hill Dogs, and none of them could stay and listen to us because none of them were over 21. So, it was like this hilarious thing. The band was so tight and so talented and original.
Scott: Well, you probably have a ton of stories about the two of them. Are there any that stand out as especially funny and memorable?
Jay: There definitely are a ton of stories, especially since we live together and play together so much, too. The one from Taylor that sticks out… he wrote this song called “The Night That I Stole My Own Guitar”. I was there that night when everything happened. He played a show at Mississippi Studios with The Hill Dogs. After the show was over, we all went across the street to a buddy of mine’s place on Mississippi, and it just turned into a raging party really fast.
He’d had his guitar with him at that party, but then later after the party, he’d forgotten that he’d put the guitar in his friend’s trunk. The next day, he wakes up, he looks in his car. No guitar. So he freaks out about the whole thing. He posted something online about it, because it’s this beautiful old Gibson from the ’50s. It’s priceless basically. And it ended up getting shared over 1,000 times on Facebook, to the point where the news heard about it and took him on the local news channel. Like, “Taylor Kingman, local musician, had his guitar stolen out of the back of his trunk.”
There he is on the news… [Jay takes a long break to laugh] …talking about how his guitar got stolen. This is like a week later, mind you. Then the next day after the segment, his buddy finally just sends him a picture of his guitar in his trunk, and goes, “Whoops!”
Scott: Closed the case on that one.
Jay: Yep, closed the case on that one. That’s just one of the many, many stories of Taylor. The one of Brad that’s sticking out to me right now is a thing that happened last weekend at the show. There was a fan that came to the show, and he came there a little early. Brad was walking past him and was on the phone talking. The guy was trying to get Brad to take a picture of him and his buddy, because he hadn’t seen his buddy in forever. Brad said no because he was on the phone and he was busy. Later that night when we’re playing our set, we invite Brad out for the TK & The Holy Know-Nothings set to sit-in and sing with us, and there’s the guy in the front row just flipping him off. Not saying a word. The whole time Brad was up on stage, this guy was just unwaveringly giving him the bird. It was amazing.
Scott: You said you compare Brad to Larry David?
Jay: I compare Brad to Larry David, a lot. He has things like that happen to him. Crazy little happenstance moments where he thinks everything’s okay and then, in the end, something strange like that happens, and it’s funny.
Brad Parsons Band with Andy Thorn – “When The Morning Comes” – Cervantes’ Other Side – Denver, CO – 3/24/2017
[Video: Kyle Isaac]
Scott: [laughs] To everyone else.
Jay: Right. It’s funny to everyone else.
Scott: Amazing, so let’s talk about Jay Cobb Anderson Band a little bit. I know how many songs you write and how you need another outlet to play those songs because Fruition can’t really play all of them. Is there a difference in the way you write music for yourself versus how you write them for Fruition?
Jay: Not really. What happens most of the time with the Jay Cobb Anderson Band material is that I’ll have a bunch of songs that I’ve been sitting on for a while. Like you said, a Fruition album isn’t going to be all Jay songs because there are two other songwriters. So I just have all these songs kind of sitting there, and I’m continually writing tunes too. It gets to a point where I want to play all these other songs, and if Fruition can’t fit them on an album, then I’ll go out and play them.
A lot of the new stuff that I come up with, I’ll go out and play them as a pre-requisite to Fruition. I’ll see if they work out and see if the band wants to take on any of the new tunes. That’s what happened with the last album, Watching It All Fall Apart. I think the Jay Cobb Anderson Band was playing probably at least three of the tunes, maybe even four, that ended up being on that album before Fruition had ever touched them. So it’s kind of a good jumping point to see if anything is going to take and see what kind of songs we like.
What’s great is that Tyler and Jeff are both in the band, so three-fifths of Fruition already knows the tune. We get to hash out the arrangements and then present them to the band when we’re about to cut a new album. They can listen to all the stuff we’ve done and go, “We want that one, we want this one, we want that one.” So it’s a pick-and-choose thing from that point on. That’s how that usually works.
Jay Cobb Anderson Band – Cervantes’ Other Side – Denver, CO – 5/18/2018
[Video: Kyle Isaac]
Scott: With all this material, are you guys going to be going into the studio anytime soon? Can we expect any releases from Jay Cobb Anderson Band?
Jay: Definitely. I have been recording a bunch of tracks with Tyler, just in the basement of the house where we rehearse and where he records a lot. We have about 18 tracks at this point, but I’m still not quite satisfied with the direction of stuff. There are a couple of ideas that I want to do. For one, I want to do an acoustic album of my stuff. The second one, I kind of want to do all the weird freaky stuff that doesn’t really fit on a Fruition album or anything like that. But yes, there are plans to do it. They’re loose right now. We’re hashing out ideas at the moment, but I’m really excited to get some stuff done and released.
Scott: So we’ll say, before the end of 2018, we’re going to see something.
Jay: Before the end of 2018, you will see something.
Scott: I’m finding out things for myself here. This is good. So, are you currently working on any other side projects at the moment?
Jay: I’m in TK & The Holy Know-Nothings, as you know. I’m really really excited about that band. I’m going to try to dedicate as much as my time as possible to it, because I believe in the songs so much and the vibe of the whole thing. It’s a really original sound. Other than that, side project-wise, I don’t really have time. But I’ll sit in with anybody that I can, you know? If they ask.
Scott: For the TK project, how many songs do you guys write together in that versus Taylor’s own songs?
Jay: It’s kind of a conscious thing on my part to make it, and I think on Taylor’s part too—to make it more about all of Taylor’s material. He has such great stuff, and I love it. There are times when we’ve collaborated on tunes, and we’ll continue to do that. He’s talked about throwing some of my tunes in there, but I’m a little reluctant because I just like his vibe so much. When it comes to co-writing, there’s already some of that and there’s bound to be more.
TK and The Holy Know-Nothings – Cervantes’ Other Side – Denver, CO – 5/18/2018
[Video: Kyle Isaac]
Scott: Like Two Dudes.
Jay: Like “Two Dudes”—that’s a classic tune.
Scott: To bring it back to Fruition, you guys have been growing at a very fast pace all over the country. You just went on the road with Jack Johnson, and you just released your album, Watching It All Fall Apart. What are you most excited about right now, as far as Fruition’s progress is concerned?
Jay: Hm, I think I’m most excited about getting back in the studio and recording more. We’re ready to release an EP already that’s already been recorded. So I’m excited for that. More than that, I really want to get back into the studio and cut some more stuff, because there’s just stuff waiting to go. So stay tuned!
Don’t miss out on Fruition and Railroad Earth’s upcoming Red Rocks show on August 18th in Morrison, Colorado. For more information about the show and for ticketing, head here. For more information on Jay Cobb Anderson, head to his Facebook fan page here or to his personal Bandcamp here. For more information about Fruition, head to their website here. For more information on Brad Parsons, head to the Brad Parsons Band’s website here. For more information on TK & The Holy Know-Nothings, head to their Facebook page here.