CURE FOR THE COMMON

Montana-Grown Electro Thunder Funk

Bozeman, Montana grown Electro Thunder Funk Band

2015: Our Year in Retrospect

2015 has been a groundbreaking year for us. By the time we ring in 2016 at the Knotty Pine in Victor, Idaho, we will have played 100 shows in 17 states, and traveled upwards of 35,000 miles in pursuit of rock and roll. Let's take a look at how it all went down.

In January, we began recording our third studio album, "The Squeeze," knowing full well that the entire production of the album had to be ready for us to release and take with us on the road in April. Somehow, through a series of small miracles and the tireless efforts of Mr. Jesse "Papa" Barney, we finished recording, editing, mixing, and mastering the album in four short months. It was crazy. 

In April, we threw a ridiculous party at Bozeman's newest, nicest venue, and bottled up all the hometown energy we could for a summer that would take us further beyond our confines than this band had ever gone before.

Tower of Squeeze - Pub Station, Billings, MT

Tower of Squeeze - Pub Station, Billings, MT

"The Squeeze" Release Party at Faultline North, Bozeman, MT

"The Squeeze" Release Party at Faultline North, Bozeman, MT

We were lucky to finally be visiting a bunch of places that many of us had never experienced outside of an airport or an interstate. We played shows for folks who had no idea who we were, what we were about, and in a few surprising cases, where exactly Montana was. 

We visited family and friends that we hadn’t seen for far too long. Frank got to return home to his native Tallahassee and finally bring this crazy band back to show his family and friends what he had been doing with his time and energy. I was reunited with my Cousin Pippin, Aunt Polly, and Uncle Phil, who Pippin figured I hadn't seen in 17 years!

Along the way, we played in tiny, smoke-filled bars for a dozen people. We played on towering festival stages for hundreds, and sometimes thousands of people. We played everything in between and got to experience the variety of emotions that accompany the experience of live music.

Moods of the Madison - Ennis, MT

Moods of the Madison - Ennis, MT

Purple Hatter's Ball - Live Oak, FL

Purple Hatter's Ball - Live Oak, FL

We played Purple Hatter's Ball in Live Oak, FL, where we swam in the amber-dyed Suwannee River by day, and got lost in the maze of trees and tents as the party raged on after dark. We played two thrilling sets for great crowds, met some truly wonderful humans, and experienced all the magic of the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park first hand. It's a beautiful place, and if you have the chance, go there.

We were granted three kick ass sets at Wakarusa and made the most of our opportunity to step up our game and experience a national festival from the other side of the stage. Let me tell you, it was as hot as anything out there in Arkansas in June, but it looked and sounded gooood. Especially considering that we had a die-hard crew of 20+ Montana Family dancing and smiling back at us for each set. You guys are true rock stars, and we can't wait to make our way back to Mulberry Mountain with you someday, if we're so lucky.

Festy cred.

Festy cred.

Galactic + Macy Gray from backstage at Wakarusa

Galactic + Macy Gray from backstage at Wakarusa

We made fans and friends in the most unexpected situations. We worked with some amazing sound, lighting, and production professionals, and shared stages with some incredibly talented bands that are on the top of their respective games. 

Twiddle + KD + CFTC? What a blast.

Twiddle + KD + CFTC? What a blast.

Eli Winderman (Dopapod) sitting in at Moods of the Madison in Ennis, MT.

Eli Winderman (Dopapod) sitting in at Moods of the Madison in Ennis, MT.

In between the gigs, we sampled the local fare... at Waffle House, Bojangles, Whataburger, and more. 

 We ran out of gas once in Tennessee, and blew up a wheel bearing once in Montana, but miraculously, we and never missed a show, and never got robbed blind.

 

In Asheville, we had what most of us would consider a pinnacle musical experience, opened a festival at one of the best venues in the Southeast, saw Snarky Puppy crush our minds, then shared beers, conversation, and a cheesy 90s gangster pic with them. Pretty sweet.

