Trevor Dunn has been a profession musician, as a bassist and composer, for about 25 years. Still you may ask yourself, "Mad what?". "Trevor who?" There is a perfectly reasonable explanation for this. Back in the mid-'80s he co-founded an avant-rock band called Mr. Bungle and later did time in Mike Patton's cut-and-paste metal outfit Fantômas. He also plays and records extensively with John Zorn among many others [for the full 70+ discography see www.trevordunn.net] covering a wide range of genres.
In all of these groups Mr. Dunn does what any respectable bass player, who hasn't flipped pizzas since 1986, gets hired to do. Namely, keep his mouth shut and get the job done, which may be the reason his name is less familiar to you then some of his employers [i.e. Yuka Honda, Erik Friedlander, The Melvins, Sean Lennon, a guy from Korn, etc].
It wasn't until 1998 that Trevor stepped out as a leader with his spastic power-chord "jazz" group Trio-Convulsant. A sophomore CD was released on Ipecac Recordings in 2004.
But something was missing. It had been nearly 10 years since Trevor wrote any rock music (Mr. Bungle's last record on Warner Bros. came out in 1999) and he was itching to get back to his roots. Those roots being bands like Cheap Trick, X, The Pretenders and Blondie. Call it jumping on the bandwagon, call it a mid-life crisis, but Dunn decided to start his very own rock band. Enter MadLove.
The name "MadLove" is the English translation of a title by surrealist Andre Breton called "L'Amour Fou" and that's all you need to know about that. If nothing else, it describes the obscure object of desire that drives us all to our insane, inevitable, colorful end.
MadLove recorded in Brooklyn's Studio G in 2008 with a disparate yet psychically connected, hand-picked line-up: Sunny Kim, hailing from Seoul, Korea fronts the band as lead vocalist. Sunny has lead her own band Myth of Mitch and plays with the Prana Trio and a group led by trombonist Roswell Rudd. The all-important guitar chair is held by Icelandic master Hilmar Jensson (Tyft, Kitchen Motors). The drummer, known for his work with Xiu Xiu, Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog and Theory of Ruin is Ches Smith. Keyboardist Erik Deutch who plays with Devotchka and Charlie Hunter is on hand for the live performances. Trevor, of course, holds down his comfortable position as bassist while stepping up as vocalist on occasion.
The music of MadLove fits snugly somewhere in the genre of "rock". There is no question that the songs are guitar-centric. Around power chords constructed with wrong notes, however, there are melodies that weave in and out of comfort zones; there are drum hooks and melodic bass lines that start on the "and-of-four" and there are Fender Rhodes counter-melodies. Some of the songs are fairly commercial; some will never see the light of radio; Some utilize the classic form of verse-chorus-verse, while others dare to hide form within theme and variation. And somehow, it all sounds cohesive.
In writing for this brand-spanking new band, Dunn wrote intuitively, never over-thinking the songs. Yet one gets the sense that he drew upon his many years experience, as a sideman and as a composer, in order to craft music that is at once engaging, thoughtful and fun to crank on the ol' stereo.
"white with foam", the debut CD from MadLove, will be out on Ipecac Recordings in the Fall of 2009.