Guest Blog Post

How Covering A Song Kickstarted An Entire Tour

By: Roger Houdaille of Ex Norwegian

We had 10 songs in the works for our new album Pure Gold, when I got inspired to try a version of The Shirts late ‘70s track, “Tell Me Your Plans”. The track was not a big hit in the States but it was a major hit in other countries, particularly Holland. In fact, it’s thanks to a Dutch TV show called TopPop, for whom The Shirts taped a wonderfully lip-synched performance that’s now uploaded on YouTube, that I ever came across the song. A couple years ago my friend Fernando Perdomo turned me on to this clip and I just fell in love with the song.

It had a lot of elements I dig: key modulations, a quirky time shift, and male/female lead vocals, something that Ex Norwegian features, too. Thinking back it was a no brainer to do a take on this song, but I didn’t hear any new way to arrange it until the idea to switch it from 3/4 to 4/4 came. It worked and the song instantly took on a new shape and sound.

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We were so excited with it that we made it the lead track of the album. We did a simple DIY video and I tracked down the original writer Artie LaMonica on Twitter and sent him the link. He liked it enough to reply and soon after offered help booking a show in NYC. That worked out and then manifested into a quick week and a half tour that covers alotta ground, from Memphis, Chicago, DC, and ending in NYC where we play the Bowery Electric with Artie’s new band Rome56.

It really amazes me the power of social media. Sure it has its cons but some wonderful pros. This  unexpected result is hopefully a start to a busy and successful year for Ex Norwegian.

Ex Norwegian officially launched in 2008 at the CMJ Festival in New York City but its genesis was a little  record called Ginger, Baby released under the guise Father Bloopyin 2007. This was singer-songwriter Roger Houdaille‘s best solo effort to date, and resulted in his formation of a band to promote the record live. Fastforward to 2016 the band is proud to release their latest record Pure Gold available here.

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