Meet the band

Our EP "Titmouse!" is Streaming on all Platforms

New Psychedelic Rock from San Anselmo, California

The blissful and funky quartet of Chili Corder (g) Parker Grant (k),  Stacy Starkweather (b), and Jared Baird (d) make music inspired by the west coast jam pioneers of the 70's and soul jazz revivalists of the 90's and aughts. 


Setlist Peri's 7.5.23

Little Birdie
Deaf Persistence
The Herbarium of Dora Sylvester
Fire Eater
China Cat Sunflower -> I Know You Rider

Also Sprach Zarathustra
Harold Imperiled
Space Is the Place 
The Reverie
Any Major Dude
Night After Night

Jan Jan 




Our Story

From the Cockpit 8.2.23 




“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair."  - Charles Dickens 


“It's about the chicken.” - Harold Imperiled


On a fine, seasonal night in Fairfax, the newly branded Harold Imperiled quintet presented an ambitious music set. Two sets, actually. The first was characterized by original music by me, Chili, and Titmouse co-parent René Planchon:   Little Birdie, The Herbarium of Dora Sylvester, Island, Leaving for the Coast, Deaf Persistence, Esme´, In a Silent Funk, Night After Night, At the Water's Edge, and Sweet Eliza. That's 5 original debuts. Whew! While lacking polish, the music was fresh and and to the ears of one listener, “moody” and “indie.” Stylistically diverse, they are the projected tunes on a record we plan to make this year, and it was cool to share them for the first time. It was a “song-forward” set with jams emerging only on the Vince Guaraldi opener and in the chromatic puzzle, In a Silent Funk. Ok, Esmé had a short jam too.  The crowd hung with us through the set of music that must've seemed strange to their ears. Hopefully, one day, it will all sound sweet and familiar. 

For the second set, we activated the “Imperiled" aspect of our new name, launching the funk jam with Also Sprach Zarathustra and a cracking Caravan. Our new addition, Rafa, on trumpet, shone in this format and displayed an uncanny connection with Parker Grant's Rhodes work. If knew more about harmony, I could tell you what they were doing, but it was cool AF.  Don't take my word for it, though…

The place was grooving hard as we careened through Miles' It's About That Time, Titmouse tune, The Reverie, Jan Jan,  and Bowie's Fame. The crowd wanted one more, so we gave them a soul jam Dear Prudence to close out the night. If you stopped reading and checked out the YouTube link above, you would know that the game ball goes to monster bassist and Friend of Finnish Food, Stacy Starkweather. Without question. So funky. 

After the show, I was struck by something extraordinary: there is no band I know in Marin that can do precisely what we do. Our dual nature, the complex and idiosyncratic songwriting on the one hand, and legit acid jazz on the other. Harold Imperiled is a one-of-one. 

It was an appropriate cap on what will be our last first Wednesday. We're all educators by day, and these weeknight shenanigans only really work during the summer. So we will throw one more community party on August 12th on the Patio 4-6 pm. Please come by and revel with us!

Community Holler 

An obvious warm holler to our friendly and expressive openers, Migrant Pickers. Gary and Mark are just terrific people and set a great tone for the night.

Great to Tangled And Free friends, Susan and Matt. Susan paid enough attention to our second tune, The Herbarium of Dora Sylvester to send me this incredible piece about Emily Dickinson. Did she know that I have taught Dickinson extensively (and never knew about her botany) and Parker Grant, our most literary Rhodes player, is a big fan? Thanks, Susan!

My nearest neighbor up the hill from Fairfax, Abrahm, a no-joke environmental journalist, was on hand and offered a great perspective on our project. We need to do more night hikes, Abrahm! 

It's so cool to see our community out at these shows. 



From the Cockpit 7.8.23 

The Specter of the Dead

Billy Strings, a rising (risen?) figure in the jam band/jam grass scene recently made waves by explaining his decision not to cover the Grateful Dead in live performances with his band thus: “Just too many pigs on the teet (sic)." That by itself is controversial--especially here in NorCal, where some of the very best musicians make their living covering the Dead, and the fans clamor for it. It feels complex given what's going down this week in the Bay regarding the Grateful Dead: Phil Lesh's sons just resurrected the Terrapin Crossroads banner for a day of music and family fun at a beautiful local park (Aside: it was great fun and should happen more often). Around 15 terrific musicians--many of them local heroes of mine like Joe Bagale, Scott Guberman, and Reed Mathis--did the crowd right and delivered gems from the best of the catalog, IMO: Deal and China/Rider (which we cover),  Bertha, They Love Each Other, and the mighty Terrapin Station suite. But the big fish, Dead and Co., rolls into town this weekend to wrap up a tour/experience that is itself controversial, employing only two of the original members. Clubs throughout SF have lined up the requisite afterparties, again employing local musicians who make their living covering the Dead.

