[Originally Published: March 15]
Not having played together for the past 12 years, the original members of Strangefolk are hard at work, practicing and playing together where they started, northern Vermont. The band reunites for the first time in 12 years at Brooklyn Bowl on March 28, followed by performances at Higher Ground in Burlington on March 29 and 30 and a trip to The State Theater in Portland, Maine on the 31st.
While the band is fine tuning for the upcoming reunion, guitarist and singer Reid Genauer sat down to talk about the upcoming shows and how the band was warming up for their return to the stage, a first as the original group since September 2000.
Hidden Track: How have the practice sessions been on the lead up to the shows?
Reid Genauer: The rehearsals have been awesome. It was the first time in over a decade that the four of us have been in a room together. We have so many rich memories embedded in the fiber of our songs and they sort of poured out literally in the form of chatter and laughter and metaphorically in the retelling of the songs. There are 52 eHarmony-like variables that I could rate our time together on but the summary is we spent long days banging the rust off our material and had a blast doing it.
HT: Where have you been rehearsing?
RG: We huddled in “The Barn,” Trey’s reclusive studio lair in northern Vermont. It was a great choice on several fronts. For one thing, it’s an amazing space, beautiful, quirky and inspirational. Maybe more to the point, it is in the middle of nowhere so there were no distractions – just us, our instruments and our songs. We literally did not leave the place. We rehearsed 12 hour days, slept there, woke up, caffeinated and did it again. It was special.
HT: How did logistics affect setting up practice? Erik lives in Maine, Reid in NYC, Luke in Virginia and Jon out in San Francisco, so how did that impact getting things set up for practicing together?
RG: Like everything in rock and roll it was a bit of a cluster fuck, but we managed to get ourselves there around the same time and Ben Collette, who works for Trey/Phish, really took great care of us – we barely had to think about anything other than the music for the entire visit. He is the unsung hero of our rehearsal time and deserves credit for being so thoughtful and spot on. We were like “Hey Ben, can you call up a good version of So Far Gone?” and wham it was thumping through the mains.
HT: What is the level of anticipation for these shows? Any nervousness?
RG: We are all thrilled to have a chance to do this again. We just want to deliver the goods. There is a lot of material to cover – so if there’s any nervousness, it just comes from the eagerness to nail the tunes and infuse the performances with energy as well as precision. No doubts on the energy front but precision can be a bitch….
HT: What can fans look forward to as the shows approach?
RG: Giant frogs, pink and green balloons, meat popsicles and a fairly comprehensive dive into the Strangefolk catalog of songs. We spent time on our “greatest hits” but also on the deeper cuts. I think people can look forward to the full spectrum of our material and more than anything a lot of fun. The whole thing has a celebratory glow around it. Gonna be hard not to smile on either side of the stage.
HT: Is there any behind the scenes footage that we can look forward to seeing in coming weeks?
RG: Yes – we shot some low-fi video, took some pics and recorded the audio for entire rehearsal sessions. We need to work on fleshing out a couple of nuggets to share.
HT: What spawned the reunion now as opposed to any other time over the past 10 years?
RG: I can’t say for sure. I think one big factor is that enough time has passed so that any heat that might have been generated as things came unhinged is long since gone. A second is that there is a fondness for the group internally and externally that has never left the collective conscious. It’s astounding to us that actions we took almost 20 years ago still resonate today. I think we all felt that resonance deserved attention. Lastly Peter Shapiro just called us up and called us out on it. I think we just needed a kick in the ass.