INTERVIEW / PHOTOS: Dispatch @ 1ST Bank Center 9/28/12
Friend of LMB CO, Mike Franklin caught Dispatch’s show at 1ST Bank Center. He also got an awesome interview with Brad Corrigan.
Independent music’s biggest rock Band Dispatch just kicked off their Amplifying Education Back-to-School Alternative Break Tour at the 1ST Bank Center in Broomfield, Colorado on September 28th. Band members, Chad Stokes, Brad Corrigan, and Pete Francis finally brought the good vibes back uniting Dispatch and giving rise to their first album in 10 years “Circles Around the Sun.” After collecting over 10,000 Books and raising over $250,000 last year the band has contributed immensely to local literacy programs to keep kids from “falling through the cracks,” as Brad stated in a recent interview. After playing free shows for file sharing activists to supporting Napster’s struggle in congress in 2001 the band has contributed to many powerful acts of social justice.
I had the chance to interview Brad Corrigan about the events that have taken place to inspire Circles around the Sun. Dispatch has turned many challenges into opportunities to give rise to the new album. Brad also mentioned how the band has enough material for two or maybe three more new albums.
LMB: What influences or events have taken place in the past 10 years since the breakup to inspire the creation of “Circles Around the Sun” together?
BC: Chad, Pete and I all having recorded plenty of solo work, I think you just know some songs were made for bigger than our individual solo projects. I think there is just that feeling of being so excited and eager to share a song with your band mates knowing that they bring so much to the table and so much extra energy and arrangement. Also the tension of recording three of us together creates our best art. 10 years of recording songs apart from each other and then just missing each other and being stoked to get the harmonies back and get some of the influences back. It has been quite a journey to get back into recording shape but man… it feels really good!
LMB: In 2011, Dispatch and its fans raised over $250,000 for their Amplifying Education campaign, and this year, $1 from every concert ticket and “Circles Around the Sun” pre-order sold will go to the same cause. Why does the band choose to put its efforts toward education improvements as opposed to other issues in this country?
BC: We think that’s kind of the lowest common denominator and that there are a lot of symptoms in our country that you can try to address or you can go to the root and try to find the cracks in the foundation. If the foundation is strong then hopefully it cures up a lot of other secondary issues in our country but kids in general are falling through the cracks, it’s need blind. There are situations where wealthy folk’s kids are falling through the cracks, poor kids are falling through the cracks. It’s happening to everybody. Some school systems are just not built to support kids these days and unfortunately teachers are being paid less and less and we’re expecting more and more from them. There are surrogate parents and counselors just as much as there are teachers now so school is kind of the last safety net for a high percentage of our generation and the generations to come. If you want to deal with most issues of social justice at the adult level you can trace almost all of it back to whether the child had a good education. Teachers need to be valued more than professional athletes and Hollywood stars otherwise we are going to see it and our country will not be able to write itself. If you lose an entire generation that may be the end, ya know??
LMB: Chad stated on facebook that the story of “Circles Around the Sun” was inspired by the band’s disabled friend, Larry Perry, who was sent into space by NASA in the ’60s. Could you elaborate on that story to enlighten us as to the main themes behind the songs?
