Poised to explode onto the scene with one of the great rock records of the new millennium are the Number Prophets, with their stunning debut “Simple Songs for Dangerous Times.” Stylistically fearless, the band morphs effortlessly from huge rocking riffs to alt-country tinged ballads, bluesy dust-ups to stadium anthems to guitar-pop confections and wistful modern rockers. You will recognize all of it as some sort of rock and roll, fresh yet familiar and loaded with hooks. Like the Clash or the Flaming Lips, the Number Prophets are punk in spirit even as they explore a variety of sounds.
OK, great, but why so many songs about death? And what’s with the title?
“I wrote these songs while it seemed the world was slipping irrevocably into chaos, when everything seemed to be getting worse by the day,” explains High Prophet Mark Erickson. “People started to think this could be 'it.' But as long as there have been civilizations, we have been living in dangerous times. It’s always the same thing over and over: the weak subjugated by the strong, the avaricious stepping on the heads of anyone to climb the society ladder so they can subjugate someone, everyone in it only for their egos, gorging themselves at the expense of future generations, greed, corruption, nations making war on each other. I mean, it’s always a disaster and I bet a newspaper from the latter days of Rome or the tail-end of the Egyptian dynasty would have basically the same stories as recent editions of The Economist or the New York Times: war, greed, injustice, suffering.”
“Now these songs are emerging at a moment of great hope in the world," he continues, "perhaps the greatest hope for the last 25 years or more. And we’ll need it. Because now is a time when things look even worse for our global economy and climate than was imaginable even a few short months ago. And we’ll still have the war, and the greed, and the suffering, though of course we have to work to overcome these things. And you’re still gonna die... So again, it’s always dangerous times. And these are simple songs because that's how I write them.”
Produced by Erickson with longtime pal Miles Loretta (Tim Easton, Zero 1), “Simple Songs for Dangerous Times” was recorded and mixed at Oakland’s New, Improved Recording with the genius engineer Eli Crews (Beulah, Deerhoof, Erase Errata) manning the controls. Lead vocals and overdubs were recorded mostly in Erickson’s front room in San Francisco by Mark and Miles. The record was mastered by Myles Boisen at the Headless Buddha Mastering Lab in Oakland.