Or, to put it another way, the rumors of the Jimmies' demise have been greatly exaggerated.
When I posted the first video from the band Tim and the Space Cadets, I didn't expect that most of the chatter in the comments would be about the status of the band the two founders of TATSC left, The Jimmies. I knew that the Jimmies weren't folding or anything of the sort, but pretty soon after I posted the video, I followed up with both chief Jimmie Ashley Albert and chief, er, Space Cadet Tim Kubart to find out the real story...
So why the split (which happened in 2008)?
Both Albert and Kubart agree -- it was because Kubart was ready to try his own hand leading a kids music band. Says Kubart:
I'd decided on family music as my career path before I joined the Jimmies, and I had already been writing my own songs and playing around with ideas for albums and other media forms. After about two years, I think it was becoming obvious to everyone involved I was itching to get started on my own work.And Albert tells the same story in typically Jimmies-ish manner:
Ashley and I came to the sad conclusion that it was time for me to move on. I was honored and thrilled to be a part of the Jimmies, and I still always have fond memories whenever I sneeze into my wrunkle.
By the Summer of 2008, it became clear that Tim was never gonna be happy just being the bass player for The Jimmies and was really wanting to do his own thing. After a LOT of back and forth, we decided that the best thing to do was set him off into the world before we became so covered in Jimmiesishness that his leaving would no longer be an option without hurting the project. It was an unbelievably tough and scary decision for all of us, but I think that deep down, we knew that it had to be made or Tim would never reach his full rocking-out potential and we would always feel like he had one foot out the door.Now, for those of you who forget how the Jimmies were founded, it was always Ashley's show -- she put the whole debut album together down in Miami in 2006, then came up to New York to cast the band...
I made the album down in Miami with help from my dad, my best friend Kate and a few amazing studio musicians and then came back to New York and that Fall, found a few super-talented guys to help me perform the songs live and in the videos...Kubart remembers the soup and playing songs in a cast:
Ashley was actively searching New York for kid-friendly, hip musicians around the same time I dedicated my life to family music. I'd already been playing in classrooms for over a year, doing birthday parties, playing hayrides in the summer, things like that. A mutual friend introduced us, and Ashley and I chatted over some black bean soup in Union Square. The funny thing about our first meeting was that I had my arm in a full cast -- I'd been in a car accident about a month prior -- and I tried to play her a song I had written about an octopus. The rhythm was all over the place because of the cast, but I managed to convince her I was decent at the guitar and even better at the bass. So Ashley asked me to join the band...But the split is definitely amicable -- "I was with the band for a little over two years after that, and I wouldn't give those years up for anything. I loved being with the Jimmies -- the band, the traveling, the great music, the incredible videos," says Kubart. He also says, "Ashley is a great driving force. She really puts her entire self into that project, and it shows; the results are creative and fantastic." And Ashley returns the compliment: "Tim's got great pop-sensibility, charisma to spare and isn't too hard on the eyes...he's gonna do great. And don't be surprised to see Matt Puckett popping up anywhere there's a guitar that needs playing or a taco that needs eating."
Oh, yeah, Matt Puckett, Jimmies guitarist. Here's the story from Ashley:
In the Spring of 2009, young Matt Puckett graduated from college and, like any 22 year old whose parents stop paying their New York City rent, decided to move back home to Texas. Before Matt left, Tim asked him to lend a few songs and perform on his Space Cadets EP and video. And then, just like that, he was gone. Matt's a true lover of music and a champion for his friends and will pretty much play with anyone for any reason at every opportunity. He's still down in Texas and is involved in all sorts of other projects, including his sister's fantastic pop-chamber music project "Mother Falcon" (which you should totally check out). To that point, The Jimmies are doing a show down in Houston on March 7th and Matt's driving in to play with us.For his part, Tim says he's "hoping to complete a full album in the coming months, and mostly get on the road as much as I can. My favorite part of the music business is the live performance. So I hope to start touring as soon as possible." He's also starting development on a podcast and creating a book series.
As for Ashley, the Jimmies as a band has evolved slightly:
While I originally had this utopian idea about us eventually congealing into a real-life, hardcore, kindie rock-n-roll band, once Matt decided to move back home, I figured out that it was WAY easier on everybody to just have a solid stable of great guys at the ready... Dan Weiner has always been my main man drummer, but I even have a guy that can cover for him should he get a cold or lose his left shoe or decide to throw it all away and move to Belize.How does she feel about the new album?
My dad and I produce the albums together at his recording studio (AudioVision) down in Miami, with his partners, my uncle and godfather, poking their heads in every once in a while to lend their 2 cents. Dan played drums for a few of the songs that we've already been performing live (like "Every Day's A Holiday" and "Bonfire"), but I have this one incredible musician, Steve Gordon, who can play just about anything and we just build the tracks as we go with anyone who happens to be hanging around the studio, picking up instruments as they're needed (that's how we ended up with Joel Grey's piano player and Tito Puente, Jr's drummer on "Make Your Own Someday"). It's a really fun, organic way to make an album and I am over-the-moon excited with how it's turning out.And while Albert says that she hopes that this "assuages anyone's fears that Tim starting a band might make The Jimmies any less...Jimmiesish -- on the contrary, we are more Jimmiesish than ever," she also adds, enigmatically, "But, that said,taken a hard left and am steering The Jimmies into entirely new, unexpected and generally fantastic waters...so changes may be a comin' after all."