Why does this matter to Titmouse? Titmouse was born out of a nostalgia René Planchon and I had for our high school rock band Flood and the Dead and Phish shows we caught in the early to mid-90s. It was the unparalleled songwriting team of Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia that inspired our EP, and we still share clips of Jerry tearing it up because it's probably the most magical American musical thing we can imagine. 

And that's the rub. The music is too good to be left alone. While some may hide their own songwriting behind the majesty of Brokedown Palace, I think most musicians recognize the unique relationship playing the music creates with the audience and with the other band members and simply play the music we all want to be a part of. While there are no doubt grifters and cynics who see money signs in the hopeful, sparkling, glazed eyes of the faithful, the spirit of the whole enterprise is alive in the music and is much bigger than any individual in the scene including the original cats. So, Titmouse will continue to play good ol' Grateful Dead music if and when the spirit is right and give it its proper respect. 

Community Holler!

The game ball and big-time community shout-out goes to bassist Matt Kanter. Illness pulled Chili away from the gig, and Timmy was down to move to guitar if we could only get a sub on bass. After several frantic calls, including an unsent IG message to Reed Mathis--desperation and irrational hope in equal measure--I showed up to friend Angeline Saris's Snack Machine celebration of Women in Music, and there was my guy, Matt sitting up front. Because of course he was. A few minutes later, I had my guy. I should also note that Matt plays the GD like a MF'er, and I was pumped to throw down a China/Rider with him. But he also came up big on my tune Night After Night with zero prep. I look forward to more collaborations with him.


A delightful short clip of us showed up on FB 


Parker's mom, Amy, was in attendance with her friend Bob. It was sweet that he played exceptionally well for her. 


We're back inside August 2nd with a nearly all-original set and the debut of Rafa Postel, trumpeter and format bandmate of mine. We're also pumped to have Migrant Pickers open the night, starting at 6:45. This one's gonna be hot!


From the Cockpit 7.5.23 

Any Major Dude Will Tell You


If a band slays and there's no one to hear it, does it make a sound? Last night was one of those nights that can either drive you crazy or give you hope for the future. The band played lights out--I mean one of the very best Esmés ever performed, two successful debuts of original tunes (Chili's Deaf Persistence and my Herbarium of Dora Sylvester), and a rocking China→Rider for all our Dead enthusiasts. But for all the extraordinary playing, only a handful of folks witnessed it. We know it won't always be this way, and we remind ourselves that these quiet monthly Wednesdays are a terrific place to develop our identity.

Small crowd notwithstanding, I was very chatty last night. One of our staunchest supporters, James Hughes, told me to provide context for the tunes--especially new ones--so the audience could connect to them as stories. So I probably went too far and talked about everything from my first Dead show to my wife, Michelle's grandmother, to Idris Muhammad, an inspiration of mine. Chili jumped on board and gave a hilariously dark account of the origins of his tune Deaf Persistence. Dostoevsky dark. 

We tried some new arrangements of The Reverie (Parker soloed the theme on Rhodes, then brought the band in) and Night After Night (I sang the first verse rubato). Both moves added nice new textures to the tunes and highlighted our dynamic range. This band can do soooo much; the challenge is to make space for it. 

Speaking of Space, we returned to Space is the Place as a second set free jazz feature. That's where the incredible listening and group interplay shines. Timmy has the best ears in the business IMO, and it's such a pleasure to improvise with him. We used The Reverie as our landing pad in a jam move reminiscent of the Dead and Phish. Parker shared a passage from pianist Brad Mehldau's autobiography describing his own Dead Head background and the strategy he perceives behind Drums/Space in the second set. The audience (if there is one!) goes out on its furthest limb late in the show, often coinciding with a peak psychedelic experience. But they must be brought back with something both joyous and “knowing.” The Reverie is about being brought back from a type of fever dream, so it works like a charm in that slot.

Community Shout Outs

First mention goes to Dan Albers, my bassist friend and former classmate in Tibetan language translation.  He made the trip down from Jenner and brought his Tascam; we will soon have a high-quality recording of the first set to share. 

Damon, a local fan who "likes our sound," came to his second First Wednesday. Always great to see people turned on by the tunes! There was a new fan who came by on his way to karaoke and ended up staying for most of our set. I forget his name, but he and I cooked up an idea of live band karaoke. 

