Yo Ma Ma

When I Leave My Body” is the first single from the upcoming album “Symptomology” by YO MA MA. The video (animated by David Masnato) follows the adventures of Jack #ashtag and Rev. Stevie Nobody, the alter-egos of Jon Tiven and Stephen Kalinich. “Symptomology” and it’s companion album, “Shortcuts to Infinity”, will be released on MS Music in the end of August 2012.



Animated Video For First single, “When I Leave My Body”

You may think you’ve heard everything, but Shortcuts To Infinity and Symtomology will change that perception in a hurry….

SJ Kalinich, Jon Tiven

Nashville, TN:  If one is judged by previous accomplishments, the duo of Stephen John Kalinich and Jon Tiven wouldn’t even have to make a record. Their songs have been sung the world over by Brian Wilson (& the Beach Boys), B.B. King, Paul McCartney, Wilson Pickett, Dennis Wilson, Alex Chilton, P.F. Sloan, and literally hundreds of others. They have been in the maelstrom of creativity with the greatest minds of modern music, and, claims Kalinich, “we only hope something has rubbed off.”

Kalinich has been collaborating with the Beach Boys on their own recordings and solo projects since 1965, and Tiven has been in the studio with Soul, Blues, and Indie rock artists since 1975. In the past year alone, Tiven has shared the stage playing his tenor saxophone with the Alabama Shakes, Warpaint, Plan B, and K Flay as well as baritone guitar with Bettye LaVette, Dylan Leblanc, & Steve Cropper

They met in the early aughts, and in the first five years of their friendship, they wrote two songs. One of these, “Everything’s Exploding” appeared on Stevie’s album California Feeling last year. “Nobody complained about it, so I took that as an empowerment to do more,” Tiven explains, “Stevie and I started writing together more frequently.”

Shortcuts To Infinity
, which is set for release by MsMusic Productions this summer, is not about the past or a couple of geezers resting on their laurels. This pairing of the lyrical brilliance of one of the world’s great transcendental poets with the melodies and chord structures of a master musician was born of inspiration, not just perspiration. Inviting friends like Steve Cropper, Brian May, and Willie Jones to participate was also an inspiration, and rhythm section Cody Dickinson and Sally Tiven provided the kick in the pants to keep it tough.

When they delivered the first five songs to MsMusic’s label president, Carol Schofield, she was so delighted that she requested they expand the project to a two-CD set.

Instead of following the same path, Kalinich and Tiven invented alternate personalities for the second CD, YO MA MA a.k.a. Jack # and Reverend Stevie Nobody. “These are artists of our own invention, so they are limitless,” explains Kalinich, “they can be as brilliant or dim as we design them. Dignity is not a luxury they can afford.” Although there are understandable similarities between the two CDs, Symptomology lays claim to a different mindset. “These are animated characters,” says Tiven, “in their twenties, and unlike Steve and myself, they really don’t have a care. They don’t even care if this record is a success, which Steve and I do.”

Shortcuts to Infinity and Symptomology were mixed by Mark Linett, who also co-produced the albums along with Kalinich and Tiven. Carol Schofield is the executive producer. Linett has engineered and/or produced nearly every Beach Boys/Brian Wilson release over the past twenty-five years, and his recent work on both the Beach Boys’ SMiLE and Brian Wilson’s recording of SMiLE, have received great critical and commercial acclaim. He also co-produced Kalinich’s recent album, California Feeling.

When it came to art for the album cover, Kalinich and Tiven chose Austrian-Irish artist, Gottfried Helnwein, who designed the 2003 Marilyn Manson album cover The Golden Age of Grotesque. The debut video for lead track “When I Leave My Body” appropriately represents the “animated characters” with an animated marvel and was produced by David Masnato. The video, which follows the adventures of Jack #ashtag and Reverend Stevie Nobody, as the duo’s “alter-egos”   has just been released.

So that’s the story, for now…..



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Patti Conte


Jon Tiven

I really don’t think of myself as a singer, primarily I play, write and produce.  But Stevie’s lyrics are so pointed, so out-of-the-ordinary, that I felt no self-consciousness when singing them.  And when  I do, I realize how so much of contemporary music is littered with lyrics that are pure piffle, trite odes to romance that don’t help one comprehend the nature of love.  Stevie’s words are not wordplay, they are serious works that elevate, that challenge the self to find oneself, that challenge the personality to question all its affectations, and I feel very privileged to be able to be his voice and his musical counterpart.  I mean, I’m not half bad myself, I play pretty much every instrument and have my own style on most of them and can hold my own on guitar and sax with anybody.  And my songs have been recorded by a world of greats, from B.B. King and Wilson Pickett to Alex Chilton and Jeff Healey and more recently Ruthie Foster, Leslie West and Dorothy Moore.  I have had over 400 of my songs recorded and released, and I’ve produced my fair share of recordings and changed the trajectory of artists’ careers (for the better).

But now we’re the center attraction.  Have you seen YO MA MA baby, we’re not standing in the shadow.

Jon Tiven

We asked David Masnato a few questions about his involvement  in the project:

How did you come to make the video:

Stevie and Jon got in touch with me after seeing some work I did for a

band called Pinegrove.  I’m friends with Jon’s daughter and we’re both

friends with the members of Pinegrove so everyone knew each other in

some way or another.  Jon and Stevie briefed me on the concept of the

album and who they wanted these characters to be and I said “Let’s do


What inspired you:

I think one of the most inspiring things about this project was the

fact that I would have never made anything like this on my own.  I

have my own solo work that I do but I feel like this is very different

from that thematically.  I had to step out of my comfort zone and try

some new things which I think inspired the concept of the video.  I’ve

wanted to make something like “When I Leave My Body”, but I needed an

outlet that made sense to try some of these things.

What was it like working with Stevie and Jon:

At first I was surprised that they wanted me to do this because it

seemed so random, but as they began talking about their ideas for the

song and their ambitions for the album, it came together as a really

natural fit.  It just all of a sudden appeared to be a very obvious

collaboration.  They were excited, enthusiastic, and patient, about

the process all the way through.  I’m open to working on most

projects, but the key thing that determines whether or not I want to

sign on is how much the people I’m working with believe in what they

are making.  Jon and Stevie clearly wanted to make this happen so it

was awesome.

Who do you like musically:

Right now I’ve been really into an album by an artist named Cold

Specks.  It just came out and I’m very impressed with it.  I’ve also

been listening to a lot of Dirty Projectors lately because they have a

new album on the way that I’m excited to hear.  I have bands that I

can always go to if I don’t know what else to listen to, but when

people ask me this question I tend to answer with what is blowing my

mind at that moment.  I don’t like to get stuck on any specific band

or album or genre or time period.