Pete Yorn bringing back old-school sounds 

On the surface, it looked like a particularly long period of inactivity for Pete Yorn. Five years have elapsed since the pop-punker’s last solo album, 2010’s Frank-Black-produced “Pete Yorn.” But he’s actually been busy. He got married, set up household in the Santa Monica mountains, and spent lots of alone time in the family’s retreat in Palm Desert. He also formed a side project, The Olms, which issued a self-titled debut album in 2013. “Now I’m putting the finishing touches on a brand new record, that I’m incredibly excited about,” he says. He’ll road-test the material in The City this week.

For years, you were a confirmed bachelor. Has your songwriting viewpoint changed?

I got married four years ago, she’s my best friend, and we’re always together. But I’m not writing about the glory of love or anything like that. A lot of my songs were from an observational standpoint, and they still originate from that. And she hears everything I do, but she’s not like, “Oh, play that one song again! I really want to hear it!” She was never a fan or anything, so she doesn’t really care. She’s just a very cool gal.

But you’ve definitely matured on the new material, right?

Yeah. My last four records that I’ve been involved with – including The Olms record – were all different kinds of collaborations for me. But that ultimately made me want to go back and work the way I first started working, with just me playing a lot of the instruments and working with Walt Vincent, just old school. I wanted to make something with that classic sound.

And “Lost Weekend” is one of the new songs?

Yes, and there’s a line in it, “Straight outta suburbia, straight outta the basement.” When I grew up in New Jersey, my biggest musical moments were in my suburban basement, having my older brothers (Rick and Kevin Yorn, who became a talent agent and an entertainment lawyer, respectively) play Iron Maiden and Judas Priest covers in their band. I was seven years old, they were already in high school, and I was like, “This is the coolest thing, ever!”

And you wrote over 40 songs for this project?

Yeah. And it was hard, cutting it down to what’s going to tell the story for this record. So I cracked the code on that, and settled on songs like “Halifax,” “Shopping Mall,” “She Was Weird” and “Summer Was a Day.” And there’s one called ‘Roses’ that I like a lot. It seems to be about drugs and unrequited first love, but I’d hate to get in the way of what a song might mean to somebody else.


Pete Yorn

Where: Independent, 628 Divisadero St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. April 29

Tickets: $30

Contact: (415) 771-1421,

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Tom Lanham

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