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Since his early days, Tom Schraeder has eagerly shared his gift of crafting musical masterpieces with anyone that would be willing to listen to him bang on an old acoustic guitar and belt melodic interpretations of his deep, literary prose.

His neighbor, the well-respected, yet often reviled rock critic Jim DeRogatis recognized this early on, and enthusiastically encouraged the young Schraeder to delve deeper into the singer-songwriter canon, eschewing the likes of Matthews and Mraz for the Westerberg, Young, and Van Zandt that would prove to be far more influential on his early sound.

His 2007 album “The Door, The Gutter, The Grave” showcased the young songwriter’s explorations based upon these influences, and landed him a coveted spot at that year’s Lollapalooza. He put together a 9-piece band, and when an interviewer asked why he felt the need for such a large ensemble to interpret his songs, a band member jokingly interjected, “that’s just His Ego,” and the name of Schraeder’s backing band was born.

Throughout the next several years, Tom traveled throughout the country, playing solo acoustic shows and sleeping on a lot of couches. He recorded another album entitled “Lying Through Dinner” in 2008 with Austin-based producer Danny Malone, that showcased the rootsier side to Schraeder’s repertoire. A low-fi record, “Once Lace, Now Cotton” expanded on this side of Schraeder’s songwriting, while “Egoiste,” produced by Malone and Brooklyn-based producer Jimmy Giannopolous, challenged Schraeder to enhance his craft by exploring more electronic tones.

In the meantime, Schraeder felt the need to explore even deeper musical horizons. He recorded a psych-rock project with longtime friend Matthew Nurse called “Gush,” the nickname of Tom’s uncle, who had recently passed away following a sudden heart attack.

Schraeder also found himself yearning to record an album with a full band, so he called upon several of the musicians that he had been collaborating with under the moniker “His Ego” to put together a monumental record of some of his best compositions, namely Dan Moulder (keyboards, vocals), Ryan Joseph Anderson (guitars, vocals), Dan Ingenthron (bass, vocals), and Russ Mallord (drums), as well as poaching one of Austin’s finest, Chris Mosley (guitars, vocals) to round out the all-star lineup.

The band holed up in a practice space for a solid month of rehearsals in the frigid Chicago winter of February 2012. They reconstructed about a dozen of Schraeder’s finest songs, giving them new life and new meaning. In March, the band headed into Rax Trax Studios in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, with Schraeder, Moulder, and engineer Noam Wallenberg at the helm co-producing.

After 5 solid days of basic tracking, the band moved over to Pieholden Suite Sound in the Ukrainian Village for overdubs.

After about a month of Jim Beam and PBR-soaked sessions that included guest sessions from the like of Matthew Nurse, Mars Williams (Psychedelic Furs, Liquid Soul), Nick Broste (Wilco horns), violinist Stephanie Lee, and vocalists Jennifer Hall and Nisha Champion, as well as a bunch of home-cooked meals from Tom and his most ardent supporters, Joyce and Tom Schraeder, Sr., the band wrapped up tracking in April 2012.

Unfortunately in these difficult economic times, financial constraints proved difficult to allow the project to progress into the post-production phase, and the album was shelved for the better part of two years.

In the meantime, Schraeder found new life as the founder and curator of two independent music and arts festivals. His first foray, The Ultraviolet Petting Zoo, featured several local and national indie artists, and raised money for the Boys & Girls Club of Chicago. The event proved so successful, that Schraeder spearheaded the annual Chicago, I Love You festival, a week-long multi-media experience that integrated the best independent music, comedy, film, and visual arts that Chicago had to offer, and was held in every corner of the city.

Eventually, however, due to fervent enthusiasm for the demo recordings which had been distributed underground via social media, as well as the encouragement of his bandmates and music critic Jim Kopeny (aka “Tankboy”) from Chicagoist, who called the album “an epic stunner” before it was even released, “GUSH” by Tom Schraeder & His Ego finally became a reality...until Tom shelves it again.

- Dan Moulder


released April 10, 2015

His Ego:
Dan Moulder
Ryan Anderson
Dan Ingenthron
Russ Mallord
Chris Mosley
Tom Schraeder

Mars Williams - Saxophone
Matt Nurse - Songwriter Track 8, Glass, Vocals Track 8
Nick Broste - Trombone
Jake Ditmore - Songwriter Track 2
Stephanie Lee - Violins
Matthew Baugher - Vocals Track 9
Jennifer Hall - Vocals Track 6
Nisha Champion - Vocals Tracks 7, 10

Engineered by Noam Wallenberg @ RaxTrax
Additional Engineering by Robbie Hamilton and Ben Clarke @ Pieholden Studio and Daniel Champion @ Skeyelab Music.

Mixed by Noam Wallenberg @ RaxTrax except for "Young, Not Rotten" mixed by Sean O'keefe.

Produced by Tom Schraeder and His Ego, Noam Wallenberg, and Dan Moulder.

Cover art: Isidro Hurtado
Film Director: Isidro Hurtado
Book art: Isidro Hurtado, Tom Schraeder

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Track Name: Duct Tape Ladder
Sunday Morning,
I think that there's something wrong.
There's a suit and a bonnet
both trapped in holy song.

As the rooftops melt,
the depth from their stall
there's a duct tape ladder.

