He's a multi-instrumentalist. He's a songwriter. He's a producer. He's an author. He's the creative director at Wampus Multimedia. He's Mark Doyon.
Doyon has released albums as Arms of Kismet and Wampeters, and this summer he will release his first as Waterslide, Lincoln Signal, written and produced by Doyon and mastered by Jon Astley (the Who, George Harrison, Tori Amos).
At the heart of Lincoln Signal is Dick Drake, a middle-aged recluse who "dreams of driving a sleek, black Lincoln Continental through the deserted streets of an ancient city."
Musically, the record "evokes the Velvet Underground, Neil Young, The Band, Brian Wilson, Marty Robbins, Captain Beefheart, and KC and the Sunshine Band."
What were you listening to at the time of the recording?
Early on, when I didn't really know yet what the record was going to be, I was listening to Captain Beefheart's Ice Cream for Crow, especially the title track, which is very manic and unusual. That led me to Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica, which split my head open like a tree stump. That record is a real litmus test -- people either love it or hate it. But I kind of internalized the alienation of Beefheart, and dreamed up this impassioned outsider who communicates with a distant world in an abstract way. Add Bob Dylan & The Band (The Basement Tapes) and some Velvet Underground, and you've got a backdrop for a gritty record with trad overtones. I listened a lot to East River Pipe's We Live in Rented Rooms and Lambchop's Mr. M., too, which are the vanguard to my ears.
Lincoln Signal is such a "literary" album. What are some of its central themes?
Alienation and redemption. We are all alienated from those we misunderstand or who misunderstand us, or from what we see as injustices in the world. We would rather be an intrinsic part of society than stand apart from it, but we don't always know how to. It's what we do with the alienation -- hide from it, bottle it up, express it as anger or sadness, or turn it into empathy for others -- that ultimately defines us.
Lincoln Signal is certainly a concept album. What are some of your favorite concept albums?
I might spin The Flaming Lips' The Soft Bulletin or Joel Plaskett's Ashtray Rock. Or The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. Or Dylan's Time Out of Mind. The Who's Quadrophenia was a big early influence on me. I can't really look at an album as just a bunch of songs any more easily than I can see a novel as just a collection of chapters. It's all narrative, all connected.
Why did you choose the name Waterslide?
Well, everyone loves a waterslide, right? When you're flying down a waterslide, you're happy and exhilarated, free of your worries and full of anticipation. When you reach the end, you're submerged, almost as an exclamation, in this clear, blue water. I wonder if we love waterslides because they remind us of the fleetingly perfect moments in our lives.