Michael, Nate, Mike, and Cory of Snarky Puppy

Michael, Nate, Mike, and Cory of Snarky Puppy

We drank a lot of great beer and ate at Waffle House again... a few times. Occasionally at 3am. Once after the Tuesday Funk Jam at Asheville Music Hall. Thanks to Derrick Johnson of Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band for inviting us to play a few tunes!

The funkiest wild sour beers Asheville has to offer

The funkiest wild sour beers Asheville has to offer

Mmm... Waffle House.

Mmm... Waffle House.

In Florida, Oboz Footwear sent us a care package from their HQ in Bozeman and graced us with some fresh kicks for our tired and trail-worn feet. We played a lot of disc golf, hiked around a bunch of beautiful forests, and experience a lot of neat nature in those puppies. Highly recommended.

Fresh Oboz kicks for tired feet!

Fresh Oboz kicks for tired feet!

Frank delivering a nice drive through the trees in WV.

Frank delivering a nice drive through the trees in WV.

We toured the Big House / Allman Brothers’ museum in Macon, Georgia, surveying the perfectly preserved history of some of our greatest musical heroes. At the end, we couldn't help but take our own version of the famous album cover.

We got pulled over at an Agricultural check station in Florida, but Frank got us through by singing “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” to the nice inspector lady. If only we had a recording of that moment...

We got a taste of Frank's childhood retreat at St. Theresa, where we ate Gator tail, Grouper, fresh Gulf shrimp, and more delicious sea food caught a mile down the way. We felt the salty sea air blow in off the ocean as we enjoyed some of our stash of ice-cold Montana spirits we had tucked away for special occasions. Thanks to Phil at Wildrye Distilling for providing us a delicious taste of Montana all the way on the other side of the country!

Mmm. Wildrye Spirits on the beach!

Mmm. Wildrye Spirits on the beach!

And Corona & Lime too... Couldn't help it.

And Corona & Lime too... Couldn't help it.

We crashed on the floors of so many generous people across the country and slept in the van more times that we or our aching bodies care to remember. We got funky, got weird, and then got up early to hit the road bound for our next adventure in rock and roll.

Ouch dude.

Ouch dude.

We didn’t always have time to sleep, and Frank diligently drove us through the night enough times to make all of our mothers insane with worry (Shh... don't tell!). Along the way, we experienced the beauty, depth, and complexity of the 17 different states we visited. Everything from breathtaking landscapes to subtle messages and uncelebrated works of art tucked unceremoniously into alleyways and bathroom stalls.

A waterfront awakening outside Huntington, WV.

A waterfront awakening outside Huntington, WV.

A hilarious bathroom mirror in St. Louis, MO.

A hilarious bathroom mirror in St. Louis, MO.

A back alley masterpiece in Knoxville, TN.

A back alley masterpiece in Knoxville, TN.

We played, we laughed, we fought, we made up, and we learned about ourselves, each other, and our hopes and dreams for the future. At the end of the summer, we made one of the hardest decisions we’ve ever faced, and parted ways with Weston, one of our dearest friends and a founding member of this insane circus called Cure for the Common. He's a fearless leader and a damn fine guitar player, and you should check him out online, on Facebook, and in person if you ever get the chance.

56 holes of mini golf for Weston's 27th birthday. Denver, CO.

56 holes of mini golf for Weston's 27th birthday. Denver, CO.

This Fall, we took some time away to reflect on the wake of such a fundamental shift in our life as a band. Of course, we knew we had no choice but to dive headlong into writing new music and redefining our purpose and direction before we hit the road again. We took some new material on our longest tour of the West Coast and felt both the joy and pain that change can bring. We made our way down from Seattle to San Francisco and experienced an entirely different side of the culture of this country than the previous months had afforded.