But the game ball goes to Claire, a local Fairfax live music aficionado, who saved the night by bringing her Australian friends to hear “the great music Fairfax has to offer on a weeknight," and dancing through much of our second set. In a magical moment, we called Steely Dan's Any Major Dude Will Tell You, and one of our international guests shared that they had that very tune stuck in their heads earlier that day. It's a rare cut! There was some synchronicity in the air. 


We're back at Peri's on the patio this Saturday 4-6:30 pm. We'll share the setlist for that in advance so people can show up ready to join the fun. And we're back inside on August 2nd with more new music. 


Till then,







From the Cockpit 6.18.23 

“Don't take it too seriously” - Michelle Baird, guru

Wheeeeeee! That was hella fun. 

But, it didn't start that way. Not only was the Richmond Bridge backed up, preventing Stacy from getting to the gig, but the venue itself was closed and locked when we arrived. Apparently, there had been a power outage all along Broadway in Fairfax, but it turns out there was a larger miscommunication about the start time of our gig. Remembering Michelle's sage advice from earlier that day, I jumped the wall onto the patio and, well, let ourselves in.

The upshot of going rogue was that we initially didn't have any PA support and were resigned to playing the show instrumental. But just then, our first supporter, Aidan Nelson, arrived. Our fortunes were changing. Not only was Aidan my student in my first year at Marin Academy, but he is also a master of pro sound (not to mention a thrilling guitarist with Walking Mirrors). Without hesitation, he helped set up what there was of a PA and mixed us once we got started. It was a big save, and so the game ball goes to him.

The music was out of this world. Opening with our greasy funk jazz staple, Jan Jan, we simply got down to it. Another strong version of Esmé, and we finally nailed Island--or at least it was finally sounding like a proper live song. It's so cool with its intricate parts and challenging vocal melody, but Chili and I found some real harmony, and the feel was good. Parker was his weird best on the Talking Heads' Swamp, and folks outside the glass wall were REALLY into it. Love to see it.

This was our first “open rehearsal” try-on, and we opened the door to a gifted guest guitarist, Josh McHugh, for an unrehearsed China Cat Sunflower/I Know You Rider. My vocals had all the roughness of a first pass, but the jam was an instant classic. Josh and Stacy made an immediate musical connection, taking us to new heights. Further, Chili surprised us all by pulling out--and slaying on--the fiddle. What!?!? I hope there is a video of it. It just felt so right to take the Grateful Dead tune for a ride on a gorgeous summer day in Marin. 

Because we got started late, the end came too soon, and we hadn't played many of our tunes. They'll have to stay in their cages until Wednesday, July 5th, when we're back inside for First Wednesdays.

Community shout-outs: Stacy and Mark Nelson and their son Aidan were our first guests and sooo supportive. Be sure to check out Walking Mirrors at the Sweetwater on August 23rd. 

Fawson Bassist and Birthday boy, Matt Kanter stopped in on his way to a gig. Gotta get him to sit in with us on those Dead tunes. Susan Gladwin, keyboardist and vocalist with Tangled up and Free (with Josh and Matt) also showed up and took some video. Rich, a drummer who works with Josh sometimes and brought his rad dog to the show, hung out and hipped me to some King Crimson he thinks I'll like. 

James and Elizabeth Hughes, friends of mine from the independent school world, were there for the show and hung out for a while after to chat. James has seen Titmouse a few times now and really digs our development. 

Finally saw my guy, Chris Peck, walking by after the show. He hadn't seen us but was thrilled to hear we're doing these open rehearsals at Peri's. Before the Pandemic, Peri's was, according to him, more of a community jam-type atmosphere. We're happy to bring that energy back. 


Till next time, Titmice. Sleep well



From the Cockpit 6.7.23 

"Just keep going." -Scott, the bartender.

Go, we did. On our second outing at Peri's and the first of our "First Wednesdays" residency, we brought more polish and wilder energy. The highlight for me in the first set was hitting a super strong Esmé just as Will Zesiger and Gabby De La Cruz walked in. If you've listened to our record, you'll know that Will and Gabby sing Esmé (splendidly, I might add) and put a little pressure on me to step up my vocal game. It worked. Throughout the EP process, Will was a talisman of sorts for me, helping with songwriting and generally seeing the value in our music. Adding their band's vocal magic to my tune was the proverbial icing. 

