Standout Track: No. 3, “Denny and Michelle,” a tale of ’60s infidelity. The song is propelled by Greg Bennett’s bass line, but the Jet Age is a six-string-centric rock trio, and about three minutes in, singer-songwriter-guitarist Eric Tischler gets his moment to tear it up. He describes a stolen moment of passion: “It’s 4 a.m./And we’re all alone/The others have gone to bed/I guess they got too stoned.” The affair ultimately doesn’t go so well, though. “I always knew you’d be/The death of me,” he sings.
Musical Motivation: Ten years ago, Tischler, 36, caught a Behind the Music episode about the Mamas & the Papas. The story of Denny Doherty’s affair with bandmate Michelle Phillips (the wife of fellow Papa John Phillips), which spurred the band’s breakup, stuck with the Silver Spring resident. In the show, he says, you could see Doherty “receding into his brain.…He was still reveling in the memory of it even though it ruined his life.” While the tryst in the song is fiction, Tischler took care to portray Phillips as the seducer because Doherty still seemed “entranced” by her, “which is why I paint him as the victim.”
Bizarre Love Triangulation: Though the Mamas & the Papas led exceptionally dramatic lives, Tischler figures the band’s romantic drama is something we “all identify with—that person who we shouldn’t be with but can’t let go.” This song is “just a stark example of it.” So Tischler can relate to Doherty? “Well, yeah,” he says. He’s mum about details, but he concedes that “fortunately, my life got better.”
The Jet Age plays DC9 on Wednesday, Nov. 14.