A collective endeavor which engages in rhythmic typewriter manipulation combined with elements of performance, comedy and satire. BTO aims to entertain the masses while providing an outlet for the creative urges of its members. *BTO promises to protect customer confidentiality with the utmost vigilance while remaining irreverent at all times.
Before we had the magic of manual keystrokes to guide our love for sound, members of the typing pool have dipped their toes in various musical waters. For Jeff, his first genuine venture beyond some high school dalliances was working as a college radio disc jockey in the middle of Missouri. While for most those efforts peak with an overnight shift ornately crafting musical themes that are sent via the airwaves into space, he made a real splash working with a friend and booking an on-campus spring concert. That’s not generally such a big deal either of course, except these efforts brought about the reunion of one of his favorite bands, and led to a compact disc release of that very performance.
Today, for Record Store Day, that concert has been revisited by Sony Legacy recordings and is being restored to it’s full glory, putting in lost performances, appending the entire encore, and replacing banter, including an introduction where you can hear Jeff’s voice calling the band to stage. If you’re heading out to brave the geekery of RSD lines and folks elbowing their way to bins, this album is the best use of your time and money of those new titles available.
OK, so the truth of the matter is that our typewriters are used for their sonic properties and aren’t loaded with ink or paper when we perform. However, we’ve been invited to participate in a night called “The Art of Paper” at the Portland Museum of Art on February 26. The museum is free on Friday nights, so all Mainers are welcome to join in and check us out, but we’ll be on early so come right after work as they’re showing Lori Anderson’s documentary about her dog at like 6:30.
With wrapping paper crumpled by tree skirts without care it seems that Christmas day is already here. While today’s apparel in Boston brings shorts and T’s, we hope no matter the weather that you have fun and do as you please.
We’re ramping up for a fun 2016, with a Kickstarter in the works to make a real record of sorts and shows shaping up both near and far (today’s weather makes me warier for how it may be in Maine during February), we bring you this piece of festive holiday cheer that we worked up for Chandler Travis’ Holiday Extravaganza that raised over $14,000 for the homeless (and that was just the Boston show). Feed the world, or at least enjoy some holiday goose.
Our practice space is in East Boston. We gather there weekly to see what magic the typewriters can make us conjure from them. It’s Jay’s place and he grew up in the neighborhood with Richie. While initial dreams were only the hope to play a single public performance, things have obviously lived far beyond those aspirations. Now there’s a new book from Eastie native and Rutgers journalism professor Dr. Regina Marchi, Legen-
Sol Lewitt at Currier Museum of Art, Manchester NH
-dary Locals of East Boston. Among profiles of JFK’s dad and governors John Winthrop and John Bates, and the world’s first female clipper ship navigator Mary Patten, women’s suffrage activist Judith Winsor Smith, and the first Civil War nurse Armeda Gibbs is the Boston Typewriter Orchestra. How do you like that?
So weird thing is when we play outside of our fine home state, people actually seem to come out to see us play and actually enjoy us. So much so that sometimes they ask us to come back. New Hampshire is getting an encore performance as the Currier Museum in Manchester has given us a curtain call. We’ll be back playing the Currier After Hours on September 3, with 2 sets nestled between somewhere 6 and 9 pm.
When we were first contacted by the library, we had stars in our eyes about getting the chance to play for some Hollywood elite. However, upon confirming we found out that this gig was happening in Beverly, not Beverly Hills. After doing a quick check to make sure it wasn’t a sting operation to get the late fees on those reference books that fill Brendan’s bookcase, we figured, what a better way to spend a Monday than to celebrate typewriters.
On Monday May 4, the Boston Typewriter Orchestra will be playing the closing reception for The Typewriter Project, an exhibit presenting the typewriter in all its glory presented by the Beverly Cultural Council.
Click, Clack, Ding. That’s the title that’s being given to our upcoming performance on February 22, 2015 at the Boston Society of Architects. They are in the midst of a giant effort called StereoType and figured what better band to represent the power of the font than BTO. Assuming you can get to their home near South Station and the city isn’t entirely shut down until Red Sox Opening Day in April, we’re playing a free show that’s set to start at 2pm. Make a day of it, see us and then try to walk to the North End for some cannolis; make a game of trying to stay on the sidewalks and not be hit by plows.
So we were on Google’s Doodle a few weeks back, now that we’re given them space, we’re showing off the process. We recorded this track with 6 of us mashing away at keys. To make it more “jazzy” Alex had a friend add a trombone track. The final result was us behind a piano track that Google found someone to throw on top of us. Choose for yourself.
Happy 113rd Birthday Langston Hughes! Amazingly enough, we have been asked by the Google Corporation to help celebrate the greatest poet of the Harlem Renaissance by providing a soundtrack to a Doodle on their website commemorating the date.
We’ll be posting our unadorned backing track later this week, as well as an alternate version with trombone rather than the piano version that is used here. But since that’s not around to link to just yet, we’ll toss this in your inbox: typist Jeff’s first Most Bitter album actually kicked off with an adaptation of Hughes’ poem “Sunset in Dixie.”
Without pushbrooms or anything else to clear jammed keys, our esteemed typist Brendan recently spoke with the Boston Globe West (It’s like the Boston Globe but only gets sent out once a week to people who live too far from the city to commute regularly) and found a succinct summation of our proper place in the pop culture pantheon: “It’s like ‘STOMP’ meets ‘The Office.’”