BC: Oh yeah sure. For starters Larry has always kind of been part of the Dispatch story. Chad used to work at a camp for adults with disabilities called Jabberwocky for a long time, pretty much for the first seven or eight years Dispatch was a band. If we were playing on the east coast and Chad’s friends were close they would bring their campers. So we would have Larry and a handful of other campers up on stage whether they were in wheel chairs, and some of them could walk just fine. All kinds of interesting challenges, Larry was nonverbal though, and was in a wheel chair, muscle bound, but he communicates with his eyes. The majority of his life no one knew that he was trying to communicate. Only for the last 10-15 years did people understand how to kind of follow his eyes to figure out what he was saying. Chad learned through a long friendship with Larry how much he loved adventure, and that he was always wanting to do fun things, and wanting to be out of his wheel chair and wanted to be taken over the edge of a cliff looking over the Grand Canyon, or to be danced with on stage, be rolled down a hill, go ice blocking. I mean he just was a totally adventurous soul even though he looked like what some people might have thought was weak or not communicative. It was really neat to learn that there’s this beautiful light filled soul inside this body that wasn’t working well for him. Larry died last year and Chad created a story based on the space race. Back in the day when everyone was trying to get to the moon and get up into outer space they were sending animals first then there was.. I don’t know if it was legend or how far they took this, but back in the day when disabled kids and adults weren’t valued or understood in the way they are now some folks saw them as expendable. So the idea was maybe we’ll take someone who’s severally handicapped and put them into outer space and see if they survive it. Chad imagined a story that Larry would have signed up for that. He would have been the first one to say “Hey I want to go!” and so the whole story is essentially this fictitious story of Larry being put on a rocket ship then sent to the moon and then around the sun, he makes it back and the scientists can’t believe the test results and he had a smile bigger than the whole world. He’d seen everything. It’s so fun to sing to know that Larry is the center of it and actually have some footage of Larry in it.
LMB: In what direction do you see Dispatch progressing with the album? Is this the first of more to come or are you guys playing it by ear and letting this tour and new release dictate the future?
BC: We are definitely playing it by ear. We don’t have a plan but at the same time it’s the first time we are unlimited. We don’t have any restrictions and at the same time we don’t have a plan. In the past it’s like “Well let’s not play more than every 3 or 4 years.” Now the feeling is like “Let’s play whenever we want to play and let’s record whenever we want to record.” It’s been so positive thus far I hope we’ll want to keep touring and I hope we’ll want to record more so it sure seems like it. I think seriously we could have recorded another two albums without even flinching. We have so much material and have been having so much fun in the studio that I wish we recorded more songs.
LMB: Dispatch’s first-ever European tour began earlier this year and will continue next month. How has that experience playing abroad added to the fun and worldliness of the band? Was there a stop that was particularly memorable?
BC: It’s pure discovery man, it’s so fun to look out the window of the bus and see a brand new landscape, and you know old architecture, the history and the people, it’s so fun to just have the sense that you’re out there seeing new things and connecting with new people. It’s also hilarious to hear people singing along that don’t speak English. Our German shows were packed. I mean they sold out a month ahead of time in which we were really confused by. It’s killer to see that our fans are that into it over there. We were totally caught off guard in Zurich. That was one of the most energetic and crazy rooms that we could remember, and that Zurich and Amsterdam are two of the most beautiful cities in the world. There is something about walking outside and being along a beautiful canal with rich architecture seeing everyone on bikes, all these beautiful monuments and restaurants. It’s hard not to have a favorite.
LMB: For this tour, fans can download the audio to any of the North American shows they attend by redeeming it online afterwards with their ticket stub. Was this a whole-band idea, and if so, why choose to so graciously pay the expense and offer this to your fans?
BC: We love the live shows so much. We figured in the past we release live albums every now and then and live DVDs and this was kind of a new play on trying to get as much of our old songs and new songs out there. Plus the novelty of being able to play a show and being able to have this really amazing fan experience and know that when they get home if there was a moment that they were just blown away by or a particular version of the song. They have that within a day or something? That’s a really cool concept, a way for the new songs to have extra exposure. We hope that we play the songs better live than they sound on the record.
LMB: Upon its return last year, the band has performed back-to-back summer/fall tours, as well as a European tour, all before releasing another full length album. What do you attribute to this radiant success, which undoubtedly puts Dispatch at a greater height than ever before?
BC: Our friendships are strong, it’s that simple. We are just loving it! We have been through a lot together in the last couple of years and things could not be any better. Genuinely missing each other, loving making music together, loving singing together makes it pretty simple and pretty amazing. I mean it’s such a blessing to be able to do what we do if we’re having a good time and everyone’s families are into it. I mean, you feel like you can do no wrong. But you can do wrong if you stay out for too much and burn out. Burning out sucks.
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About the author
Andrei Molchanov is currently a student at University of Colorado at Boulder. He has been a photographer for LMB since the Summer of 2011. Just launched: Live Music Blog Colorado. Coming soon: TMB Productions.
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