Speaking on Mr. Chocolate, Sax states, “When my all time favorite artist, David Bowie passed, I decided there is no better time to be as wildly creative as when you’re still alive. I quickly wrote the songs for Mr. Chocolate and I reached out to a couple of neighbors of mine (who happen to be former Wilco drummer Ken Coomer and Bob Dylan’s former guitarist John Jackson) and said ‘we’re sixteen years old.”
An album of six still-ink-wet songs was recorded in two days in Coomer’s Nashville studio.
During the sessions, Coomer asked, “what’s the name of the band?” Sax quickly drew a cartoon of himself as a sixteen year old on a scrap piece of paper and wrote Mr. Chocolate on his nametag. “That’s the band.”
“Anytime my entire life, when a sentence started off with David Bowie it was always the most exciting sentence. It meant David Bowie is going to be on TV Saturday night, David Bowie has a new record coming out. David Bowie on TV was my Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Before I even knew why, I was absolutely entranced. My older brother met him in 1974 checking into a hotel in Philadelphia and got an autograph that said, “love on ya, David Bowie,” Sax explains.
“I grew up with adults as my older brother was seven years older than me. I listened to Space Oddity – I listened to freaky, bisexual, deep wild albums. When John Lennon died I remember thinking the only upside to that was that ‘death can’t be too bad, he’s there.’ When Bowie died I remember thinking ‘you only get one shot, even David Bowie can die’ and I knew it was time to act. I wanted to write something that made me feel like David Bowie did when I was a kid.” Thus, Mr. Chocolate was created with six new songs for Sax’s first solo recording since relocating to Nashville in 2014.
“When I brought the guys in we recorded everything live. Instead of playing guitar, I play a lot of weird keyboards – little Moogs,” says Sax. I wanted Wes Montgomery to have some jazzy guitar on the track and I didn’t know how to do it myself. So I called John Jackson and the album was born.”
The songs that comprise Mr. Chocolate draw inspiration from David Bowie and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Sax incorporates strange synthesizer sounds, big, fuzzy guitars with melodic bass lines and grooving drums on Mr. Chocolate’s debut. Lyrically, his songs touch on fatherhood, “Two Under Two,” lost friendship, “Not Gonna Hate You Anymore” and the current state of the world through the lens of an adolescent with, “The World is a Teenage Bedroom.”
In the last three years alone, Sax has made the documentary “Platinum Rush,” published his children’s book The Mosquito and The Bumble Bee, started a podcast with neighbor and songwriter Steve Poltz, relocated from Philadelphia to Nashville with his singer/cardiologist wife Suzie Brown and become a dad to Josephine and Chloe.