We pulled into home just in time to prep for a two-night run of Halloween shows with our boys, The Kitchen Dwellers. We worked up some super jam tunes and had a blast rocking out with our friends. That's really what music is all about.

Glamour Shots at Practice

Glamour Shots at Practice

Halloween super jam with the Dwellers at Faultline North in Bozeman!

Halloween super jam with the Dwellers at Faultline North in Bozeman!

As we take some more time off to celebrate the holidays and reflect, it's safe for us to say that these last 12 months have been a whirlwind, an adventure, a struggle, a vacation, a learning experience, a challenge, a joy, and an honor, all wrapped into one blistering year of music and travel. It goes without saying that we consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have been blessed with the times we’ve had, and the times we have yet to come!

We could not write a post like this without thanking you for being there for us, for listening to our music, dancing at a show, buying a tee shirt, growing with us as our sound and abilities evolve, and for offering your good vibes, your couch, your food, your smiles and your love. You mean the world to us, and we legitimately could not do it without your support. We can't thank you enough, and will always save you a place to stay and a cold beer to drink if you ever find yourself in up here in the Northern Rockies.

We hope the holiday season finds you living well, traveling safely, and spending quality time with the people you love. We'll see you out on the road soon in 2016!

<3

Joe, Garrett, Steve, Matt, Jodan & Frank

Recap: Contour

It's hard to know what to expect from the inaugural year of a music festival. If the high-caliber line up wasn't enough of an indication, we knew this was going to be a serious event when we got our first glimpse of the grounds on Thursday afternoon. The main stage was set, large decorative shade canopies were going up, and volunteers and staff with radios and clipboards were hustling around to get the place in shape before the guests arrived the following day.

Our first set wasn't until the next day, but parts of our lighting rig were being enlisted at the Pink Garter to augment our show with Papadosio the next night, so Frank set out a plan of attack with their LD and we were off to make ourselves at home in the Teton Valley.

Learning our lessons from Wakarusa, we spent the next day in our hotel rooms, doing our best to stay out of the blazing Rocky Mountain sun. The load in at the Pink Garter is notoriously long and tiresome, requiring us and our crew of homies to drag our gear through a serpentine maze of hallways, stairwells and dumbwaiters to get to the second-floor theater. We didn't know what to expect for a crowd, since our set began at the exact same time The Polish Ambassador finished on the main stage.

At 10pm we were off to the races, playing our hottest hour of electro funk as folks streamed in from the main stage. We were thrilled to be entertaining a rowdy crowd of show goers by the middle of our set, and the energy kept building from there! Late Night Radio took over as we shuffled our gear off the stage, and Papadosio threw down a fire set to close the first night's festivities. Despite a little obligatory stress and chaos, I'd call night one a complete success.

Cure for the Common - Late night at the Pink Garter - Photos courtesy of Jeffrey Neubauer - Neubauermedia.com

Matt Rogers

Garrett Rhinard

The next day was an early one given the late night we had just experienced. Before Noon, Frank and I hustled down to the main stage to load in my drums for our boys, Sneaky Pete and the Secret Weapons to back line. It may go unnoticed to most festival goers, but change overs take up a bunch of time and energy for bands and stage crews, so whenever there's a possibility of sharing (back lining) equipment like drums and bass amps, it's much appreciated by all involved. Plus, it usually gets the next band going in much less time!

We were up next and my work was already mostly done, so I set out working on a set list, slamming water, and again, keeping my freckled ginger ass out of the heat. We played another strong hour, this time of much more laid back mid-afternoon summer timey tunes to suit the laid back atmosphere in the main festival grounds. It's interesting how much our approach to a set can change between two different settings. The way the sound compresses in a room versus booms off of a large outdoor stage impacts the way we feel our music, and the way the crowd reacts in turn. Adapting to these changes is one of the most entertainingly challenging parts of playing in diverse environments.

