"As man paves a new history / rescued from the brink of despair / our loving hearts can mend fatigued relationships / in need of repair." In these highly charged, socio-political times, New York native and multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter P.J. O’Connor believes that we’re going to overcome it all together and that love will, indeed, save the day.
Television’s Golden Age, O’Connor’s first solo album, is a collection of songs that not only reveal the depth of his bright yet intimate songwriting, but also the soulful heart beating behind New York City’s chaotic, gritty exterior. Having been the drummer and percussionist for a variety of wildly popular and cult-status bands in the 90s (The Bogmen, Radio 4) as well as a seasoned session/tour musician for seminal alternative artists such as Gordan Gano (Violent Femmes), he felt compelled to chronicle his own observations at this very unique time in history.
As a whole, the songs on Television’s Golden Age are a gloriously quirky combo of fun and melancholy that swirl around an emotional depth comparable to the mossy spiritual sunshine of Van Morrison’s Moondance. Originally hailing from Long Island, O’Connor’s own Irish roots and strong familial ties lead him to travel across Ireland on his own in the mid-aughts, busking in local pubs around the country while weaving together new songs and experiences. "Summer Squall" and "Your Vision" were birthed there, along with the album’s intense closer, "Stop To Smell The Rose" – a minor-key dirge that sweetly swings into a lilting chorus and implores the listener to “learn to let it go, life keeps moving fast”. Gratitude, inner growth, and an overwhelming sense of grace permeate both his songwriting and his outlook on life with a shimmering intensity that is both visceral and sensually palpable.
Upon return to the States, O’Connor confronted the wreckage and memories of his past, including the death of his mother on Christmas Day in 2017 and even 9/11, where he lost many friends. Always the optimist, instead of leaning towards a more brooding darkness in his creative output, he worked to infuse the songs with the highest version of himself while channeling his pain into positivity. Even O’Connor’s old apartment on Christopher Street near New York City’s West Side Highway proved inspiring, as “You Burned Your Name” documents some of the city’s more nefarious activities around his abode. Pimps, pushers, johns, along with an assortment of colorful local characters populate this Tom Waits-like hustler’s utopia that proved to be the perfect vehicle for a duet with female vocalist, Little Embers. The first single and video, “Indecisive Moon”, also mirrors his love affair with The Big Apple as he playfully spins a cozy, vintage-noir yarn into an unforgettable blanket of warm sentiment and artful romanticism.
Produced by O’Connor’s erstwhile bandmate, Vic Thrill (aka Billy Campion), the album boasts Jeff Buckley’s former drummer Parker Kindred, bassist Brad Truax (Interpol, Cass McCombs), brothers Billy and Brendan Ryan (Gordon Gano) on guitar and keyboards respectively, and Grammy®-nominated Leslie Mendelson on backing vocals (Jackson Browne). Television’s Golden Age is slated to release this fall and he hopes to share his joyful, catchy jams while playing with his longtime backing band, Fine Arab Chargers. Additionally, two compositions from the album have been licensed to the CBS television shows NCIS: Los Angeles and INSTIИCT.
O’Connor periodically continues to work with his pals from The Bogmen, who were previously featured in the film We Will Go To Them Tonight, a documentary that chronicled their emotional, fanatically received sold-out reunion show in New York that benefitted the 9/11 charity Kristy Smiles. The Bogmen were signed to Arista Records and their first album, Life Begins at 40 Million, was produced by Jerry Harrison from Talking Heads. O’Connor’s time with dance-punk band Radio 4 produced two albums and tours with LCD Soundsystem, !!! (chk-chk-chk), and a slot at the CBGB Festival in New York.