When Jeff Whittington got back into playing music, after a brief hiatus when his previous group Adam's Farm broke up, he wanted to be in a band again. But he didn't want to take on the same role he did with Adam's Farm, playing the part of frontman -- writing the songs, singing, and playing guitar. Although he still wanted to write songs -- he hadn't really stopped doing so even during his performing and recording hiatus -- his plan was for someone else to sing them.
Instead, he ended up on his own, getting onstage with his guitar and nothing else. He appeared regularly at Club Dada, playing monthly shows just because he couldn't wait for his group ideas to become reality. Still, his desire to do the band thing remained, even when he recorded his first solo record early last year, twenty-five pin connector (which he manufactured and sold on his own, using his CD burner and Internet connection). It was less an album than a blueprint for what he really wanted to do. You could hear it in all of the arrangements, or rather, not hear it: Every song seemed to be crying out for more.
"I had started the process at that point," Whittington says, acknowledging that he wrote those songs with something else in mind. And now, it's not only in his mind: Whittington's band, The Hundred Inevitables, will release its debut, Studder, on April 11. "I talked with Toby Pipes a long time ago about doing this," Whittington says. "I think he really finally motivated me. He said, 'Let's do it. Let's work on some songs.'
The Hundred Inevitables
Gypsy Tea Room
"We first started getting things going in February of last year," he says. "I had worked a little bit with John Dufilho prior to that, just he and I really. So it was just natural. He has about five minutes of free time a week, so I said, 'When you have five minutes, let's try some stuff.' He's such a great songwriter, so he knew exactly what to do. It was so easy. And everyone else being longtime professional musicians, it was a lot of fun to do this."
Whittington's band has finally emerged, featuring Deep Blue Something's Pipes on vocals and Fender Rhodes, Pipes' bandmate Clay Bergus on bass, and Dufilho (The Deathray Davies, Legendary Crystal Chandelier) on drums. He writes the songs (two of which, "Trampoline" and "Kind to Hold," earlier appeared on twenty-five pin connector) and plays guitar, heading to the mike only to add backup vocals, which is exactly how he likes it.
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"I really am enjoying it," he says. "It's kind of a different role for me, from anything I've ever done before. I can really concentrate on the guitar. It's kind of fun to write a song, and then get someone else to sing it, because it never comes out the same when you've got someone else's input on it. Toby has a way of getting behind the beat that I really like, and he sort of makes it his own. He makes the song sound a little bit more laid-back, where the way I sing the song is pretty straightforward and right on the beat." He laughs. "It's just the way I am."