One morning this summer I got a phone call from Scott Masson asking if I would be interested in working on album art for the OFFICE record that was slated for release sometime in early autumn '08. My response, of course, was "HELL YEAH!" Scott, and Tom Smith who played guitar in the and at the time, were (still are) both good friends of mine and I couldn't wait to jump at the chance to work with them. We set out planning a series of elaborate shots to take place in a hotel room/ballroom/rooftop at the Congress Hotel. The congress was built right after the Great Fire and held all the Shining-esque, haunted charm of a Hotel that old. After countless hours of scouting and planning and about a week before the shoot date The Congress, in their much talked about dickheadish-ness, doubled the rate and asked that I carry an insurnace policy so huge that the premiums would have bankruped me. That part of the shoot was off... (read more about why the Congress Hotel sucks here: JERKS
The second phase of the shoot involved the 4 core band members making their escape in canoes on the Chicago river. This concept was first put into my head my Mannequin Men drummer (and friend) Seth Bohn, months earlier when we were discussing concepts for MM promo shots. The concept was never used and fell to the back of my mind. Then during a "brain storm" session on the lanai Tom said "Wouldn't it be cool if we were paddling away from the locks in canoes?" without any knowledge of Bohn's original idea. I consulted with Seth and he gave me permission to use the concept. Tom and I researched the river taking a 6 mile canoe trip from where the river crosses Belmont down to Dearborn street and back. Then with guidance from Canoe Guide Jack Snarr (who was also the former Dean of Admissions for Northwestern Medical), crucial assistance from Photographer Eddie P (www.eddiep.net), and Molly Marcucci (www.littlemollycake.com) we set out to make the shoot.
Unfortunately at the end of 2008 the record had still not been released and the former line-up of the band disbanded. Leaving only Masson working under the OFFICE moniker. Tracks were removed from the working copy that I had been listening to through the whole process and the album, now titled Mecca, was released independently and for free download and with new artwork by Scott. It was truely a bummer for me to see the album released without the art we all worked so hard on but I guess thats just business. Scott and Tom both continue to write music and make art, just not together.
you can download Mecca here: