By Timothy Dwenger
Back in 2009, the jamband world was abuzz about the return of The String Cheese Incident after a brief, two-year hiatus that left the band members missing what they had been able to create as a unit over their 14 year run. While that was big news, and the shows kept coming in the form of weekend one-offs, brief runs from city to city, and even a full scale East Coast tour in the fall of 2011, fans were left to wonder what else the future held for Colorado’s Cheese.
Though new songs started to appear in setlists in 2010, it wasn’t until 2012 that the rumors began to swirl that String Cheese Incident was actually headed back into the studio. The band confirmed those rumors by digitally releasing their first studio recording in seven years in the form of “Can’t Wait Another Day,” but the track did little to appease rabid fans who were aching for a full- length album cementing studio versions of new favorites like Kyle Hollingsworth’s “Rosie” and Bill Nershi’s “Colorado Bluebird Sky,” both of which were quickly becoming live staples.
When the band took the stage at the 1st Bank Center in December of last year for their first New Year’s run in Colorado since 1996, there was something different. They were firing on all cylinders and sounded as tight as they had in many years. Word flew through the faithful that the band had just emerged from studio sessions but there wasn’t much more information to be had, until now.
“We went into the studio here locally at Immersive Studios with Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads producing, right before New Year’s, then we were in again in January,” said SCI bassist Keith Moseley in a recent interview with The Marquee as he geared up for the band’s last rehearsal before loading up the truck and heading to Telluride for their first show of the summer tour. “Jerry was on our wish list of people we would want to work with and we actually gave him a call several years ago when we made the last album but it didn’t work out then, so we were happy that he could do it this time.”
While in the studio with Harrison, Moseley revealed, though the band was a little bit star-struck at times, they were able to really harness the expertise that the former Talking Head brought to the table. “We have all been Talking Heads fans forever and who doesn’t want to hear firsthand stories about the old days with The Talking Heads,” admitted Moseley. “But it was also really cool to have his creative spin on some of our tunes. He was a great help in terms of arrangement ideas and different parts and even changing keys on a couple of songs to maximize vocal performance. He’s a real old-pro who had some nice ideas for us.
“He came at it with a fresh set of ears and rather than try to make the band something it isn’t, I think he recognized some of the strengths of the band and helped us to fine tune and play to our strengths rather than making us something different than we are,” continued Moseley.
After confirming that “Rosie,” “Colorado Bluebird Sky” and “Song In My Head” would make the final cut of the album (tentatively titled Song In My Head), Moseley went on to caution fans that the versions on the album might not be identical to the live versions they have been getting used to over the last year or two. “Most of these tunes have been played out a little bit, although they may have been revamped and tweaked in the studio,” he said. “Our management is referring to it as an old-school sounding String Cheese album but I’m not sure I totally agree with that. It has some Afro vibe to it, but there are some songs that have the computer beats as well and that’s certainly not ‘old-school’ Cheese. I think it really runs the gamut of what we do and is a good overall representation of our band. It’s got a little bit of everything.”
String Cheese has always been about giving their fans “a little bit of everything” and as they move into the next stage of their career it sounds like they will continue to do just that. While Song In My Head probably won’t hit shelves until late in the year, Moseley hinted that they might put together a tour to support the album in the early part of 2014 and mentioned that he too has heard the rumor that the band would be reprising their New Year’s run at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield this year, but was unable to confirm the gigs. “It’s certainly a treat to get to play there. It’s a hometown gig at a fantastic venue that really lends itself well to all the theatrics that we like to do. I’m hoping that comes together.”
:: String Cheese Incident ::
:: Red Rocks Amphitheatre ::
:: July 26 and 27 ::
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