The rooftops will keep,
as the choir stays asleep,
the neighborhood forgets its song.

Gonna find that women - tell her I'd like to stay.
Gonna find that women - tell her that I'd like to stay.

Your prayers are just wishes
I wish you the best,
chalice filled with wine
and wishing you had confessed

Now the church bells keep,
the choir stays asleep from sleep
the neighborhood forgets it all.
Allow the Church bells to awakeThe choir from their sleep.

So the neighborhood forgets it's holy song.
I'm gonna find that women and tell I'd like to stay.

If you find my woman,
tell her I should have stayed
Track Name: Jungle Gym Jock
Jungle Gym Jock,
six years old.
with holes in his socks, a runny nose,
and he don't care.

funny faces in the art museum
Mona Lisa's saying I can't see them -
Can you?
They're looking at you.

they're always saying,
I wanna be so old,
So, I thank the lord
that I've got you and your love.

Jungle Gym Jock
Twelve years old.
Holes in socks,
a bloody nose,
and now I care.

Gotta know now,
I'm on your side.
and all your bullies
can run and hide from us now.
Track Name: Thrown Back Hair
Won't you dance,
upon the carpet
so your heels can't respond
to the floor we dance upon.
a broken stare,
through thrown back hair
won't you take this chance?
take this chance,
my love, my dear,
you're everything to me.
my love, my dear,
you're beautiful to me.
won't you drink my wine,
and pardon the sun.
my dear...

Won't you dance,
like no one is watching.
let my hand find,
its place to hide.
with a broken stare,
and your thrown back hair
won't you take this chance?
take this chance.
drink my wine and pardon the sun.
my love, my dear,
I want more than this.
Track Name: Regret in Another Tense
Jesus - don't forget me when I'm gone
We both know, I'll never change.
Take the dance from my hands
and the rhythm from my step.
We can blame it on Reno
for bringing us here.
I've thought about you every kiss
to find regret in another tense
So, Portland, don't cry for me
"All loves, will have their dance," I'm told.
We'll blame it on Reno
because now I know,
I can't change...
So, Portland,
Don't cry for me.
& Reno,
we'll blame it on your God.
Track Name: Silence Will Follow
There's blood on the bedpost
and I'm a bit unsure,
if it's yours or hers.
I knew not who to call,
though it felt implied it should be you.
May the cuffs
find the wrist tonight
and language find it's proper tense
the silence will follow

Won't you meet me at the corner
at a quarter to ten
Tell me that you're sorry and we'll start again
I want a lot whole lot more of you
There's a hole in Daddy's pocket
that momma don't know so well.
Now, the silence has followed.
Won't you meet at the corner at a quarter to ten?
to tell you, that i'm sorry
and let you pretend it's true.
that I want a whole lot more of you.
I want a whole lot more of me
and less of him in you.
and the Silence will follow.
Track Name: Tomorrow We'll Know Why
Gentle words caused by pen,
Should I swallow the knife,
and start again?
I know, that you know, That I was listening.

Now I know why
I've been waiting
and holding on to you New York.

Home, I can't go home alone
I can't go home alone
I can't go home.

Smile now, I'll be gone
and tomorrow we'll know why
that I know, that you know
I was listening.

Now I know why
I've been waiting
Holding on to New York

Home, I can't go home alone
I can't go home alone
I can't go home

Laughed, We sang in then we danced
I'm broken marionette,
I never had a change.

Home, I can't go home alone
I can't go home alone
I can't.
Track Name: When You Were Young
When you were young,
you were the life of the party
though you stared at none.
When you were young.
you watched a catfish drowned by the sun.
But I gave it all I could,
But I gave it all I could.

When you were young,
all you wore was black to zero found green,
now you're not young,
and sugarland found it's cane in your eyes.
When you were young,
New York Never crossed your mind,
Now you're not young,
New York seems so far tonight.
Track Name: Prison of Air
You and me,
We are what we're here to be.
You and me,
We're here to set eachother free.
Free and here,
There's a knot in your lock of hair.
In the night,
you dream and you hope I might.
In the night,
you dream and you hope I might.
Why this love?
The heart is such a fragile thing
Why this pain?
The heart will grow when this life gets cold.
Track Name: Young Not Rotten
I never loved you,
now that is a lie
we'll dance our lonesome
to all of our lives
they told us one thing
but we did another
and now my tongue won't rest
when we leave eachother
the kids are young
young not rotten
scissor sleep and cocaine eyes
I've never loved you,
now that is a lie
you can have your lonesome
but I'll pass on mine
they told you one thing
you did another
your tongue may rest
when you leave me behind.
tell the ghost,
you're trying to find her.
ageless friend,
how do you numb?
kids are young,
but they're not rotten
they were born to be forgotten
let the children play
all the nights
the streets we roam
then scissor sleep and cocaine eyes
we were born to be forgotten.
Track Name: Chicago, I love you...
Chicago, I love you
for bringing me here
I love you
but you don't look the same

There's no taxicab heart beat
at Irving and Cicero

I miss you
you've brought me down.
I miss you
You don't look the same.

There's a taxicab heart
at Irving and Cicero
May the hip leave Humboldt alone
and let tradition stay
No, I'm sorry...
It was me who had changed.
I'm sorry...
It was me who had changed.
It was me who had changed.
It was me who had changed.
It was me...
I love you.