Throwing Muses

With hindsight, there is something curious about the fact that what seemed to be the final Throwing Muses album was titled Limbo. After all, the reason why band songwriter/guitarist Kristin Hersh, drummer David Narcizo and bassist Bernard Georges went their separate ways in 1997 was not the usual musical or personal differences ("we loved each other and Limbo was our best record"), but simply finances. After 13 luminous years, "the band was barely breaking even, and it just didn't seem to make sense financially to continue Throwing Muses as a living entity," as Kristin remembers. And isn't change sometimes a necessity? But there are ties that bind, and as Hersh maintains, "We've wanted to make an album ever since we found out we couldn't."

Which accounts for a new Throwing Muses album, given (for the first time in their history) a definite eponymous title, chosen because the band sees this as a definitive work. Throwing Muses may be the zenith of the Muses' power-trio incarnation.

In spring 2000, Throwing Muses got together in Boston (the closest thing to a hometown for this band of wanderers) for a unique sort of live reunion they titled "Gut Pageant". Put together for the band‚s shockingly large and thriving online fan community (at fans and band members mingled and enjoyed each other‚s company for a day, "Like some kind of musical company picnic", says Kristin. Over 1,000 of the Muses faithful traveled from all over the world to attend the ground-breaking event, some from as far away as New Zealand. Special guests appeared (original Muse and Kristin‚s step-sister Tanya Donelly played with the band for the first time in almost 10 years and Bob Mould opened the show with a surprise acoustic set), the band played, as did Kristin solo, and something, somewhere, was willing another reunion...

"We made a "quick and dirty" record. It sounds very much like us - like we really do, as three people playing together in a room. Because we literally couldn't afford the studio time it would have taken to produce it, it was as if we were tricked into making the record we always wanted! We didn't rehearse before we entered the studio. We were playing by the seats of our pants. It‚s a very exciting way to record, but we've played together for so many years, that it also felt solid and secure. It was nice to be home again."

In other words, welcome back from limbo. Throwing Muses was recorded over three weekends. "I think we should have been making records like that all along. There were very few overdubs, and no heavy-handed mixing." To seal the going-home experience, even original Muses member Tanya Donelly (who left, and formed Belly, after the band's 1991 album The Real Ramona) got involved again. That's her on backing vocals. Kristin: "It was so amazing what she did. She wrote all these crazy melodies around the time she finished I couldn't tell whose voice was whose."

There will be a Muses tour ("a very brief one -- the boys have day jobs.") The solo-acoustic tour will follow.

- Martin Aston