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How Beck Ended Up on Tobacco's March LP "Maniac Meat"

February 22, 2010 12:00 AM ET

On May 25th, Black Moth Super Rainbow frontman Tom Fec will return with his second solo album, Maniac Meat, under his alias Tobacco. And he's scored an A-List guest to contribute: Beck. "Having him guest on my record is like the highest compliment I could ever get," says Fec.

Recorded at his home outside Pittsburgh, Fec's latest record features more super-psychedelic synth-pop with titles like "Mexican Icecream," "Lick the Witch" and "New Juices for the Hottub Freaks." (If you aren't familiar with either band, start with BMSR's epic "Forever Heavy" and Tobacco's freaky "Hawker Boat.") Beck guests on two of the new tracks: the lo-fi, hip-hop-inspired "Fresh Hex" and the haunting, mid-tempo jam "Grape Aerosmith."

Tobacco's collaboration with Beck was a spontaneous one. "I was writing some of these songs and I could hear Beck's voice on them," says Fec. "It was shaping the way they were coming out." When Fec informed his label, Anticon, about his creative process, he got some unexpected good news. "Shaun, who runs the label, was like 'Guess what? I'm taking a class with Beck's music director and they actually know who you are!' " Fec sent the audio files "long-distance like" to Beck, who came up with the vocal treatments, lyrics and melodies.

Fec, who is normally averse to performing live, will hit the road on March 12th for a string of live dates that wrap up April 24th in New York City.

March 12 - Toledo, Ohio @ Mickey Finn's Pub
March 13 - Cincinnati, Ohio @ Northside Tavern
March 14 - Nashville, Tennessee @ Exit In
March 17 - Austin, Texas @ Emo's Annex (SXSW)
March 18 - Austin, Texas @ SXSW
March 19 - Austin, Texas @ Barbarella (Anticon Showcase SXSW)
March 20 - Austin, Texas @ Vice (Noise Problem Party SXSW)
March 20 - Austin, Texas @ Longbranch Inn (Impose's Austin Imposition Party SXSW)
March 24 - San Diego, California @ Casbah
March 25 - Los Angeles, California @ Echo
March 26 - Costa Mesa, California @ Detroit Bar
March 27 - San Francisco, California @ Bottom Of The Hill
March 28 - Eugene, Oregon @ WOW Hall
March 29 - Portland, Oregon @ Holocene
March 30 - Seattle, Washington @ Chop Suey
April 2 - Minneapolis, Minnesota @ Triple Rock Social Club
April 3 - Chicago, Illinois @ Empty Bottle
April 23 - Annandale, New York @ Bard College
April 24 - Brooklyn, New York @ Knitting Factory

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Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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