The Polyphonic Spree: cult, crazy or genius

Ever since The Polyphonic Spree performed last week at House of Blues: San Diego, I haven’t been able to get enough of the band. I had never seen them live before this performance and one can argue that I still haven’t seen them as circumstances allowed us only to take in the first three songs of their set. While leaving the venue, I mused with Roger regarding the band’s make up. My brain churned up a number of questions: Is Tim DeLaughter truly a genius (like Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips) or a drug-induced crazy man (like Jason Russell of Invisible Children) or a cult leader (like the man headed for another parole hearing, Charles Manson)? Did he have kids and if so, how many? What is the creative process behind the songs  – was it more like that of a composer or a regular band? Does he do all of the organizing for recording and touring? How does the whole thing work?

I was happy to find with just a little on Wikipedia and some Googling, that Tim is a sober man and really quite normal, just a busy creative with lots of projects (to this I can relate). The formation of The Polyphonic Spree in 2000 was a reaction to the guitarist, Wes Berggren, of his previous band, Tripping Daisy, dying of a drug overdose. So, no running naked in the streets for Tim, unless he really just feels like it.

Also in my searches, I found a documentary created by his wife (and singer in The Polyphonic Spree), Julie Doyle that was included as part of the 2007 album, The Fragile Army. The film, Raise Your Ears and Hold on to Your Heart, goes through the making of The Fragile Army in about 51 minutes. In that short time, I found that the creative process is not unlike that of a 3-piece band, just with more time recording. YouTube has the whole film in eight parts. Here is part one to kick it off.

I believe my favorite part is in the last seven minutes of the film where you can catch small glimpses of his family, with his four kids.

Overall, in this mini-research/deep-soak in the world of The Polyphonic Spree, I discovered the inspiration of Tim DeLaughter and the whirlwind he has created of good vibes that make me ecstatic to consider myself a fan of his projects.

For those who have never heard of The Polyphonic Spree, perhaps you really have. You will find one of my favorite songs, “Light and Day/Reach for the Sun” on The Lorax soundtrack (and trailer).

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