The second set really took off with a killin' Sun Ra-inspired mashup of his tune "Space is the Place" and Freddie Hubbard's "Mr. Clean." We just sort of locked in and delivered what felt like our best, most together, music for the rest of the night. 

The Marin Academy community continues to be a massive support. Starting with Jon, the polymath physics teacher. An accomplished multi-instrumentalist and collaborator in the faculty band, Jon is a tech genius. He builds guitars from scratch, so when I explained that the output jack (labeled INPUT!?) on the Rhodes was busted, he knew it was an easy fix and made time for me before my rehearsal to do the job. The Rhodes sounds as good as ever and was a significant headache averted. The game ball goes to him this week.

James, MA's director of community action, has been a fantastic supporter, and it was great to have him in the audience. A terrific singer\-songwriter and performer, he knows goodness when he sees and hears it. Positive feedback and insight are always a godsend early in a project like Titmouse. 

Rebecca, Director of Learning Services, Ellie, Science Department Chair, and Math teacher Rachel Kernodle were in the neighborhood for Ellie's birthday and strolled in for parts of both sets. Great to have them there.

Will and Eli, from the MA class of '20 were also in attendance, and it was so fun to catch up with them too. 

Finally, a shout out to our wizard soundperson, Kim, who put us in a real sweet spot before the show with some of the best stage levels I've experienced anywhere. We'll be sure to request her when we return on July 5th. 


From the Cockpit 5.28.23 

“I came from somewhere else, where I was a part of something so wonderful that there are no words to express it” 

- Sun Ra

Whew! We celebrated our debut at Peri's Tavern on May 24th. Of course, Stacy, Parker, and I have played there together in different bands (Loma Alta, Golden Teachers), but this was our first time with Chili leading us to glory. Game ball goes to him for keeping us focused and kicking ass all night.  Special thanks to Greg, the friendliest soundman in the universe, and Scott, tending bar and recognizing our potential in that space. 

After an exceptional rehearsal two days prior, technical difficulties marred the start, and lightweight spooked my first outing as a lead vocalist. No matter: this was always going to be a gig to grow on. It was the first time we centered the original music from the EP, stretching us in unexpected ways.  But we stayed true to the vision and played all five. I sang on each one. 

The music was happening. Esmé sounded like I always imagined: crisp, jaunty, and earnest. Jan Jan was a funk explosion and the high watermark for us in the first set. The jams were by turns blissful and intense. We had a lot of feelings, I guess! The big news is that Peri's dug our style and booked us every first Wednesday starting June 7th. We're also playing some Saturday afternoon patio shows @ Peri's starting June 17th. Those patio shows are free and will be more experimental. Drop in. 

What brought me the most joy on the night was how our community supported us. Here begins a tradition of spotlighting our fans: 

Michelle, my wife, gets the first mention. With her rehearsal canceled, she brought her friend Emily from their dance troupe; they sat mid-bar, chopping it up and sometimes taking video and phone photos. 

Jaryd, Chill Clinton guitarist and bandmate to Chili and me, showed up and got down with Jason, the mad genius behind the Live Music Archive (check it out!). They recorded the show 🙏 🙏 

Mark and Chris, former colleagues at Marin Academy, hung out, and Mark took pictures. Fun fact: my songwriting journey started eight years ago in Chris' minicourse. Bananas.

Going deep in the bag, Al and his partner Yuka (killer DJ!) were in attendance for parts of both sets. Al was my pal back in high school, and it's rad to have him around on the Bay Area scene. 

Patrick and Ally Stoops get gold stars for showing up early AND bringing friends. They have supported my music these past few years, and I appreciate them!  

My dude, Matt Kanter, a terrific bassist with Nancy Fawson was on hand too. He's a fellow Deadhead and it makes me happy that folks who love the Dead dig Titmouse.

I also met two local music aficionados whose names I've forgotten but who nevertheless impressed me with their awareness of our music. They heard the influence of the Dead in our originals and praised our dynamic range. I really hope to see them again June 7.

Finally, photo maestro Joe Cornett took some pro shots that will appear all over this website soon. 

If you're new here, please join our email list and follow us @titmouse_band to stay current. And if you haven't seen us live, well you know what to do. 

"What if we made some jam music?" 

In the spring of 2020 (yes, the bizarro beginning of the pandemic) René wrote to Jared about Phish's creative response to canceled tours and lockdown: Dinner and a Movie streams of epic shows from the band's archive. See, back in the '90s Jared and Rene were almost cool. We had a jam rock band in Boston called Flood that did well in the prep school circuit. After decades of playing soul-jazz (and some indie rock) we were called back to our Jammy roots.