Cure for the Common - Photos courtesy of Jeffrey Neubauer - Neubauermedia.com

Steve Brown

Steve Brown

Weston Lewis

Jordan Rodenbiker

After the set, our work for the weekend was officially done, so we cracked into our cooler full of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and started the party! We were stoked to hear and meet The Congress from Denver for the first time after our set. They're a bunch of cool dudes with a killer sound and tight songs. We'll be working on getting them up to our neck of the woods soon.

Later that night we had the pleasure of splitting our attention between four amazing acts. Moon Taxi was blowing the roof off the main stage when we decided we had to bolt to catch Quixotic at the Jackson Performing Arts Center. Our good buddy Jason Meyers had recommended them highly, but we were still shocked to walk in on what I can only describe as a multimedia-infused performing arts spectacle of electronic dance music, accompanied by live drums, violin, dance, film, and acrobatics... all in a pristine experiential environment. It was a trip, and definitely not what any of us expected to see.

We left there wide-eyed and ready for the next treat of the night: a Steely Dan tribute performed by The Nth Power featuring the Orgone horn section. As huge Steely Dan nerds, it was everything we hoped for and more... They played a bunch of our favorite tunes, including Peg, Black Bow, Kid Charlemagne, The Fez, an obligatory Reelin' In The Years (meh), and a kick ass Aja (complete with Nikki Glaspie-meets Steve Gadd drum solo) to end the set. It was absolute fire! Orgone closed out the night with their high-powered, latin groove-driven LA funk. Day two: success.

The next day, about half the band took off for home. Right on the heels of Wakarusa, it was clear they had seen enough fun for one weekend. With home so close, I can't blame them for getting in a little extra home time. Myself, Frank, Jordan, Weston, and Steve stayed to experience the third and final day, and I'm damn sure glad we did.

Roosevelt Collier's Gospel Brunch kicked off our day, which got off to another late start after the previous night. Roosevelt is a master of the pedal steel guitar, and he serenaded our souls with some heartfelt gospel blues. Of course, he was backed by none other than The Nth Power's Nikki Glaspie on drums, Nate Edgar on Bass, and Courtney Smith on Hammond B3 organ. It was one of those sets that legitimately brought tears to my eyes, just like the West African music of Benyoro from Purple Hatter's Ball. Truly beautiful music that brought a continuous stream of tingles to my spine.

We returned to the main stage an hour or two later for The Nth Power's original set, which was equally as impressive as their tribute the previous night. Charles Bradley brought some serious funk and soul to the stage after that, and one of my favorite bands of all time, Thievery Corporation, closed the main stage down with a fiery two-hour set of dance music performed (mostly) by their extensive live band. Their array of six amazing vocalists brought each song to life just as they sound on the albums. It was by far the largest crowd of the weekend, and my favorite main stage set that appropriately drove the contour of intensity to its peak.

We boogied back down town to catch the final late night sets, featuring our Seattle friends, McTuff, and the new British funk of The New Mastersounds. If that wasn't the perfect way to end a great weekend, then a Monday-morning drive through Yellowstone Park was. The five of us who had stayed were clearly in that conflicted state of being where exhaustion meets the emotional recharge of a powerful weekend of music and great company.

We got home in high spirits, just in time to crash out and prepare for another weekend on the road. Is this the real life, or is this just fantasy? I can almost no longer tell. Thank you all for allowing us to continue to do what we love. We can't do it without you! Oh, and biiig props to our booking agent, Matt Donovan (Matty D) for mastering minding this festival into existence. It was an ambitious endeavor, and we were privileged to have been their to see the staff and volunteers pull it off in grand fashion. I can only hope we get invited back next year.

