Page McConnell: From Studio(s) to Stage(s)
PM: Oh yeah, they all stretch out as it turns out, pretty much. The last times we were doing it, the one I truncated was "Back in the Basement. I made it a much shorter song and everything else jammed out [laughs]. That was kind of curious.
AAJ: Well that's the nature of improvisation: you do it as long as it feels good. If it's shorter rather than longer, then so be it.
PM: That's a specific arrangement. We've done two shows with the lineup that I have now and it'll be focused on the album, as in the two shows we've done. We played at the end of March and the beginning of April, actually those were shows where we only played the album. In previous shows and rehearsals we were focused on the record itself. Now we're focused on expanding the repertoire a little bit, but these songs do stretch out. How the repertoire expands has yet to reveal itself, but it will be augmented in some way.
PM: Well, you know we have ideas and I ask everybody in the band to bring ideas if there's something other than what I want to do. You just kind of have to try them to see what works. It's a great band I'm working with too.
AAJ: I was going to say you've got some interesting individuals in the group with Gabe Jarrett (from Vorcza) playing drums, Jared Slomoff (Vermont musician and producer/engineer) playing guitar. I can envision seeing you guys on stage in the middle of some improvisation and then going off into something unrelated, then coming back. Or maybe not...
PM: Well, Rob O'Dea is a great bassist and Adam is a great guitarist and Jared plays a lot of keyboards as well, in fact more than he plays guitar and he sings as well. So far it's been great: I really like playing with these guys. I have a great feeling about it. I have a positive feeling about this group. I don't know exactly what it's going to be like, but there will be some stretching out for sure.
AAJ: Do you envision your shows being comprised of one long set or two shorter sets with a break in-between?
PM: At this point, it'll probably be one set and we'll probably have opening acts at different places. I understand the appeal of two sets, but the reality is, I don't think we're a band at that level right now. We're just sort of starting out and one long set and one long encore is like two sets anyway.
AAJ: Oh I'm sure I suppose it's a matter of conditioning, in a similar sense to physical conditioning for you...
PM: No not the physical conditioning. To be able to pull off two sets in one night by yourself and an encoreyou have to have a lot of songs to pull from. You don't want to always play every song every night if you don't know that many, but aside from that, I think we could all handle it physically.
If you're going to see a band, and you're going to see the first set, I would hope if you're going to see a second set, you're going to hear somewhat of a different feel. And I don't think we've quite established ourselves, amongst ourselves enough, to know exactly what we're all about. But I'm excited about it; I don't mean to put it down.
AAJ: I don't get that impression at all. I was thinking less in terms of physical conditioning than comparing how your get your body in tone and how you get a band in tone, play together and work the collective muscles, then stretch out and go further all the time.
PM: It takes a lot of practice and conditioning.
AAJ: I'm sure, as the tour moves along, the songs are going to evolve, the interaction's going to evolve and what you may be playing toward the end of the tour might be quite different than what you start out with. That's always fascinated me: to see bands on successive nights or over the period of time they play together, and evolve. They can be quite different and usually they're better if they're still together.
PM: I would agree. And also part of what's exciting to me is we've only had limited number of practices and we've seen improvement with each practice. And even with just the two shows we've done. And we're getting back in the practice space: I love practicing. It's one of my favorite things to do. And I just know that having a couple of gigs under our belt already, once we get out on tour is when I think things will really start to develop.
AAJ: You must be getting pretty excited about that then.
PM: Yeah I am. I'm excited to be rolling. Once you're out on the road...and it's pretty jam- packed...
AAJ: I noticed that looking at the itinerary today: You're not giving yourself a lot of breathing time between shows which is probably a good thing because you never cool down so to speak.