Syntax Issue 10
Denver Syntax

The story begins in England.

A young American boy, living in London with his parents, is taking the bus to school. Every day the bus passes by a tiny music shop. In the façade of the tiny store is a giant window. And in that window is a drum kit. Every day that boy’s bus drives past that store front and, those drums. And every day that boy’s eyes ache and lean ever the heavier, toward that store front.

This is the provenance where Jim McTurnan and music began courting one another.

Fast forward to the age of sixteen and now we are in Houston, Texas. McTurnan got that drum kit. Now he and music had been dating, seriously, for a couple of years. There is talk of marriage. The romance is thick in the sticky Texas air where here, McTurnan sits on his drum throne, directing his school age band as they slip into the city every week to open for old rock stars whose legs are no longer seaworthy.

For a lot of his life Jim McTurnan has moved, from England to Texas to Colorado to Boston and back to Colorado where he now lives and works as a lawyer. And, a musician.

Jim McTurnan & the Kids that Killed the Man (which is known to be composed of an all-star cast of supporting musicians: Josh Wambeke - bass; John Fate - drums, vocals; Nathan Brasil - guitar, vocals, tambourine; Joseph Pope III - guitar, vocals; Mike Marchant - guitar, vocals) is the new turn in the road for McTurnan. His life long drive for surmounting challenges and pushing at every fold in his musical lexicon has led him here to this project. His project. His sound. His band.

Created out of the ashes of well-received Denver act CAT-A-TAC, McTurnan & the Kids is, in large part, the culmination of so many years of playing with sounds. It is, in one part, that picture of the kid in the bus and the drum kit and the classic rock n’ roll sound. It is, in another part, a big, bullying sound that took its cue from everything that has followed those golden years in rock n’ roll. While there is something sweet in McTurnan’s vocals and lyrics – there is also something a bit nasty. It is the picture of a kid that has pushed himself into so many challenges, emotionally, intellectually and geographically that he really knows how far he can fall. And right now, in the middle of this song? His bottom lip is jutted out. The tornado isn’t really that bad… Seriously, just hum along – this song…

After CAT-A-TAC, McTurnan’s post-college band, a band that received some notable attention in the Queen City – McTurnan, by decree of his genetic disposition to challenge himself even more, strove to put together a more serious act. This, for McTurnan, is finally the kind of act that he’s been aiming at for all these years.

With CAT-A-TAC and their self-starter collective label, Needlepoint, McTurnan learned a great deal about what is really involved in the business of music. He learned how to get radio play and promotion. He learned how to be smart about album releases. He learned about distribution and how to gain the most longevity out of every note. And now, he’s standing on his plateau with the exact and great musicians that he’s always wanted - right behind him. These are the kind of kids that McTurnan wants in his army: those that will push as hard as they can, do push as hard as they can and are simply just hungry to play. And it shows on-stage.

Live, McTurnan & the Kids are a battering torrent of sound. The enthusiasm and love is apparent. Where they seem to drop and dip their guitars in the explosion of the crashing cymbals is in an authentic place – a place where they aren’t reaching for something too far beyond themselves; and more than anything they’re probably just reaching further into the song.

In all, the project feels as though McTurnan has always wanted music to feel like: home. For when you have spent so many formative years moving back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean like he did – music was the one mainstay. It was the one cohesive element in his growing pains. And now, it’s home. Music is where McTurnan live and breathes and takes a break from the legal world. This is where McTurnan becomes infected and paralyzed by the world around him – in the middle of a muddy music Monday.

When you begin your infections, your near-illnesses so far back in your life – when you were just a kid on a bus – you can then begin to write the kind of story that most only read in books. For Jim McTurnan this story began in a sacred place and as a result, it has only pushed him forward to, if nothing else, being just a fan of music – that one thing that he has obsessed about since his early years.

For this author, the story of Jim McTurnan is the story of falling so in love with something that you have no other choice apart from, even on the worst of days, to find a way to step inside that love; to not only be as close to that love as you can but push your body straight through, into and then beyond that which both you love and simply just have to have.

With a new album set to release this year, McTurnan and the Kids are set to employ all of their military tactics in a push toward where their middle is. By all accounts, this will be album that everybody will know about. This will be an album that is strategically placed in the right waters before it sails downstream to the coasts.

Stay tuned to the drive forward, here: www.myspace.com/jimmcturnan