Dispatch: The Road Well-Traveled
On a surprisingly mild Tennessee afternoon in mid-June, the members of Dispatch are relaxing backstage at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. Chad Stokes and Brad Corrigan, two thirds of the band, are watching a few minutes of the Punch Brothers’s set with their longtime manager, Steve Bursky. He first saw Dispatch in high school, eventually joining their team and has since parlayed his experience into a management company that represents the likes of Passion Pit, Dr. Dog, Weird Owl and White Rabbits. Dalton Sim, the band’s other manager who represents groups such as fun. and Guster, is standing a few feet away while Pete Francis, the band’s missing member and new father of an 18-month-old boy, is still on his way to the festival site.
For the past few days, Dispatch have been hunkering down in nearby Nashville trying to figure out how to play the songs off their new album Circles Around the Sun, their first full-length release in 12 years—and first since the band burned out and called it quits just as they started to break into the mainstream.
“We have this backward way of doing things now where we don’t test the songs live before we record them,” says Stokes, the band’s primary guitarist co-lead singer and hippie soul, whose blonde dreads remain the band’s most visible hallmark. “All of a sudden, we’re like, ‘Shit, how are we gonna do that live?’”
When Dispatch headlines the Which Stage later that afternoon, they play for more than 50,000 people. For a large portion of that crowd, the loose-limbed folk/rock/funk/hip-hop troupe was—consciously or not—their gateway into the independent-minded live music scene. For many others, they were also the first band they saw live or even just liked without their parents’ influence.
“There’s this weird phenomenon where people kind of get into us and then, kind of pass us down to their younger cousin—and then, it just keeps rolling,” Stokes says with a chuckle.
While Dispatch wasn’t the first band to benefit from the Internet’s increased power, they helped prove that you could gain national credibility without a major label just as file-sharing started to chip away at the traditional music industry model. Like the Grateful Dead, Phish and Dave Matthews Band before them, they also learned early on that a dedicated fanbase is a more valuable investment than a hit single. But horsing around in their backstage compound at Bonnaroo, the members of Dispatch come across more like retired college athletes than industry trendsetters as they begin to embark on their second run of “reunion” shows.
“We were hanging out and [the reunion] just happened,” says Francis, the cleanest cut member of the band, who’s also responsible for some of the band’s best ballads. “It was pretty spontaneous.”
Stokes adds: “I was really missing Brad’s voice a lot. All our other bands have their own thing but our voices are what make this Dispatch.”
“Whatever, dude! We’d never let you record nine-minute songs like you do [in State Radio]—in drop D!,” chimes in Corrigan with a laugh and pat on Stokes’ shoulder. In the early days, the husky Colorado native served as the band’s chief spokesman and remains the most comfortable doing interviews.
“We all asked each other, ‘Will you listen to this song and tell me what part sucks,’” he continues shifting to a more serious tone. “It’s always a risky thing when you’re being super vulnerable and sharing something personal and meaningful to you—it’s hard to hear if it is negative. [Before we broke up], there was more fear and more insecurity about, ‘Will they like this tune? If they don’t, how will I take it?’ You can feel when there’s a little bit of fear in the room.”
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
- Relix Live Fridays: Trey Anastasio at The Fox
- Grace Potter & The Nocturnals "The Lion The Beast The Beat" (Official Video)
- The Allman Brothers Band Before Gregg?
- The M & Ms: Medeski, Mali, Mercurio, Moore at (Le) Poisson Rouge (A Gallery)
- Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger "The Pequod"
- Trey Anastasio with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center
- More Visions of the Hangout Music Festival 2013 (A Gallery)
- A Blowout for the So So Glos
- Interlocken Festival to Feature Neil Young, Furthur, String Cheese Incident, Black Crowes, Zac Brown and More
- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers "Friend of The Devil" at the Beacon
- The Salvation of Page McConnell (Relix Revisited)
- Interlocken Adds Widespread Panic and John Fogerty, Furthur to Play Workingman’s Dead
- Warren Haynes and Joe Bonamassa "If Heartaches Were Nickels"
- The Final Ingredient in Dogfish Head’s Grateful Dead Tribute Ale Is…
- Stone Gossard Readies His Moonlander
- Trey Anastasio Band at The Hangout (Video Stream)
- Doctor’s Orders: So what should we call the Super Ball IX Newspaper?
- John Kadlecik Posts Statement on Bob Weir’s Collapse
- "I Wanne Be In moe.": The Latest Volunteers
- Bob Weir Escorted Off Stage During Furthur Show
- Furthur Cancels BottleRock Show as Bob Weir Is Out Of Commision
- Vote for Your Favorite "I Wanne Be In moe." Contestant
- Doctor’s Orders: What’s Your Favorite Furthur Song? (Win Copy of Relix Signed by Phil and Bobby)
- On The Verge Poll