JD Pinkus tells us about the time he “Woke Up Dead” on his latest banjo-based ditty [BPM Premiere]

JD Pinkus may still be best known for his bass work in Butthole Surfers, but in recent years he become a fulcrum of the rejuvenated Melvins and also spent his pandemic becoming a chicken therapist – which you can witness in the recent video for “Gittin’ It”. He’s also been wiling away the time plucking together more idiosyncratic missives on his banjo, in a style he calls “space grass”. Next month he’s releasing a new album called Fungus Shui via Shimmy-Disc/Joyful Noise, and today we have the pleasure of bringing you the next single, “Woke Up Dead”.

He introduces the song and its lovely video, animated by Maxwell Sebastian, by saying:

“Sometimes you’re lucky if all ya wake up with is the blues…. I wrote this one about that time I woke up dead. Maxwell Sebastian captured that thing that goes on forever, that thing there are no words for… His interpretation is a beautiful celebration of this thing. I’m so very grateful for him sharing his mind and talents! Blue Skies and Sunshine, Pinkus

And thus, “Woke Up Dead” is quite literally a description of what it’s like to wake up and yet not wake up, fearing that you might never wake up again. Pinkus’ plaintive plucks at the banjo are warped to give us a feeling of being half in the nether world, while he emphatically sings “I got the feeling I ain’t dreaming / I’m gone and I ain’t never coming back.” Stuck in bed, practically in a state of rigormortis, he laments “everybody sleeps like I do / on the day after the last day of their life.” Of course, Pinkus isn’t dead – and in fact, his rugged and beautifully weathered voice, which rings out with such effusiveness, suggests he’s got plenty of playing, loving and living yet to do. And we’re all thankful for that.

JD Pinkus’ new album Fungus Shui arrives on August 21 via Shimmy-Disc / Joyful Noise (pre-order/save). You can find him on Bandcamp, Facebook and Instagram.