John Cameron Mitchell, the multi-hyphenate behind Hedwig And The Angry Inch, has announced an epic benefit album he produced in lockdown alongside an incredible and diverse team artists. Called New American Dream, the two-part project finds Mitchell collaborating with more than 40 different musicians, from pop producer Leland (Selena Gomez, Troye Sivan) and Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Alynda Segarra to Ezra Furman, Our Lady J, and Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart. The first part arrives this Friday, September 4, with the second to drop on November 6.
“New American Dream is a lockdown-inspired remotely-organized platonic musical orgy,” Mitchell says in a statement. “The idea started in March during self-isolation in a 100 year-old stone hut near Palm Springs. I encouraged screen/songwriter Our Lady J to send me a piano track over which I wrote the melody/lyrics to ‘See You Again,’ a tribute to the homeless during the pandemic. It went so well that I reached out to a variety of musical friends who sent me their own tracks which I could write to. I even contacted a stranger in the South of France, Izae, on Instagram because I liked his cover of a Hedwig song and we ended up writing two songs for the album.”
He continues: “Like the old story about the Stone Soup, where strangers throw whatever food item they possessed into a communal pot —old friends and new donated music, vocals, overdubs, mixing, mastering, video production, art and publicity. Soon I realized we had a double album that could benefit the various charities that I’ve been helping through this dark time with Hedwig merch sales and Cameo videos. The whole experience has been such a comfort to us and we hope others will feel it too and add to the pot for the benefit of those in need.”
Below, watch Matthew Zanfagna’s funny (and disgusting) video for the title track, which finds Mitchell envisioning a vulgar strain of “golden vomit” as it courses through the rotten guts of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. As you’d expect from a Mitchell joint, it’s rich in humor, drama, and swagger.
New American Dream, which also features Hedwig co-creator Stephen Trask and musical director Justin Craig, can be preordered at Bandcamp. All proceeds will benefit Burritos Not Bombs, the Transgender Gender-Variant and Intersex Justice Project, and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Trust Fund. Learn more about the album at its official website.