DISPATCH Interview at Levitate

Music Reviews :: 07.12.17
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In the middle of an action-packed Saturday at the Levitate Music Festival, 88.9’s Alex Waters took a break and sat down with headliners Dispatch. From the air-conditioned comfort of their tour bus, Alex and band members Chad Urmston and Brad Corrigan escaped the heat and talked about the festival, ‘dream’ covers, and their documentary Last Dispatch.

Check out the full video interview here.

ALEX WATERS: It’s been a great afternoon so far, a lot of great bands. You guys been checking out the festival at all?

BRAD CORRIGAN: Slowly but surely, yeah.

ALEX: Seen anything good? Seen anything you like?

CHAD URMSTON: Deer Tick, Rubblebucket, there was a horn band over here earlier {gestures in direction of stage}, I didn’t catch their name.

BRAD: I liked the Revivalists, the lead singer’s voice is pretty gravelly. We were saying he could do a good CCR [Credence Clearwater Revival] cover.

ALEX: For sure, that’d be great to hear, huh? Speaking of covers and stuff, I know when you guys go on tour, it can be difficult to play the same songs over and over again, sometimes you need a little cover or something like that to spice it up. Do you guys have any go-to songs that you like to pull out and surprise people when you’re out on tour?

CHAD: We usually come up with one per tour, but it changes, ‘cause if you pull out that same cover for longer than a year…

BRAD: Yeah you don’t want it to be too predictable. It’s fun, though, to pick one that hopefully gets a little bit tighter and a little bit more unique each time each time you play it. But yeah, we have a long list of songs that we still wish we had time to incorporate into the set.

ALEX: So what’s that song for this tour, if I may ask? Do I have to wait and find out?

CHAD: No, it’s “Time.” Pink Floyd.

ALEX: Oh boy, that’s cool!

CHAD: [Gestures to Brad] He plays David Gilmour.

BRAD: It really is fun. We were hoping we’d have “Uncle John’s Band” done by this tour too. It’s flyable, but we don’t want it to just be flyable. A song like that; any of these you really want it…

ALEX: You want it to be tight.

BRAD: Yeah, you want to bring your best to it.

CHAD: We might try to bring out a Bob Marley cover tonight for the first time.

ALEX: Which one?

CHAD: We haven’t really played it. “Could You Be Loved.”

ALEX: Oh, a classic.

BRAD: We tried it yesterday at soundcheck and it had some energy to it.

ALEX: Nice. Well that would be very exciting if you guys pull that out. Do you have a wish list of “dream” covers that you guys would play? If you could play any song right now as a cover, whether you rehearsed it or not.

CHAD: I would play “It’s the End of the World as We Know It.”

ALEX: Very good one, yeah.

BRAD: And I think… [Starts humming melody and snapping fingers]

CHAD: [Guessing melody] Zeppelin. Is that “Four Sticks”?

ALEX: I think that’s “Four Sticks,” right?

BRAD: “Four Sticks?”

ALEX: Something along those lines.

(The melody was indeed from Led Zeppelin’s “Four Sticks.”}

ALEX: Both cool covers, yeah. Maybe you guys will pull them out in the future. So I was reading about your career and all that in the past, and it was, I guess, ten, twelve years ago that you put out the documentary The Last Dispatch. I was wondering how you guys still feel about that now, over a decade later. Do you ever go back and watch it and go, “Boy, we’ve changed?” How does that feel now?

BRAD: [To Chad] When’s the last time you saw it? Did you ever see it at all?

CHAD: I don’t know, right after it was made? My experience with that day, or a good residual from that day, is meeting people who were at that show. It was our biggest show ever. But it was a moment in time for us, and for some of the people in the crowd too, it seems. And so it’s really fun when someone’s like, “I was at that show.” It’s like an instant connection.

ALEX: For sure. [To Brad] What do you think about it now?

BRAD: I mean, the setup for it was, we were just trying our hardest to be friends even though we were burned out.

ALEX: Right.

BRAD: So like, “C’mon, it will be fun, it will be a blast, and maybe we won’t play again.” There’s just so much going through our heads when you’re in a place where we’re not thinking that clearly. But then the show was so beautiful, such a great ride, and, I think, still the three of us felt like, “Cool, let’s have it send us on our way.” And it’s funny, it was kind of the last of something, and also the first of something.

And I think the film – I watched it probably like five or six years ago – and I’m like, dude, it‘s just totally valid to that time. The three of us were trying to figure out how to answer a lot of the biggest questions in our own lives, and it’s so hard to do that with three brothers around the same identity or the same one microphone. So all the tensions that we felt, they were really real. But it’s kind of cool to look back and be like, “We dealt with it as head-on as we could.”

And then because of all the breaks, and giving each other the space to be like, “Hey, I don’t know if we really agree right now but I love and respect you. Cheers.” You know, hope to cross paths again. That energy somehow has kind of brought all the little rafts back together.

ALEX: Yeah, ‘cause now you guys are back together, obviously, and back on the road. Do you see another Last Dispatch in the future or is it all just smooth sailing from now?

CHAD: I don’t know, I mean, there’s a renewed commitment with this record and this tour. And I think Brad and I feel pretty good. It’s hard because we don’t have Pete with us, who was our mate for the last 20 years, and he’s not playing on this tour and is going through his struggle with depression, and decided give us the green light in playing, but that he was going to stay home and focus on getting healthy. So we kind of have this simultaneous renewed commitment to the band, and then Pete got real sick.

BRAD: Pretty surreal.

ALEX: Right. Something that I guess you guys kind of have to deal with as a group. Is any of that what went into the writing of your recent releases, like “Only the Wild Ones,” for example. That’s a song that we’ve been playing quite a bit on 88.9. What sort of got channeled into that song, lyrically? You know, where does it come from?

CHAD: Part of that is Pete’s represented in that. There’s two main characters in that song, two best friends from the two different colleges I went to. But Pete and I used to go to thrift stores a lot with my friend Trevor, and we used to have fun up in those mountains, the Green Mountains. I still feel that when I’m singing that song, that there’s part of Pete that I’m singing about too. 

BRAD: And I would hear these legendary stories through Pete. Pete and Chad were in a band, and Pete and I were doing a little acoustic duo thing, and I would hear from Pete about his crazy, dreadlocked friend who just skateboarded naked through town. How they would go bridge jumping or jump on trains. We have kind of a shared bank of memories whether we experienced them firsthand or not, and to be singing it now, it’s got a really sweet nostalgia to it.

ALEX: That’s great! So the last thing I wanted to touch on, speaking of the sweetness, is I know you guys have been involved with some charities and non-profit work in the past. How important is that to you as a group? Would you be incomplete, so to speak, as a band without that?

CHAD: I think so.

BRAD: It’s really grounding.

CHAD: And also just to feel like you’re out on the road, with the music, but also some other kind of movement. And they can go together, but that there’s something else going on too. This year it’s been mental wellness, trying to de-stigmatize depression or just the things that people struggle with, and they often feel so guarded about being open with that, through Pete’s example. He wrote a letter to the fan base and we’ve been saying just a little something from stage every night. We have a little village in the venues that we go to that we put out, that’s just kind of this sanctuary for people to come in.

BRAD: Anything to do with wellness.

ALEX: That’s so awesome. Thanks, guys, so much!

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