Chris Connelly has a wife, two small children, a demanding job managing Reckless Records in Bucktown, and, at any given moment, seemingly half a dozen artistic projects underway. This month alone, he released an ambitious solo album (his 12th), How This Ends, the debut from his new band The High Confessions, Turning Lead Into Gold With The High Confessions, and his first novel, Ed Royal. Itâ€™s an impressive feat, especially considering the adventurousness of the results. The experimental How This Ends is divided into two half-hour tracks that eschew traditional songwriting conventions. The High Confessionsâ€”featuring Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth, Sanford Parker of Minsk, and engineer Jeremy Lemosâ€”follow a similarly cavalier muse, improvising their debut, with three of the five songs stretching beyond the 10-minute mark. (The band has already recorded a second album.) Perhaps strangest of all of Connellyâ€™s projects is Ed Royal, simply because it plays the straightest: a psychological thriller that draws heavily from his experiences growing up in Edinburgh. The A.V. Club went over all of it one night at Connellyâ€™s home in Rogers Park.
The A.V. Club: In the press sheet for How This Ends, you said your focus is more on words now and less on music. What does that mean in practice when you make an album?
Chris Connelly: It means, in the case of How This Ends and [2008 solo album] Forgiveness And Exile, I wrote the words before I had the music, which is really unusual for me. I usually do them in tandem, or I do the music first and the words come later. Sometimes itâ€™s hard to do. Sometimes the words take a long time to come, sometimes they come really quickly. How This Ends started, and by the way [so did] Forgiveness And Exile, as did The High Confessions, for me on the CTA. I write on the train. What I always say is that itâ€™s my time to write.