Grammy-nominated quintet My Morning Jacket are acclaimed for their vibrant energy as performers, but on November 22nd the band will be animated in a much more literal form when they appear in an episode of FOX’s hit show “American Dad.” Titled “My Morning Straightjacket,” the episode will feature 6 MMJ songs spanning their 10-year catalogue, and the band will be guest-voicing as themselves. Comedian Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover, “Bored to Death”) will be featured as a super-fan. To commemorate the episode, ATO Records will release a digital EP on iTunes including the 6 featured tracks and selected dialogue clips taken from the show.
The concept behind the episode was conceived by “American Dad” co-creator Mike Barker, who tells the story of how it all came together in the Q&A below:
How did you first discover My Morning Jacket?
One of my writers, Matt Fusfeld, turned me onto them. He played “Bermuda Highway” for me in the office one day and I was instantly transfixed.
How’d this collaboration come about? Who seduced who?
“Who seduced who?” That makes it sound like this game is already over. Look, this isn’t over until halfway through a live performance of Steam Engine, Jim reaches into the audience and pulls me up on stage like I’m a pre-cougar Courtney Cox.
But if I might be professional for a moment, the word “seduction” implies that there has been some sort of manipulation on either my part or the band’s, when in fact, it’s the two art forms themselves – Writing and Music, that sought each other out. In the end, we are all just instruments of the Goddess of Art. I’m not sure who that is, but in my head she looks exactly like Scarlett Johanssen.
You’re not being very specific…
Honestly, it was an organic evolution. I was at Bonnaroo in the summer of 2008, watching MMJ play their guts out in the rain at 4 a.m. when the idea for the episode struck me. I pitched the idea to the guys the next day and thankfully they were on board.
What makes My Morning Jacket a good fit for American Dad?
The best band in the world appearing on the 59th top-rated show on television? It’s a no-brainer.
What is the spirit of the episode that features the band?
I guess you’d call it a quest. A “hero’s journey” as Joseph Campbell coined the term in his now-classic autobiography, Thick Enough to Eat Me With A Fork: Growing Up a Campbell in the Halcyon Days of Canned Soups.
Which character is the biggest My Morning Jacket Fan?
You’ll have to watch the episode to find out! But I’ll give you a hint: it’s not Francine, Steve, Hayley, Roger, or Klaus.
Did the band have input on how they were animated?
We gave the band customary consultation and they signed off on all of the artwork we ran by them. It’s always tricky animating real people. Because you’re not just animating them to resemble who they are in real life, you also have to make sure they resemble characters that live in the American Dad universe, and that carries with it a whole host of challenging parameters for our animators. But I think our character designers did a great job at capturing Jim and the guys.
If Kiss is the semi-official Family Guy band, does that mean My Morning Jacket is the semi-official American Dad band?
Hell, let’s just make them the official band.
Tune in to “American Dad” November 22nd on FOX!