Tim Rutili

Last updated
Tim Rutili
Tim Rutili in 2004
Background information
Chicago, Illinois
Occupation(s) Musician
Instrument(s) guitarist
Years active1988 to present
Labels Sub Pop
Jealous Butcher
Dead Oceans
Perishable Records
Thrill Jockey

Tim Rutili (born 1967 or 1968) [1] is an American musician, filmmaker, and visual artist. He is best known as the founder of Red Red Meat and Califone, and his membership in supergroups Ugly Casanova and Loftus.



He was the founder and principal songwriter for Califone and Red Red Meat. He is a member of the Indie rock supergroup Ugly Casanova, which included Modest Mouse singer Isaac Brock, producer and former Red Red Meat bandmate Brian Deck, and others. He is a frequent collaborator of Michael Krassner and Boxhead ensemble. He appeared on Joan of Arc's album Guitar Duets, performing a duet with Jeremy Boyle and Modest Mouse's Everywhere and His Nasty Parlour Tricks and The Moon & Antarctica.

Over twenty-five years, Rutili contributed to many albums by a diverse group of artists as a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter. He has composed and collaborated on music for television, documentary and feature films, including Beauty is Embarrassing, a PBS documentary about artist, designer and puppeteer, Wayne White and The Calling, a four hour PBS series exploring faith and religion. His feature film work includes Here, Wellness, The Lost. Brawler and 2022's Monstrous. He collaborated with Michael Krassner on the score for Braden King’s feature film The Evening Hour . He made contributions to the soundtracks for; Boss, Hannibal, The Vow, Stranger Than Fiction, Monogamy, 30 Days of Night, The Dinner, and Waterloo Road.

Rutili has performed worldwide and provided musical scores to numerous films and curated programs including Early Abstractions by Harry Smith at Images Film Festival in Toronto, as a member of Boxhead Ensemble at Doclands Film Festival in Dublin, Stories, Maps and Notes from the Half Light- live, and improvised scores to short films by Gem Cohen, Laura Moya, Braden King, Grant Gee, Paula Froehle, Gustav Deutch and Barbara Meter. God Builds Like Frank Lloyd Wright: Califone and the Animated Films of Brent Green at Sundance, and Braden King’s HERE (The Story Sleeps) at Sundance and MoMA. Most recently, he scored Brent Green’s A Brief Spark Bookended by Darkness at FestivAll at the Clay Center in Charleston, WV.

Rutili wrote and directed his first feature-length film All My Friends Are Funeral Singers in tandem with the creation of Califone's eponymous album. The film was accepted for the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The film screened with a live musical score at Sundance, SXSW, IFC center in New York, MCA in Chicago, and other festivals, museums, and theaters. He has directed short films and music videos for musicians and bands, including Veruca Salt, Iron & Wine, David Yow, Califone, Bill Fay and many others.

Personal life

Rutili was born in Chicago and grew up in Addison, Illinois. [2] He was in a long-term relationship with bassist and musical collaborator Glynis Johnson, until her death from AIDS-related complications in 1992. [3] He is married to Angela Bettis.

Select Discography

Friends of Betty

Red Red Meat

Loftus (collaboration with Rex) (Perishable Records, 1999)


Ugly Casanova

Tim Rutili & Craig Ross

Tim Rutili Arthur King Presents Tim Rutili (Arroyo) Abstractions (Dangerbird 2018)

Boxhead Ensemble

Soundtrack and Compilation Albums

Session Musician

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Shins</span> American indie rock band

The Shins is an American indie rock band formed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1996. The band is the project of singer-songwriter James Mercer, who has served as the band's sole constant member throughout numerous line-up changes. The band's current line-up consists of Mercer, alongside Yuuki Matthews, Mark Watrous, Patti King (keyboards), and Jon Sortland (drums). They are based in Portland, Oregon.

