Mad Anthony wraps song-a-week project

The Cincinnati Rock band's monumental endeavor to release a new song every week for an entire year finished up Feb. 24 with the release of the fittingly titled 'It Never Ends.'

click to enlarge Mad Anthony - Photo: Jesse Fox
Photo: Jesse Fox
Mad Anthony
click to enlarge Mad Anthony - Photo: Jesse Fox
Photo: Jesse Fox
Mad Anthony
It’s amazing what a difference a year can make. Instead of piles of snaking cables, Ringo Jones’ living room now has a sensible couch and walls lined with framed show posters. The dining room is no longer the practice space for Cincinnati Rock band Mad Anthony, as it was when the group was interviewed for a CityBeat cover story around this time last year; now it’s home to an honest-to-goodness dining room table. And instead of crowding around a kitchen table, taking shots of Jameson and discussing the beginning of their ambitious Mad Anthology project, wherein Jones (guitar/vocals), Adam Flaig (guitar) and Marc Sherlock (drums) set out to release a new song every week for an entire year, the trio is sitting on the aforementioned couch, sipping on water and talking about the success of a project that, by all accounts, should’ve been impossible. The series wrapped on Feb. 24 with the release of the final new song, fittingly titled “It Never Ends.”

To the surprise of no one who’s familiar with Mad Anthony’s work ethic, the trio isn’t taking any time off. While the writing and recording is over for a while, there’s still plenty more to be done: namely preparing for their first batch of post-anthology live shows.

“It feels like we’re kind of shaking the rust off a little bit,” Flaig says.

“I’m relieved because rehearsing is way easier than writing and recording,” Jones says. “That’s part of the thing about this band is that it never really stops. It’s like, ‘Alright, we did that, we accomplished something and it was amazing,’ but we haven’t really sat down together since the end and said, ‘Hey, good job! High fives all around!’ More than anything, I’m like, ‘Alright, the pressure’s off; no song this week.’ But at the same time, the pressure’s on, because we have the live dates coming up and we want to make them special. We want to come out guns blazing.”

The live shows, with Mad Anthology songs mixed in with old favorites in the set, are just one aspect of the post-project reality. Another is preparing a physical release for the 52 new anthology tracks, which more than doubles the band’s previous recorded output. While still hammering out details, the initial plans are to release a batch of 22 songs spread across two volumes, but there’s an abundance of options and possibilities available to the guys. They’re taking their time and enjoying the freedom the project helped instill in them. (A six-song download from the project is available through Noisetrade here.)

“We’ve got no strings, ever, and we can see where that takes us,” Jones says. 

“We don’t have anyone telling us no,” Flaig adds.

Mad Anthony’s monumental accomplishment is impressive enough at face value. But when you factor in the band’s desire to involve dozens of special guests to contribute on all aspects of many of their songs, it’s easy to see how this project could’ve run into any number of roadblocks. Musicians aren’t always known for their abilities to share or work on a strict deadline, but the Mad Anthology collaborations were a complete success. Sherlock was especially excited to meet and work with so many outside artists and grow his skills through the experience.

“I thought it was awesome,” he says. “I didn’t know probably about half of the people; I met them when they came in to sing, so that was a ride for me — you had no idea what to expect. I got to meet a lot of people and we got to write a lot of cool songs that I normally wouldn’t see myself getting fired up about, and that’s pretty exciting.”

A major reason the band wanted to focus on collaborations was to connect their fans with artists they considered friends, as well as reach out to fans of their collaborators. It ended up working out beyond expectations.

“The people who were once casual fans before are now super fans,” Jones says. “And our super fans before are now, like, in the band. We were going for width and we got depth, and that’s actually better. I’d rather have 100 super fans who I know their first name and I see them at a bar and we can actually talk about things than 1,000 casual fans.”

Mad Anthony’s next local show is a freebie at Northside Tavern (4163 Hamilton Ave., Northside, northsidetav.com) on March 31. All 52 Mad Anthology songs can be streamed at madanthony.bandcamp.com (click below).

CONTACT NICK GREVER: [email protected]

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