1. First, and most intriguingly, Beck’s long-time musical director/bassist/friend, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, has reported that he will not be in Beck’s bad on the upcoming Modern Guilt tour. Only Brian Lebarton, the keyboardist, from the Guero/Info tours remains. If you’ve seen Beck live at all since 1996, you’ve probably seen JMJ and his fro–the only times he wasn’t in the group was on (some) of the Sea Change tours. There were 4 Sea Change tours: Beck toured alone, with the Flaming Lips, with JMJ in Australia, and then with a new band without JMJ for the summer of ’03. Also during 2005, JMJ was not in the band, but he rejoined them in 2006. JMJ’s bass mastery, leather outfist, and general bad-assness will be missed, but really, new bands = new sounds = exciting new shows.
No word yet on who else is joining. One rumor is that one of the members of Islands was asked to drum (Beck’s been a fan for a few years, they have a remix on Guerolito), but he said no. More info on all that as we find out.
2. Next, and I find this absolutely fascinating. Over on Beck’s myspace page, recently his Top 8 Friends were changed to 8 ancient Greek figures: Alexander The Great, Archimedes, Protagoras, Aristotle, Sappho, Archaenus, Socrates, and Pythagoras. And, on their myspace pages, their only friends are Beck and Tom (the Myspace guy). So clearly, Beck (or at least his marketing team) had something to do with it. But why? Is it some indication of what the album marketing will be like? Maybe someone’s just being random? Is it some play on the ancient figures with modern guilt? A quick Google search indicates that “modern guilt” may have some connection to Greek philosophy, and/or existentialism (my thoughts on Beck and existentialism are a constantly growing list, but that’s another post). Hopefully more clues about what’s behind all this is forthcoming, or maybe it’s just a bit of random nonsense, I dunno.