Up Next on #CureTour:

Thursday, June 18 - Alive After Five - Billings, MT

Friday, June 19 - The Sickhouse - Idaho Falls, ID

Saturday, June 20 - Snowbird Resort - Snowbird, UT

Recap: Wakarusa

There was a bit of confusion when we made our inaugural ascent to the grounds at Mulberry Mountain in Ozark, AR. It was profoundly hot and humid, we had driven 10 hours a day for the past two days, and our crew of Montana Family had grown to a staggering 22 people in the process. For the band and many of our crew, it was our first Wakarusa ever, so we wanted to do it right. Jason, our Waka veteran, helped make sense of it all so that eventually, everyone got in the gates together to camp as a tribe. 

Waka credentials. Legit.

Waka credentials. Legit.

Once inside, the band separated from the crew to go find artist camping, trailer parking, credentials, and the stage we would be playing for the pre-party that night. We hustled to set up our camp so we could grab a bite in the main lodge before our set. When we first got the stage a kick ass Nashville band called Koa was playing some soulful horn-infused rock to kick off the day.

This was of course only Wednesday, technically day one of our five-day festival experience.

We were up next, second of three bands on one of two active stages that night. In typical festival fashion, we showed up early and started setting up our gear side stage so the change over would be lightning fast. Just as we suspected, the stage crew was a well-oiled machine, and before we could blink, we were on stage, set up, sound checked, and ready to shred. We had written a fiery set list for our only nighttime set of the festival (and first of two sets with our two-piece horn section), and let it rip as the sun set and the crowds came streaming in. We played really well, and by the end of "Pinnacle" two thirds of the way through our set, the roar from the crowd was deafening. It sure was a surreal way to kick off the weekend!

Our next set was in the afternoon the following day on the second largest stage on the grounds. The Revival Tent, as it's known, would come to host bands we've admired for many years, so it felt crazy that we were invited to play that same stage on our first outing. In the spirit of throwing down as hard as they would, we crafted our strongest 90 minute set, featuring zero repeat songs from the previous day's performance, and got to work slamming water and trying to stay cool in the 90 degree heat. Go time rolled around and we piece our stage together as quickly as ever. The amount of space up there was enormous, and a far cry larger than the stages we're used to playing on. The heat made it's mark on the midday set but didn't dampen the intensity of our effort or the spirit of those in attendance. Once again, the Montana Family was there in force to support, along with a few hundred other festival goers scattered about under the tent, just trying to stay out of the oppressive heat.

Talk about heat! Amidst the temperature, I had neglected to eat lunch, and that lack of fuel weighed on my ability to concentrate and execute as well as I have come to expect from myself. It's one of those things that was (hopefully) more apparent to me and the band than to the crowd, but in the middle of our longest set on our largest stage of the weekend, I felt it as one of those learning moments I would remember from "my first Wakarusa." One of those moments where I promised myself I would never make that mistake again.

With our first two out of three sets in the books, we returned to the regular daily regimen of trying to stay hydrated and cool so we could make it through the three remaining days on the Mountain. Somewhere along the line, one of us located the artist lounge and we realized that there was more to this whole "festival band" thing than we first knew. Air conditioning, bathrooms, showers, shade, cold water and beer? Hey, we could get used to this.

Midday on Friday, we made our way out of the main venue and down to the Riverside Stage, where we would play our final set the next day. This section of the festival was a whole new world in and of itself, complete with camping, facilities, and a shuttle to traffic festival goers up to the main venue and back. It was its own little outpost, with the stage facing the beautiful green body of flowing water known as the Mulberry River. When we arrived there were a few hundred people out there enjoying its ice cold relief from the intense Arkansas sun. Needless to say, we were excited to play our final set in such a laid back setting where we could really let it all hang out. 

Galactic + Macy Gray on the Waka main stage

Galactic + Macy Gray on the Waka main stage

The rest of the day flew by as we skipped from stage to stage watching some of our favorite bands, catching up with old friends, and making many new ones. Despite the desire to party all night and see all the incredible talent, we were finally figuring out that we had to get to bed at a reasonable hour because the morning sun would sweat us out of our tents by 8am.

