Long before he owned and operated Randy’s—the Toledo, Ohio alternative culture pioneer legendary for the wired rolling paper, Black Label liquid cleaner, and other smoking accessories—Brian Nupp was knee-deep in the music world. At 16 years old, he started playing bass in his brother’s band, Peat Moss (they still get together every year to write and record), and it’s continued with some consistency over the last three decades.
“I seem to be on a pattern of a new album every five years at this point,” Nupp tells Headquest.
The latest is called Mr. Time, and it’s kind of a greatest hits of a few decades of Nupp’s life. He says these songs “didn’t have a home, so I finished them up and gave them one” with the album. And the result is an imminently listenable collection of lo-fi pop, melodic nuggets that nod to bands like The Zombies, Super Furry Animals, and The Kinks.
“I listened to a lot of Robyn Hitchcock, The Monochrome Set and other cult indie 80’s artists,” Nupp says of his inspiration. “Many of these songs were written when I was listening to a lot of Syd Barrett.”
It’s a funny thing, putting out an album of songs that were slowly developed over close to 30 years. Nupp says that’s a little thing we call what happens when life gets in the way.
“Once you hop on the merry-go-round of life, it gets increasingly harder to get off as you get older,” he explains. “It just doesn’t stop. In fact, it goes faster with time—and often you get comfortable and you don’t want to get off.”
On the production side, Nupp recruited legendary rocker and knob twiddler Chris Stamey, known for his time in The dB’s, as well as his production work for Pylon, Le Tigre, Whiskeytown, and Alejandro Escovedo.
“I’ve been a huge fan of Chris Stamey since I heard The dB’s in the late 80’s,” Nupp says. “I used to email Chris technical questions years ago when he would guest write for Tape Op Magazine, but I doubt he remembers that. A couple years ago I pledged to his Song Book album in exchange for him mixing one of my songs which ended up being the title track Mr. Time. His mix was so fresh and creative compared to what I envisioned the mix to be. After that I approached him to work on the rest of the album. He’s a master of his craft and very professional.”
Now that he’s gotten Mr. Time out into the world, Nupp stands at an impasse. Will it be five years until the next album? Maybe a few decades and then another greatest hits? Will he climb back aboard the merry-go-round of life and find himself so comfortable once again that music takes a backseat? Not likely.
“What I really want to make is a synth pop album, but I’m not the best at making synth pop!” Nupp muses. “I have one sort of half-made, so there’s that and another Peat Moss album in the works. Also, I regularly spontaneously write and record songs as a brain dump to clear my head. I have dozens of songs from this exercise. I might work some of these into an album someday.”