<i>The Moon & Antarctica</i> 2000 studio album by Modest Mouse

The Moon & Antarctica is the third studio album by American rock band Modest Mouse, released on June 13, 2000, by Epic Records. The album's title is taken from the opening scene of the 1982 film Blade Runner, where the main character reads a newspaper headlined "Farming the Oceans, the Moon and Antarctica".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Isaac Brock (musician)</span> American musician

Isaac Kristofer Brock is an American musician who is the lead singer, songwriter, guitarist and banjoist for the indie rock band Modest Mouse, as well as his side project band, Ugly Casanova. As a songwriter, he is noted for his wordplay and frequent use of metaphors, philosophical lyrics, themes of authentic rural lifestyles, and phrases and sayings commonly used in the early to mid-20th century and in blue collar environments. Brock is the sole founding member of Modest Mouse still with the band and the only member to appear on all of its studio albums.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joan of Arc (band)</span> American indie rock band

Joan of Arc was an American indie rock band from Chicago, Illinois named after the French saint Joan of Arc. They formed in 1995, following the breakup of Cap'n Jazz.

Ugly Casanova was an American indie rock band signed to Sub Pop Records. The band has released one album, Sharpen Your Teeth.

<i>Sharpen Your Teeth</i> 2002 studio album by Ugly Casanova

Sharpen Your Teeth is the only studio album by the indie rock band Ugly Casanova. Brainchild of Modest Mouse lead singer Isaac Brock, Ugly Casanova was his attempt to try new methods and genres outside the realms of Modest Mouse. The album sees Brock performing on more instruments and using a more stripped down method of recording. The story given is that an eccentric character named Edgar Graham met with Modest Mouse while on tour. During their time together, Graham and the band recorded a few songs together, and Graham completely disappeared. In an attempt to get Graham to resurface, Brock took the recordings to Sub Pop Records, redid them in the studio, and had them released as Sharpen Your Teeth. It has since been revealed that Brock fabricated the story himself, using Ugly Casanova as a method of writing music whilst not being recognized instantly as Modest Mouse.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Red Red Meat</span> Rock band

Red Red Meat was a 1990s Chicago-area blues-influenced alternative rock band. After their break-up, frontman Tim Rutili went on to form Califone, for which many of Red Red Meat's former members, including percussionist Ben Massarella, often record and perform. Tim Hurley went on to form Sin Ropas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Califone</span> Experimental rock band based in Chicago

Califone is an experimental rock band from Chicago. The band is named after Califone International, an audio equipment manufacturer. Their work has been critically acclaimed.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Mercer (musician)</span> American singer-songwriter (born 1970)

James Russell Mercer is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and musician. He is the founder, vocalist, lead singer-songwriter, and sole remaining original member of the indie rock group The Shins. In 2009, Mercer and producer Danger Mouse formed the side project Broken Bells, for which they released a self-titled album in March 2010, followed by After the Disco in 2014, and then Into the Blue in 2022. Mercer also has acted, appearing in Matt McCormick's feature film Some Days Are Better Than Others, which premiered in 2010.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fruit Bats (band)</span> American indie rock band

Fruit Bats is an American indie rock band formed in 1997 in Chicago, Illinois, as the project of singer/songwriter Eric D. Johnson. Johnson is the band's sole permanent member, with various musicians joining the band in live and studio settings.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Brian Deck</span> Musical artist

Brian Deck is an American music producer and member of band Red Red Meat. He co-founded Idful Studios in 1988. Since becoming a full-time producer, Deck has worked with bands and artists including Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine, Califone, All Smiles, Fruit Bats, Gomez, The Grates, Holopaw, Baby & Hide, David Singer and David Berkeley. Brian currently works at Narwhal Studios in Chicago.

<i>Jimmywine Majestic</i> 1994 studio album by Red Red Meat

Jimmywine Majestic is the second studio album by Red Red Meat, released in 1994 by Sub Pop.

