Music

Biggest Band Nobodys Heard of Dispatch Ready To Move Past The

Around the new millennium, when Metallica was trying to sink digital music piracy, college-aged acoustic rock trio Dispatch was sailing it across the country.

Formed in 1996, frontman Chad Stokes, bassist Pete Heimbold and drummer Brad Corrigan had been grinding out its up-tempo ballads in obscurity for years at the smaller stages in clubs like The Middle East in Boston and The Wetlands in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood. (Though based in Boston, drummer Brad Corrigan hails from Denver and maintains: “We’re a Colorado band.”)

Then, in 2000, right as the band cracked headlining gigs at those venues’ bigger stages, Dispatch got a strange invitation from across the country. Despite having never played out West before (and, as a completely independent project, having no marketing presence there), Pomona College in California wanted the band to play a spring festival. Dumbfounded, but grateful, Dispatch took the offer.

At the show, hundreds of college-aged fans had already committed the band’s songs to heart. The band was winding down in a classroom-turned-dressing room when the student who organized the show let them in on what millions of internet music nerds already knew. Their song “The General” was an early viral hit on Napster, the now-famous peer-to-peer file-sharing program that kick-started the revolution of online music.

Two decades after it was recorded, “The General” is still Dispatch’s calling card. But even that song couldn’t crack mainstream success, which led to Corrigan’s own distinction of Dispatch as “the biggest band nobody’s heard of.” Counterintuitively, while “The General” was internet famous, its latest single “Only The Wild Ones,” is its first radio darling. The song not only charted on triple-A radio in March, but also has been climbing ever since. Two weeks ago, it cracked the top 20 for national airplay.

“It’s so freaking cool,” Corrigan said of the band’s first taste of radio success. “You can’t buy it. It feels like we’re crossing another boundary.”

On the heels of that success, Dispatch will launch its first major multiseason tour since 2001 with two shows in the Denver area: the first at the Ogden Theatre on June 15, and the second, a headlining spot at Red Rocks — its first show there in six years — on June 16.

Ahead of those gigs, we talked to Corrigan about the clash of egos that caused the band to break up in 2004, its surprisingly political new album, and why the band will be touring without one of its original members for the first time in 20 years.

The band is taking to the road without bassist Pete Heimbold. As one-third of the band, how difficult is it to leave him behind?

We’re also going to embrace mental wellness on our tour. Everywhere we’ve gone, we’ve talked about mental illness and depression and how important it is to de-stigmatize it. One of three people in a room would say they struggle with depression which probably actually means one in every two. People don’t like to talk about it. But there’s a lot of light that’s coming in, and we attribute that to Pete’s bravery and vulnerability.

It’s been 20 years since “Bang Bang,” Dispatch’s most recognizable album, and five years since you last released an album. In between, you’ve each grown your solo projects. What changed that made the band want to set individual careers aside and record together again?

Not to be catty, but who did handle the brunt of songwriting duty on “America, Location 12”? It marks a refreshing entry in the band’s catalog.

Chad wrote the entire record, compared to the old way where each one of us would have our own shapes and songs. Chad had written 31 songs in six months. If we could, we would have recorded 30 of his 31 songs. It’s such a privilege to get to work with him.

It’s bittersweet to not feel like we have individual things on the record. But we’re trying to get away from that approach. Now, it’s a matter of finding the best Dispatch songs in our midst that we can record.

It’s an overtly political record, moreso than anything else the band has done. “Skin the Rabbit” hits on gun culture and the heroin epidemic, and “Rice Water” features the lyric, “We don’t even need roads, I’ll see you there after / Faster than the highest wall they’ll build.”

We’re super pissed off at the cartoon nature of our political landscape. Where we’re at is everything — every breath of our being — needs to be political, but in a new way.

If we think politicians are the only folks who are corrupt in the world, and that we’re not culpable in that corruption, than we’re naive. What would you do if you were put in the place where your family, your community and your individual pocketbook could expand times 100 or 1,000? How selfless would you be in that place? All of us can become greedy or motivated by fear. But if you link arms with those around you and think that community is the way forward and not indivudals, than there’s a way forward.

Source: The Know Reverb Features

Guest DJ Chicano Batmans Musical DNA

The members of Chicano Batman are, from left to right, Carlos Arévalo, Gabriel Villa, Bardo Martinez and Eduardo Arenas. Josue Rivas/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

The members of Chicano Batman are, from left to right, Carlos Arévalo, Gabriel Villa, Bardo Martinez and Eduardo Arenas.

A lot has happened for Chicano Batman since the band first performed together in the mid-2000s. It was one of the first Latin-music acts (along with its SoCal neighbor La Santa Cecilia) to perform at Coachella, it toured with auteur rocker Jack White, it’s put in countless miles on the road performing in cities big and small and it recently performed in front of a nationwide TV audience on Conan.

In other words, Chicano Batman gained its rising popularity the old-fashioned way: one fan at a time, through hard work and amazing music.

To get to the bottom of that latter component of the band’s success, we invited Chicano Batman’s members into the studio for a Guest DJ session. As expected, what followed was a very geeky musical conversation that reveals the sources and inspiration for its one-of-a-kind sound — not to mention lots of laughs and some profound thoughts on culture and society.

For a glimpse of a band enjoying itself as it navigates its musical journey, listen to the show at the audio link above.

Source: NPR Music

Cities and Their Unique Musical Culture

In this piece Allen Bargfrede explores the relationship between cities and their music and how that relationship works to shape a city’s culture and ethos, whether by accident or through intentional branding.

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Guest post by Allen Bargfrede, Founder of Rethink Music and MD, Europe of Thought5

I travel a lot, for both business and pleasure. I’m always struck by how music, and the sheer presence of it, impacts the culture and ethos of a city. Cities like Nashville and London have a rich musical history dating back a century or more. Austin bills itself as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” Memphis is known as the home of the blues, and the “Detroit sound” was widely celebrated for many years. In some cases, legacy industries and a bit of luck have made certain cities into music and cultural capitals of the world — but in many cases, it’s built into the brand of the city by a conscious decision.

As I write this, I’m in Nashville, also known as “Music City USA.” I’ve also recently been in LA, Portland, and Houston – and all four cities have airport music installations. While the music in each airport varies, with country in Nashville and classical in Houston, the attempted effect is the same. New York is currently in the midst of New York Music Month, a citywide celebration of New York’s diverse and thriving music sector, offering free concerts, free rehearsal space, and conference focused on urban development and music.

Some cities have seen the value of music and taken aggressive action to build their city’s brand around it. Vigo, in Northwest Spain, made a conscientious decision in the 1950’s, and again in the 1980’s, to pursue a musical heritage through the development of multiple music conservatories and live venues. Another Spanish city, Bilbao, felt that arts and culture were so vital that it pushed to acquire the first international Guggenheim museum in the 1990’s. The city is now making a sustained new effort with the BIME festival for music and gaming each fall – fully supported by the local government. The gamble has paid off in both places, with Vigo now a “must-stop” for small to mid-size touring acts and Bilbao’s transformation from a sleepy industrial Basque city to an internationally known center for arts.

A recent study, The Mastering of a Music City, from the International Federation of the Phonograph Industry (IFPI) and Music Canada found the key elements of a music city to be: 1) artists and musicians 2) a receptive audience 3) music industry businesses 4) access to spaces and 5) a thriving music scene. Building a music city “builds GDP and tourism revenue, while at the same time increasing the quality of life and attracting a highly educated workforce.”

What do you think of when hear a city’s name, like Nashville, or Austin, or LA? What can your city do with music?

Source: HypeBot