String Cheese Incident comes west for fall tour
Jam-band fans have a reason to celebrate: String Cheese Incident’s fall tour is coming back to the West Coast.
“Oh yeah, the gravy tour,” said Billy Nershi, the band’s guitar player. “We always look forward to the West Coast.”
The Boulder, Colo.-based band has been busy all year with tours across the country, but hasn’t been to California since the Superhero costume ball last New Year’s Eve in San Francisco. The band is returning to the Bay Area for the coming New Year’s Eve.
String Cheese Incident stepped into the gap left by The Grateful Dead and Phish, earning their stripes as a touring band with extended spacey jams during long concerts they call “incidents.”
These are marked by tie-dyed fans and hula-hoopers spinning and dancing as long as the music lasts. The band is composed of acoustic guitarist Billy Nershi, bassist Keith Mosely, Kyle Hollingsworth on keyboards, Michael Travis on drums and percussion, and Michael Kang on violin and mandolin. Their music is bluegrass-based, but with enough rock ‘n’ roll and traditional music in their repertoire to entertain almost anyone.
With full spring and summer tour schedules in the East and Midwest, including appearances at this summer’s Bonaroo Festival in Kentucky and the Jazzfest in New Orleans, West Coast fans have been left waiting. But all that is about to change.
Fall tour starts tomorrow with the first stop in Bozeman, Mont. California tour stops include Eureka, Chico, two nights in Berkeley at the Greek Theater, San Luis Obispo, San Diego and Halloween in Los Angeles at the Shrine Auditorium. The tour ends two days after that in Las Vegas.
Recordings from this year’s tours are being turned into CDs for release in a series called “On the Road.” Spring tour dates are already available and summer dates will be released soon. They plan on doing the same with the fall tour.
Although the band allows fans to tape their live shows, the “On the Road” series is for the fan who isn’t into the taping scene but wants a copy of an incident they’ve been to. Nershi said the series is being received well.
“Taping in general has been one of the biggest promotional tools we’ve had as a band,” said Nershi. “When we were starting out, that’s how word got spread. But it’s two different worlds, tapers, and then even more who don’t.”
In addition to near-constant touring, the band is releasing a new DVD, tentatively titled “Waiting for the Snow to Fall.” This was filmed during last winter’s tour by members of Warren Miller’s film crew. With their origins in Telluride, every member is a snow-sporter in some way; Travis, Nershi and Kang all telemark ski, Hollingsworth skis on alpine equipment, while Mosley is the one snowboarder. But Nershi says there won’t be any shots of him leaping off cliffs.
“I only go really big if you push me off of something. (The DVD) is not hairball, just fun. I’m not that into going big. “
The band’s busy schedule has only helped them to find success. Constant touring is at the heart of Nershi’s advice to mountain-town bands that want more.
“Be willing to go on the road and play music all year long for a few years,” said Nershi. “We had two years where we played 450 gigs in two years. You got to be willing to do a lot of legwork and drop your life, put whatever else you’re doing on hold for a while.”
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