The Baseball Project, the supergroup featuring R.E.M.’s Mike Mills and Peter Buck, The Minus 5‘s Scott McCaughey, The Dream Syndicate’s Steve Wynn and Filthy Friends‘ Linda Pitmon, will release their fourth studio album, Grand Salami Time!, on June 30.
It’s been almost 10 years since their last album, 2014’s 3rd, and McCaughey tells ABC Audio it’s something they’ve been “trying to do for a long time.” But due to other commitments and the COVID-19 pandemic, it took longer than expected. They worked on the new record with Mitch Easter, who produced R.E.M.’s debut EP, Chronic Town, and their debut album, Murmur.
McCaughey says of the album, “We got a little bit of the R.E.M. magic maybe in there, and I think it came off really, really well.”
As with previous Baseball Project albums, the songs all have baseball themes. McCaughey admits it got “a little harder” to do that by the fourth record. “I mean, the first one was so wide open. You could just write about 150 years of history in baseball,” he explains. But, he says, with baseball “new things come along.”
To record the album, the band decided to get into the studio together. “I prefer being in a room working,” Buck says. “What I like about music as a listener is the interplay of the musicians.”
But is it much different for Peter to be in the studio with these musicians as compared to R.E.M.?
“Things are different. You know, with R.E.M., there were four of us and it was a democracy and democracies don’t really work in a way,” he says. “But we’re older … No one’s really uptight about it.” He adds that since he’s known his current bandmates for a long time, “it felt pretty familiar.”
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