Perishable Records is an independent record label founded by Chicago musicians Ben Massarella and Tim Rutili in 1993. Rutili and Massarella were both members of Red Red Meat at the time, and released the band's "Hot Nikkity Truck Monkey" as its first single. The band was almost immediately after signed to Sub Pop, but after Red Red Meat broke up in 1997, the pair revived the label name and began releasing new material on it. Its first release after the dissolution of the Sub Pop contract was an album by Loftus, released in 1998. Perishable's recording studio initially was a renovated first-floor apartment in Chicago, and musicians recorded to 2-inch analog audiotape before moving on to processing using the digital audio workstation ProTools. The label's offices, in 1999, were in a truck wash in south Chicago that doubled as the office for Massarella's side business, BJ Transportation Service. In 2002, the label lost some of its flagship acts - The Fire Show had broken up, and Fruit Bats had signed with Sub Pop - and Massarella and Rutili openly talked about potentially winding down its operation. However, by 2003, the label was operating out of an erstwhile elementary school in the Pilsen neighborhood, where the group had also outfitted a studio it dubbed Clava. Clava was located in a converted garage next to the school, was financed by Massarella, and was operated by Brian Deck of Red Red Meat.

Ben Massarella is an American percussionist and drummer. He is a member of Califone, a former member of Red Red Meat, Loftus, and Orso, and co-founded Perishable Records with Tim Rutili in 1993.

Eric Donald Johnson is an American singer-songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist. He is best known as the leader and sole permanent member of the influential folk-rock band Fruit Bats, and for his tenure as a member of The Shins. He has also scored films, most notably Our Idiot Brother and Smashed.

Braden King is a New York-based filmmaker, photographer and visual artist. His feature film, Here (2011), starring Ben Foster and Lubna Azabal, premiered at the 2011 Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals and was distributed theatrically by Strand Releasing in 2012. A multimedia installation version of the project, Here [ The Story Sleeps ], premiered at The Museum of Modern Art in 2010 and toured internationally with live soundtrack accompaniment by composer Michael Krassner and Boxhead Ensemble. King's previous work includes the feature film Dutch Harbor: Where the Sea Breaks It's Back, the award-winning short film Home Movie and music videos for Glen Hansard, Sparklehorse, Sonic Youth, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and Dirty Three.

Michael Krassner is an American musician and composer, known for his work in the Boxhead Ensemble and The Lofty Pillars. He has collaborated with numerous musical artists, including Califone, Dirty Three, Gastr del Sol, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Will Oldham, Scott Tuma and Ken Vandermark.

Boxhead Ensemble is a musical collective founded by composer Michael Krassner. The project began in 1991 to record music for the independent film The Original Pantry Café. The group features an ever rotating line-up, which as included Edith Frost, David Grubbs, Glenn Kotche, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Jim O'Rourke, Doug McCombs, Scott Tuma, Mick Turner, Ken Vandermark, Jim White. Krassner is the only consistent member and Lonberg-Holm has contributed the most frequently to the project.

<i>Red Red Meat</i> (album) 1992 studio album by Red Red Meat

Red Red Meat is the eponymously titled debut studio album of Red Red Meat, released in 1992 by Perishable Records.

Loftus was an American indie rock band from Chicago, signed to Perishable Records. Consisting of former members of Red Red Meat and Rex, it released only one album in 1998.


  1. Kot, Greg (1994-02-18). "Staying Just out of Reach". Chicago Tribune . Retrieved 2021-06-06.
  2. Casaccia, Lorenzo (2002). "An Interview with Tim Rutili (Red Red Meat, Califone, Perishable Records)". Il Labirinto. Retrieved 2021-06-06.
  3. Sprague, Deborah. "Red Red Meat". Trouser Press . Retrieved 2021-06-06.
  4. Steinbacher, John (27 April 2010). "Margot & the Nuclear So and So's hit the reset button". Smile Politely. Retrieved 2021-06-06.