Umphrey’s McGee’s Kris Myers & Moe.’s Chuck Garvey Talk All Things Summer Camp Music Festival [Interview]

first_imgNow that May is upon us and the weather’s warming up, music fans’ thoughts have shifted toward the coming summer festival season. As always, Summer Camp Music Festival will take place in Chillicothe, IL over Memorial Day weekend, May 24th–26th (with a pre-party on May 23rd), to help kick off our favorite time of year.In addition to three days of performances from host bands moe. and Umphrey’s McGee, this year’s Summer Camp will feature sets from a diverse selection of top-tier rock, jam, funk, electronic, reggae, and hip-hop acts, including Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Big Gigantic, STS9, Zeds Dead, Rebelution, Chromeo (Live), Oteil & Friends, Gramatik, Flux Pavilion, Lotus, Trampled By Turtles, Blues Traveler, Toots and The Maytals, and a rare reunion of Black Star, the lauded duo comprised of Yasin Bey (a.k.a Mos Def) and Talib Kweli, among many others.With Summer Camp right around the corner, Live For Live Music talked to moe. guitarist Chuck Garvey and Umphrey’s McGee drummer Kris Myers about how the two bands came together in the very beginning, their favorite musical memories from the festival, bands they would like to see make their Summer Camp debuts, and more.Live For Live Music: Can you talk about what brought moe. and Umphrey’s McGee together in the beginning?Chuck Garvey (moe.): Ian Goldberg is the link. We played at the Canopy Club in Champaign (where he promoted shows), as well as starting our yearly visits to Chillicothe, Illinois and the Summer Camp Music Festival that we all know and love. Umphrey’s followed a similar path and Ian knew they would be great at SCAMP.Kris Myers (Umphrey’s McGee): After I joined Umphrey’s in 2003, it seemed that there was already an established relationship with moe. There may have been an invite from Al [Schnier] to have Brendan [Bayliss] sit in with moe. at one of the Bonnaroos (not sure what year). I couldn’t tell you when UM befriended moe., but I know that there was already a genuine respect for each other.They have always been extremely supportive of us and we found that there was a genuine friendship throughout. They never seemed to have any problems with having us as part of any of their touring and festival plays, and we’ve felt a team-like ethos with them throughout our career.L4LM: Was the original vision to have an all-inclusive festival with various genres, or did the electronic involvement become more present as the EDM scene got bigger?CG: The original weekends were jam band-centric with Leftover Salmon, Galactic, Gov’t Mule, The String Cheese Incident, Aquarium Rescue Unit, and more on the lineup. Over time, the festival grew and diversified as the scene did. Bluegrass, EDM, Psychedelic Improv, laptops, and Gypsy punks all became a part of the scene.KM: I would say yes to both of those questions. In the early 2000s, there were only a few artists who had electronic elements, as well as live elements of improvisation. Bands that come to mind are Particle, The New Deal, Benevento Russo Duo, and Future Rock. Most of the artists were some of the 2nd-3rd wave jam bands of the 90’s culture such as Keller Williams, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Leftover Salmon, moe., Jazz Mandolin Project, Oteil & the Peacemakers, and more.At that time (2003-2008-ish), the term “EDM” wasn’t even coined until the late 2000s (2010 perhaps), when the American music industry started to push that term to the masses in order to push a re-birth of the club and rave culture. EDM was glorifying the DJ in a live setting, and Summer Camp was one of those festivals that felt no other choice but to include it in the mix, due to its commanding popularity.L4LM: What do you look forward to every year at Summer Camp?CG: Seeing a bunch of friends and bands that I don’t get to see all year! Also, getting that feeling of kicking off a new summer festival season with moderate amounts of throwing down.KM: I like the communal aspect of the festival. After all these years of playing festivals all over the world, Summer Camp has always been a symbol of my roots, family members, and home friendships, all of which happen to be at Summer Camp throughout the ages. This is a unique and amazing aspect of Summer Camp that I look forward to every year.L4LM: Umphrey’s and moe. have both been an integral part of the scene for over 20 years. What bands have you discovered through Summer Camp that you’ve gone on to play or collaborate with?KM: I wasn’t familiar with Jeff Coffin & the Mu’tet, Jazz Mandolin Project, Oteil & the Peacemakers, Victor Wooten Band, or Future Rock until I first saw them at Summer Camp. I was already familiar with everyone else on the lineup. We collaborated with moe. pretty frequently, as well as The Disco Biscuits, The New Deal, Keller Williams, Yonder Mountain String Band, Les Claypool, and various other artists.CG: The amazing list of collaborations and sit-ins (it’s a long list) makes me proud to be a part of this every year. I feel like half of the musicians I know, I met through Summer Camp! There have been times where I have discovered an artist and listened to them for years but finally got to see them live at SCAMP. A perfect example of this is Andrew Bird or White Denim. I guess all the talented, interesting people come to Summer Camp sooner or later!L4LM: Looking back, what are some of your favorite memories of the festival?KM: In 2008, I enjoyed joining up with Vinnie Amico, Stephen Perkins, and Andy Farag to present a small drum masterclass in the small church on site. I also enjoyed the late-night shows in the Barn (after they finally installed proper air conditioning) and side projects including Drop Q, Digital Tape Machine, and Dookie.CG: Some of the crazy production stuff that our crew has unleashed on unsuspecting crowds here, including lasers, smoke, mechanized lighting, and surround sound. One year they built towers that Al (Schnier) and I climbed, allowing us to pull off extreme guitar moves à la your favorite hair metal band.We have had some great collaborations with Melvin Seals, Keller Williams, Ivan Neville, Umphrey’s McGee, and Warren Haynes, that we have been lucky to share with thousands and thousands of people.L4LM: Describe Summer Camp in one word.CG: Musicpartyfuncampawesometastic.KM: Bliss L4LM: Of course, sit-ins have occurred, and Umphrey’s and moe. have covered each other’s material. Has the idea of collaborating more throughout a full show ever been discussed?CG: Yes!KM: Yes, I believe so, but the reality of the situation is that we can only collaborate so much due to time constraints.L4LM: Are there any bands that you would still like to see make their Summer Camp debut?KM: I have always thought it would be great to see Oz Noy break into the jam culture. He’s a world-class artist with a world class band, and his newest project is very deeply rooted in grooves. It reminds me of John Scofield’s Überjam back in the day.CG: Jeff Beck.L4LM: What artists are a MUST-SEE for Summer Camp attendees this year?KM: Toots & the Maytals, Chromeo, Yasiin Bey and Talib Kwali in Blackstar, Here Come the Mummies, Manic Focus, Break Science, Cory Wong, and Doom Flamingo!CG: Trampled By Turtles, Blues Traveler, Toots and The Maytals, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, and Cory Wong. You’d best get your dance card straight now, ‘cause there’s a lot to choose from!L4LM: What’s one thing you couldn’t live without over the weekend at Summer Camp?KM: A bandana for covering your face and mouth from the “elements”, including dirt and bugs.CG: One of the fabulous Bloody Marys that always seem to materialize backstage. “Virgin” or “secular”, they make a great day even better.Three-day passes and Sunday 1-Day tickets to Summer Camp Music Festival are on sale now via the event’s website, so grab them before it’s too late!last_img

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