Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fastball's Miles Zuniga releases new solo album, will be in Chicago with Matthew Sweet


Those who are used to seeing Miles Zuniga alongside his longtime band Fastball will see a different side of him when he performs Oct. 13 and 14 with Matthew Sweet at The Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake St., Chicago,

Both shows start at 8 p.m. and tickets are $30, available at

Zuniga,, is touring in support of his first solo album, "These Ghosts Have Bones." I had the chance to Zuniga about the album and Fastball's latest activities.

Q - Matthew Sweet also just released a new album, so I guess the both of you will be performing new songs at The Bottom Lounge.

This is his tour, and he was gracious enough to let me come along.

Q - It seems like you and Matthew Sweet share some musical interests. Melody plays a big part in Fastball's music, and melody is obviously key in Matthew Sweet's music. Do you think it's just natural to be touring with him?

We toured with him years and years ago, back when Fastball was promoting "Make Your Mama Proud." So there's that.

We both love pop music. We love classic rock 'n' roll music from the '60s and '70s.

Q - And of course Fastball just played in August in Skokie. How did that show go?

Oh, that was fun. That was a lot of fun. It was outside with the Smoking Popes. It was good.

Yeah, that's a good Chicago band there.

Q - I see you raised money through Kickstarter in order to make "These Ghosts Have Bones." You actually raised more than your goal. Was that surprising?

Well, what was surprising was how fast I was able to raise it. You don't get any money if you don't hit your goal, which is kind of daunting.

My goal was $20,000. You set how much time limit you want. You can go up to three months, but they recommend a month. So I went with their recommendation.

And I raised $20,000 in like six days, so it was pretty mind boggling. But it's a definitely viable and actually very enticing alternative to trying to get some sort of record deal or whatever.

And I don't really think people buy records any more. They just don't. There are too many other avenues now to get music.

I think listening to music has completely changed from what it was. It's changed to fit the way we do everything else.

Q - Musically, what kind of goals did you have for the album?

Well, I wanted it to have sort of a homemade feel, kind of like Paul McCartney's record "RAM," or different records. I wanted it to be intimate.

I didn't want it to sound too polished. I just wanted the sound to match the emotional content of the songs.

I was playing most of the stuff myself, but I did get John Chipman, who plays in the band The Resentments. I play in this other band, The Resentments.

Bruce Hughes is in The Resentments and played on the last Fastball record, "Little White Lies." I enlisted those two guys as my rhythm section on most of the songs on "These Ghosts Have Bones."

They definitely are really strong musicians, and have their own unique sound. So that was helpful. I wanted to try some stuff I normally wouldn't get to try.

Q - Do the think the album is partially a reflection of you trying out the songs at your Sunday night residency at Saxon Pub?

Yeah. What it was, I was going through this big breakup, and I was writing all these songs, and I would take them down to Saxon's and play them and see how the audience responded.

Through that process, I came up with the songs that would be on the record. Bruce and John were playing on those songs on most of those Sundays.

Q - Are you pleased with how the album turned out?

I was very pleased. With every record, I try to do the best that I can. As long as I feel like I did that, it's fine.

I feel like I'm constantly learning, constantly absorbing new things. It's like a journal through my life. I just accept whatever is coming out at the time, because that is what's real.

Q - I think my favorite Fastball album is "The Harsh Light of Day," just because of the sheer variety on it.It seems like you are throwing a lot out there, which is good, because I don't like one note albums.

That was a confusing record, for sure. A lot of people really like it and love it.

But for me, I felt pretty lost while we were making it. There was a lot of pressure that we put on ourselves to follow up this hit record ("All the Pain Money Can Buy.")

We thought we were going to get dropped. We thought, yeah, us and our friends are going to hear this album. No one else is going to hear this album.

That was kind of the backdrop for "All the Pain Money Can Buy." And then it was a huge record. And everybody goes, "Go do that again."

Q - Was it a thrill working with Billy Preston on "The Harsh Light of Day?"

Yeah, it was a real thrill. I've gotten to do some amazing things in my life.

I got to sing "Sunny Afternoon" with Ray Davies, things like that, where you would never in a million years think you would get to do that. But there you are.

Q - Fastball's last album, "Little White Lies," came out in 2009. Anything new on the horizon?

We're going to go do I think a 7-inch record. We've got a couple of songs and we're going to go in and do that, but both Tony and I are pretty busy with our respective records.

We'll see. Right now, I'm just taking it one month at a time.