Saturday, December 7, 2013
Kennebec Journal Staff
Q: I interviewed all four of you live in the Pit on the University of Maine campus in Orono back around 1989 or 1990, Do you remember more about the first time we chatted?
Dinning: That was our second tour and we were opening for the B-52s -- that was a long time ago and you and I are both still in the business ... you've been with us since the beginning!
Q: You bet, and I saw both of your 1994 shows in Maine. It's so neat that, almost 20 years later, you guys are coming back.
Dinning: Yes, we are! You know, we've been on tour a lot this summer and one of the things we did was play at Willie Nelson's 80th birthday celebration in New York. After we did that we got a call from Willie asking us if we wanted to do Farm Aid so we, of course, said "Yes!" and rather than just come all the way out there and do one show we decided to put together a few other shows and that's what brings us up to your neck of the woods.
Q: Well, I've got to tell you that "New Constellation" is probably one of the best albums you've ever put out.
Dinning: Wow, thank you -- that means a lot because I feel like you know our whole history, so thank you so much!
Q: In my opinion, there's not a throw-away track of the 10 on here -- it's strong start to finish. And I'm just a huge fan of vocal harmonies and this album is just loaded with them.
Dinning: Well, what we were really trying to do was just keep the things about the band that really worked well while updating the sounds to make it, you know, be current. Try to make a record that sounded like we had never stopped making records. And certainly when you have three people and three mics across the front we can do those harmonies live -- it's great -- that's certainly been a big part of the band so writing for this project that was certainly in the forefront of our minds. To have these songs with the big harmonies and then be able to do them live, well, that's one of the things about this band that's so much fun.
Q: Now since getting back together after the initial break-up and subsequent sporadic shows from 2006 to 2010 to going back into the studio in 2013 for album number six ... is all of this working out for you guys?
Dinning: Yes, it is really -- it's invigorating and it's fun. I mean, I suppose we could have gone on and continued to just go out and play the old material. We got offered tours where you go out and play for a half-an-hour and basically run through your hits from the 90s, but we didn't want to do that. We kind of wanted to get back to doing our own thing and the missing element for all of us was new songs. We wanted to bring the band into this millennium and be current again ... and I think that that's what we're accomplishing out there every night. It's so fun, we're playing five new songs every night and it's so exciting to see the reaction to those songs and the fans are so happy to have this record after all this time. They just really love it.
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