The members of the Boulder-bred String Cheese Incident still are debating their future plans, but they say they knew the magic was still intact at last summer’s reunion at the Rothbury Festival in Michigan.
The band’s festival performance and fan reaction sparked String Cheese to think about 2010, and the wheels started churning.
Who: The String Cheese Incident
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday
Where: Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison
Cost: SOLD OUT
This year, String Cheese focused on playing select shows. The band decided to host unique “Incidents” at Red Rocks, Horning’s Hideout in Oregon and the Hampton Coliseum in Virginia.
It was no surprise that the band’s Red Rocks shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday — the band’s first Colorado concerts in three years — immediately sold out.
“We’ve been working our asses off to get ready for Red Rocks,” keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth said in a recent interview. “We’ve been rehearsing six hours a day for the last two months. We’re ready to start jamming.
“We definitely went through a lot of material at the rehearsals. We revisited a lot of old songs and gave them some new spice.”
The String Cheese Incident had a successful run on the Colorado and national music scenes through the ’90s and most of the 2000s. The band’s fusion of jam, bluegrass, funk, world music and jazz elements scored big with fans that enjoyed variety in their musical mix.
The group was on a roll, but decided to go on hiatus in 2007. Guitarist Billy Nershi left to work on his solo career, so the rest of the group started exploring side projects as well.
“This hiatus was really helpful in letting us pursue other creative interests — and helped us clear our heads about String Cheese stuff,” Hollingsworth said. “We decided that we wanted to keep our shows special and unique, and do less road trips.”
Hollingsworth said the bandmembers’ extracurricular activities have brought a new energy to the String Cheese Incident.
“Playing in other bands brings different music to the String Cheese table,” Hollingsworth said. “That diversity keeps things interesting. Our sound is always evolving and we’re always stretching musical boundaries.
“We’re now bringing something new to the grooves and the music.”
String Cheese reunited for last summer’s Rothbury Festival and the show left the band with a very good feeling.
“When we walked off the stage at Rothbury, we knew we wanted to do this some more,” Hollingsworth said. “We wanted to do something in the summer and we wanted to make sure it was fun.
“This summer, we decided to make every show unique and special. We also wanted to see how these shows went.”
The band decided to host select 2010 “Incidents” and set about picking their favorite venues.
“We made a list of out favorite places to play and we started thinking about all the venues we loved,” Hollingsworth said. “We knew we had to play Red Rocks, and Horning’s is one of our favorite places.
“We also talked about the East Coast. We picked Hampton because it was a classic Grateful Dead concert place.”
String Cheese is still in serious rehearsal mode for this weekend’s Red Rocks’ shows.
The band will play a different set each night, perform special cover tunes and show off some very cool musical transitions.
“We’re really trying to make all the shows different,” Hollingsworth said. “Red Rocks will be a little more rocking. Horning’s is a camping festival, so we’ll be playing special song selections that will fit that venue.”
String Cheese also is broadcasting the 2010 concerts on iClips for fans that couldn’t score concert tickets.
The String Cheese players are keeping one foot in their solo projects, while peeking ahead to SCI’s future.
Hollingsworth is working on his own band and his homebrewing business. Tonight, he’s presenting the Kyle Brew Fest at Denver’s Great Divide Brewery.
For now, the String Cheese Incident’s excited to have sold out Red Rocks and Horning’s Hideout. The band’s Hulaween shows in Hampton won’t be far behind.
“We’re very excited, amazed and happy that our fanbase is out there — and they’re ready for more Cheese,” Hollingsworth said. “We also want to make sure that we’re doing this for us. We want to enjoy what we’re playing.”
So will there be more String Cheese Incident’s in the future?
“There are some thoughts about 2011 going around the table,” Hollingsworth said. “We’ll definitely be playing next year, but we haven’t decided where. We’ll go with what makes sense with all our schedules.
“We’re definitely going to be working on our side projects, but ultimately when it all comes down to it, String Cheese is the main focus.”