Aaron Lee Tasjan
Truth in advertising—In the Blazes finds Aaron Lee Tasjan more than just one toke over the line. But it’s cool. The charmingly selfdeprecating underdog of an East Nashville songwriter can handle his shit. Instead of the munchies, young gun Tasjan—who cut his teeth playing lead guitar in late period incarnations of The New York Dolls and Drivin N Cryin—wound up with one hell of a debut LP.
In December 2014, Tasjan spent a week recording In the Blazes at New Monkey Studio in Los Angeles, the same hallowed space where Elliott Smith cut his final record From a Basement on the Hill. At the helm for the sessions was Tasjan’s good buddy Eli Thomson of the band Everest, whom he’d met on tour while pulling a stint with Brooklyn indiefolk outfit Alberta Cross, and who produced Delta Spirit’s Ode to Sunshine. “Eli is a very grounded dude, personalitywise—he has a zen way of being,” Tasjan says.
“On a subconscious level, that’s a comforting thing to be around during the creative process. You’re relaxed enough to try new things and blow it. And for better or worse, part of my thing is messing up—I have to mess it up first to do it great. Really, that idea permeates my life, far beyond being a songwriter,” Tasjan explains. “I always identify with the underdog. Some people, if you look at ‘em, you wouldn’t think much of them, but then they surprise you. It turns out there’s something about them that blows your mind. And that’s kind of the overarching theme of most of the songs on In the Blazes.”