Literary legend Stephen King has populated countless dark worlds with indelible characters, but recently the author decided to become one himself – as a doomed talk-radio host transmitting his final broadcast in country-rocker Shooter Jennings' apocalyptic record Black Ribbons. The spoken-word material is interwoven with the sounds of Jennings' band Hierophant throughout the epic album – described as “an electrifying thrill ride across a dense, dark and gloriously decadent musical landscape.” Get the scoop on the origins of Black Ribbons below the fold!
Shooter (son of Country legend Waylon Jennings) and producer Dave Cobb actually completed the genre-busting concept album early last year, but couldn't find the ideal voice actor for the pivotal role of “Will O' The Wisp” – a late-night talk-jock whose indie radio station is about to be blown off the air by government-controlled transmissions. Since Jennings knew King was already a fan of his music (the author had previously referenced him in Lisey's Story), he decided to send King the completed tracks, which convinced him to take on the voice role... even though the two never once met in person.
“Someone who had business contacts with him put us in touch,” Shooter explained, “and I presented my ideas to him through a string of emails we went back and forth about the character and the story of the album.” The two collaborated on the DJ character and his words, with a lot of additional input from King, over a period of several weeks. King finally sent Shooter the finished voice clips (the author titled the collection The Last Night of the Last Light) along with a transcript and a photo of King recording his lines. “It was like a digital correspondence with a spectre from the other side,” Jennings recalls. “Very dark, eerie and profoundly mesmerizing stuff.”
“I was flattered to be asked,” King reports. “I've been a huge Shooter Jennings fan from the very beginning.”
Black Ribbons streets on March 2nd, but in the meantime be sure to check out the first single Wake Up! at Jennings' MySpace.