As you might guess from the band's name, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger makes songs that are ornate, fanciful, tuneful and unusual. It's a collaborative duo featuring Sean Lennon and his partner in life and music, Charlotte Kemp Muhl. They play multiple instruments and sing in harmony about elegant gardens, dystopian futures, striving scientists, a smarmy impresario and much more.
Sean is the son of music royalty: The Beatles' John Lennon and artist/musician Yoko Ono. But he's also a New Yorker with a New York musician's characteristic enthusiasm for blending avant-garde and pop sensibilities. Now, after years with the experimental pop band Cibo Matto, as well as a couple solo albums of his own songs, Lennon says in this interview that he feels his musical vision is coming into focus with The GOASTT (as the band is known for short), and that he's savoring his collaboration with Muhl.
Muhl is an in-demand fashion model known for her eccentric sense of style, who (as revealed in this interview) wrote a 700-page novel when she was 11. The band takes its name from one of the many plays Muhl wrote when she was a child, and here she goes into some detail about the imaginative plot of that play. For this session, Muhl sings and plays bass guitar, accordion, melodica, glockenspiel and percussion, all instruments she's only recently learned to play, but on which she performs with wonderful musicality.
Lennon and Muhl came into WNYC's downtown Manhattan studio with a lot of instruments and enthusiasm, arranging themselves like a pair of one-person bands, each with an array of instruments. Lennon was situated mainly at his guitar, but with percussion within reach of his hands and feet. He also played the piano.
The interview topics include Lennon's project with Deerhoof's Greg Saunier, titled Consortium Musicum; The GOASTT's first album, Acoustic Sessions, to be released Oct. 26; and Lennon's moving thoughts on his father's influence. To see a video interview with Lennon, visit the session's page on WNYC.org.