On August 26th, 2022, Bret McKenzie will release Songs Without Jokes, his full-length, solo debut, worldwide through Sub Pop. The album, which features lead single “A Little Tune,” and additional highlights “Dave’s Place,” “If You Wanna Go,” and “America Goodbye,” was produced by Mickey Petralia and McKenzie, mixed by Darrell Thorpe, with songs recorded at East West Studios and United Recordings, and mastered by Dave Ives at 101 Mastering in Los Angeles.
Watch the charming, official (and officially charming…) video for a “A Little Tune,” which stars McKenzie, directed by Ezra Simons, and shot at Royal Whanganui Opera House, the last Victorian theatre remaining in New Zealand.
As you can probably glean from that gleaming album title above, McKenzie—whom you know from such modern musical treasures as comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, The Muppets movie reboots and other ace family-film soundtracks, Lord of the Rings fan blogs, guest songs for The Simpsons, cycling around the streets in his native New Zealand, and more— has a new solo record coming out filled with songs that ARE NOT COMEDY SONGS! For members of the press, we thoughtfully provide some irresistible story headlines below, for Bret’s sake and your convenience.
-Kiwi Flies, and Solo!
-Songs From One Bloke
-Three (Con)chords (Minus Two Conchords) and the Truth
-Uh-Oh! Rhymenoceros on the Loose!
-Bretty or Not, Here He Comes
There. Now doesn’t that feel better? Sometimes it helps just to get it out in the open.
So, yeah, Bret’s a ridiculously funny dude, and you might even call him one of the best comedy songwriters in the biz. He’s had smash hits, he’s won major awards, he’s the better-dressed part of his duo…he’s got a good thing going! So, what gives with this whole “songs without jokes” solo stuff, man?
“Post-Conchords, I’d been working on songs for the Muppets films, and during a session I had the thought that it would be fun someday to work on some songs that weren’t for someone else, that don’t have to tell a story or be funny or continue the narrative plot, checking all the boxes for the character in the movie,” McKenzie says. “I thought it’d be fun to do a record like that, something different.”
Adding to his successful track record writing and performing across most genres of pop music, McKenzie is a fan of wry, literate artists like Harry Nilsson, Steely Dan, Randy Newman and Dire Straits. He’s a talented player of multiple instruments and a veteran of several non-comedy bands in New Zealand back in the day, most notably the reggae-based fusion group The Black Seeds. Yet, while songs without jokes are just as much in his blood as those with, he recognizes that most people who know his work will arrive expecting a laugh. Hence, the album’s title (read full bio at Sub Pop).
McKenzie, along with his seven-piece band, has scheduled international headlining shows for the fall of 2022 in support of Songs Without Jokes, beginning September 2nd in Nelson, New Zealand at Trafalgar Center and currently ending Sunday, November 20th in Atlanta, Georgia at the Eastern.
Seated registration for these shows begins today, and runs through Tuesday, May 17th at 10pm (local). Fan presales begin Wednesday, May 18th at 10am (local; PW: SONGSWITHOUTJOKES), with tickets on sale to the general public on Friday, May 20th at 10am (local). For more information on tickets please visit https://bretmckenzie.co.nz/tour/.
Fri. Sep. 02 - Nelson, NZ - Trafalgar Centre
Sat. Sep. 03 - Christchurch, NZ - Town Hall
Sun. Sep. 04 - Dunedin, NZ - Town Hall
Mon. Sep. 05 - Invercargill, NZ - Civic Theatre
Thu. Sep. 08 - Wellington, NZ - Opera House
Mon. Sep. 12 - Whanganui, NZ - Royal Whanganui Opera House
Tue. Sep. 13 - Hastings, NZ - Opera House
Wed. Sep. 14 - Auckland, NZ - Town Hall
Thu. Sep. 22 - Birmingham, UK - Town Hall
Fri. Sep. 23 - Leeds, UK - O2 Academy
Mon. Sep. 26 - London, UK - Eventim Apollo
Thu. Sep. 29 - Nottingham, UK - Royal Concert Hall
Sat. Oct. 01 - Portsmouth - Guildhall
Mon. Oct. 03 - Cardiff, UK - St Davids Hall
Tue. Oct. 04 - Edinburgh, UK - Academy
Wed. Oct. 05 - Newcastle, UK - O2 City Hall
Fri. Oct. 07 - Manchester, UK - O2 Apollo
Sun. Oct. 09 - Dublin, IE - The National Stadium
Fri. Oct. 14 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
Sat. Oct. 15 - Boston, MA - Berklee Performance Center
Mon. Oct. 17 - Philadelphia, PA - Fillmore (seated)
Wed. Oct. 19 - Williamsburg, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg
Thu. Oct. 20 - Port Chester, NY - Capitol Theatre
Fri. Oct. 21 - Washington DC - Lincoln Theatre
Sat. Oct. 22 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
Mon. Oct. 24 - Montreal, QC - Corona Theatre
Tue. Oct. 25 - Toronto, ON - Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Wed. Oct. 26. - Detroit, MI - Royal Oak
Fri. Oct. 28 - Chicago, IL - The Vic Theatre
Sat. Oct. 29 - Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theater
Sun. Oct. 30 - Minneapolis, MN - Fitzgerald Theater
Wed. Nov. 02 Denver, CO - Ogden Theater
Thu. Nov. 03 - Salt Lake City, UT - Eccles Theater
Sun. Nov. 06 - Seattle, WA - The Moore
Mon. Nov. 07 - Vancouver, BC - The Vogue Theatre
Wed. Nov. 09 - San Francisco, CA - Fillmore
Fri. Nov. 11 - Los Angeles, CA - Theatre at the Ace Hotel
Sat. Nov. 12 - El Cajon, CA (San Diego) - Magnolia
Sun. Nov. 13 - Phoenix, AZ - Orpheum Theater
Tue. Nov. 15 - Dallas, TX - Factory Studio (Canton Hall)
Wed. Nov. 16 - Austin, TX - Paramount Theater
Thur. Nov. 17 - Houston, TX - Warehouse Live
Sat. Nov. 19 - Nashville, TN - James K. Polk Theater
Sun. Nov. 20 - Atlanta, GA - The Eastern
Songs Without Jokes is available to preorder now from Sub Pop. LP preorders through megamart.subpop.com, select independent retailers in North America, UK and Europe will received the limited Loser Edition on blue vinyl (while supplies last).
Songs Without Jokes
1. This World
2. If You Wanna Go
3. Dave’s Place
4. Here for You
5. That’s L.A.
6. Up in Smoke
7. Carry On
8. A Little Tune
9. America Goodbye
10. Tomorrow Today
11. Crazy Times