Chris Barber just stopped by the office and laid a hot-off-the-presses, just mastered copy of Mama's eagerly awaited debut, Bayoutopia. Spinning it right now as I write this. Whoa, Mama! Even on cheap computer speakers, this thing freaking smokes. Asked Barber if there's any chance we'll get to experience Mama live. He smiled knowingly as if to acknowledge the seeming improbability of such a query. Surprisingly, though, he said the answer is yes, provided he can convince his brother to sign on, a brother whom Barber describes as musical genius who inspires him -- high praise considering the source. Barber's a bit of a wonder himself. Oh and to perform live, from the sounds of it, they'll also need to enlist a "handler," as Barber put it, to keep a, well, handle on things. I mean, if you've ever met Jeff Leonetti, the ferociously talented frontman, you know his intensity on and off stage is pretty unparalelled. During a vocal take for the album, Barber told me, Leonetti literally passed out in the isolation booth from the sheer amount of passion he injected into his performance. "We heard a thud that sounded like a truck driving through a wall," Barber recalled, "and looked over and saw Leo laying face down." Another time, Leonetti evidently blew the reeds out the back of his harmonica during the solo on "Ghetto Star."
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