Saturday rolled around and the hot, clear weather had turned to spotty cloud cover. The forecast was threatening thunderstorms in the afternoon and we were crossing our fingers that our last set wouldn't be the victim of Mother Nature's whim. After all, we had lucked out immensely thus far. The entire region had been storming and flooding for two or three weeks prior, and while some of the grounds were a little soggy, there was hardly a sign of Mother Nature's wrath all weekend. As we made our way down to the Riverside Stage for our final set, the clouds rolled in. Thunder began to boom in the distance, and our fears were becoming closer to reality. With the threat of lightning, the operations staff had chosen to evacuate everyone from the beach only two hours before our set. As we came rolling in to set up and sound check, we witnessed the exodus of thousands of people that would have otherwise been our audience. We reached the stage to park and to our surprise, sitting there defiantly undeterred by staff or weather, was our Montana Family. What a welcomed sight to see.

After a little waiting around, the weather cleared in plenty of time for us to set up and get ready to play. The stage staff bumped set break music as loudly as they could to try to coax people back from the campsite and the line for the shuttle, but to little avail. As it happened, we ended up playing a great set to just our Montana Family plus a few dozen others. We even had a special guest, Alex Steele, formerly of Roster McCabe, come up and sit in on Jamiroquai's "Black Capricorn Day," which was a great tune we hadn't played for some time.

In an effort to return the favor and loyalty our friends had shown us by sticking it out to see all three of our sets, we crammed all 20+ people into the van and trailer to avoid the immensely long shuttle line, and made our way back up the mountain to the main venue. Our sets were done, and we spent Saturday night celebrating a successful first Wakarusa.

On Sunday, we ran around to catch the last of the bands we wanted to see before splitting early to get a jump on the travel back to Montana. After a brief sleep over at Cousin Ryan's house and a straight shot 24-hour drive back to Bozeman, we're all home safe and sound, resting up for this weekend's outing to Contour Music Festival in Jackson Hole, WY. Can't wait!

Day 4/31: Fargo, ND

Today was a fine day in Fargo, ND. It was cold and drizzly with mixed snow and rain all day which was part of what made it an ideal Monday to chill inside, set up our gear, get comfortable, and play some casual music. We broke it down to the details and packed in a lot of material for one session. We fired up some old originals, breathed some new life into a few stagnating sections, and blazed some new trails through improv with the help of some fresh new hand signals. Needless to say, we were firing on all cylinders and letting the improv roll. Spirits we're high.

 

#CureTour rolls on tomorrow. We'll be up before the sun once again for a nice little jaunt down to St. Louis, MO, where we will be playing 2720 Cherokee tomorrow night. Better get some sleep! 

Day 2/31: Grand Forks, ND

Last night was our second trip to El Roco in Grand Forks. Last summer it was a part of a 3-night run from Bismarck to Grand Forks to Fargo, which ended in a hometown throw down in front of Jordan's family and old high school friends. Unfortunately, we're not playing Fargo on this go-round, but the bright side is, a big group of Jordan's friends made the hour trek up to Grand Forks to catch the show. A bunch of them rode up in a stretch limo. One woman at the bar even saw our name on the Wakarusa line up poster and came out to see us as we came through. 

It was great to see our old friends and make some new ones! As always, a million thanks to Hal and Bonnie Rodenbiker for their gracious hospitality! Look out for some audio and video of the show coming soon!

 

Set I:

Shake & Bake

First Light >

Backbone >

Shark Sammy

The Squeeze

Sledgehammer

Gas Can

I Want A New Drug >

Cure The Snucka

Feel Like A Stranger

Big Brother

Digital Blackout

 

Set 2:

Let's Dance

Get Some >

Sammy

Crosseyed & Painless >

Como I

Debra

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

Pinnacle

 

E: Rock The Casbah >

Sammy

 

NEXT UP: Tuesday, 4/21 at 2720 Cherokee, St. Louis, MO