Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


End of Love Tracks at Ardent Studios in Memphis

Jay Deegan and Irwin Menken Reunite with Big Star’s Jody Stephens

Pictured at Ardent Studios in Memphis are (L-R) Irwin Menken, bass; Jody Stephens, drums; Pete Matthews, engineer, and Jay Deegan, guitar.

A chance NYC meeting by Irwin Menken, founder of the group End of Love, and Jody Stephens, founding drummer of Big Star, has led to the rebirth of the band End of Love. Tracking has already begun at Ardent Studios in Memphis, where Stephens is studio manager.

The first meeting took place while Menken was on a 2012 international tour with the Lee Ranaldo Band. “I’ve been a Big Star fan for a long time,” explained Menken, “and when I met Jody while on the road with Lee last year I knew that if I got the chance I would love to work with him.”

End of Love was initially formed by Jay Deegan, Irwin Menken and Jennifer Groves in the early 2000’s. The original material developed by the group was played in New York City clubs between 2002 and 2005 and the band gained a significant following among local club goers. In 2005, the band members went their separate ways to work on other projects.

In 2007, Menken met Lee Ranaldo from Sonic Youth because their sons had become friends at school. For several years Irwin and Lee saw each other at Little League games, took the boys skiing, and in general became friends, discussing music and spending time together with their families.

In 2011, Ranaldo asked Menken to come into the studio and cut some demos for his forthcoming solo album, “Between the Times and the Tides.” The demos went well and Menken returned to the studio to contribute bass parts for the majority of the album. At that point Ranaldo asked Menken to tour with him after the album’s release the following year.

From October, 2011 to August, 2012, Menken contributed bass and backing vocals to the Lee Ranaldo Band while on tour throughout Europe, playing a variety of festivals and club shows, and in the U.S. opening for both M. Ward and Wilco.

Upon returning home, Menken reassembled the End of Love team and with new material began to plan for an album. Menken drew upon his experiences and contacts on the road with Ranaldo and reached out to Jody Stephens of Big Star fame to play drums. Also joining the project are Wilco guitarist Nels Cline and John Stirratt, Wilco’s bassist, who contributes both as a player and as producer. Plans call for Ranaldo to guest on the album.

The album has been recorded in both New York and Memphis with sessions taking place at Room 17 in Brooklyn and mixed by Ted Young, who has mixed both of Lee Ranaldo’s most recent solo albums as well as Kurt Vile’s most recent album. The Memphis sessions were engineered by Pete Matthews at the famed Ardent Studios in Memphis with Jody Stephens on drums.

“I ran into Jody again in New York this year,” explained Menken, ” just as this project was coming together, so we were able to do it. The tracks sound great and an added bonus was to to record at Ardent in the same rooms used to cut the iconic Big Star classic ‘Number 1 Record.’ The folks at Ardent did a great job and really made the recording experience very powerful.”

Learn more about End of Love here:

Ardent Studios officially got its start in 1966, when the operation moved from John Fry’s home studio to a commercial space on National Street in Memphis. From there it was only a matter of time until nearly every artist on the Stax Records roster made their way through the doors. Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Sam & Dave, and Booker T & The MGs all made hit records at Ardent. The success continued through the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s into the new millennium with hits for Big Star, ZZ Top, The Replacements, Joe Cocker, REM, Soundgarden, Gin Blossoms, The White Stripes, and many more. For nearly five decades, Ardent has stayed at the cutting edge of recording technology, and currently features four full service studios with top of the line digital and analog capabilities, able to handle any and all recording needs.

Learn more at: