Tycoon Machete is a Salt Lake City musical and artistic collective formed in 2003 as part of a protest against the America’s slide into war and narcissism. It is the brainchild of singer-songwriter J. P. Whipple and producer-drummer, James Perry. Together with several guest musicians including current member, keyboardist Sean McCarthy, they released the album Plug and Play Messiah in 2004. The album was a dark howl against the dark waves of paranoia and delusion rising up in the electric currents of the new Digital Age.
Plug and Play Messiah
During the intervening decade, J. P. Whipple lived as a homeless and barefoot musical monk. He toured throughout the US and into Western Europe. He made the meagerist of living as a one man band and spent most of his downtime squatting in the deserts and forests of the American West. He composed a new catalog of songs that reflected on the angst of an increasingly marginalized American experience, deeply divided along economic and political lines, that he worked out in the naked dirt of the American wilderness. Living largely cut off from the excesses of the Information Age, those compositions carried a visceral quality reflective of pre-World War 2 blues and mountain music while reflecting darkly on the contemporary world.
Thinking of You... Staring at the Power Lines
In 2014, Tycoon Machete reformed and released the critically acclaimed Thinking of You… Staring at the Power Lines featuring many of Whipple’s “wilderness” compositions. The album featured strong roots and psychedelic elements which the band began to bring to their live shows. They released a second album, Moab, the following winter featuring many of Whipple’s country and folk songs. The band has been performing regularly since 2014 mostly throughout Utah and Idaho.
Currently, the line-up includes Salt Lake City artist Erin Stout who plays washboard, musical saw, Theremin, and bass guitar. Another of Whipple’s long time collaborators, Hollace McMeirce (aka. “Filthy McWhisky”) joined the band in 2015 bringing in the same Middle East inspired elements that he brought to Whipple’s 2009 album, Bible Milk, and their subsequent world tour.