A summer on tour with Great Divide (EXCERPT)
May 7th, 2010: Rock band Great Divide celebrates the release of “Reservoir,” their debut album, with a concert at Chicago’s Lasalle Power Co. From that date through a September 4th set at the North Coast Festival, the band will pack in 31 shows in 19 cities while driving a bus named Bessie… it will be their first full summer of on-the-road touring, a big step toward their ultimate goals, both as musicians and as men…
On three occasions this summer, I spoke individually with each band member about these new experiences – about their personal growth and evolution as musicians, about the fusing of friendship and professionalism, about the thrills of living the dream and the apprehension of leaving The Path. In this excerpt from my upcoming story – taken from our August interviews – we discuss their picks for best show of the summer, and how those highlights and others provide fuel for the journey ahead…
JOSH TEITELBAUM, drums I’d say the best, most fun show of the summer – and maybe the most fun show of my life – was the Michigan Peace Festival in Lacota, Michigan. We played a slot – I believe it was Friday night at nine or ten o’clock. Pretty much prime time. We had everyone in the festival, close to a thousand people, watching us. The energy was there. The whole environment was loving it. It was really just a killer show. Just awesome.
ERIC SCHINDLER, sax There were thousands of people there. Everyone really into it. It’s kind of this hippie festival. Everyone was smoking weed. Really chilling. Lots of girls not wearing tops. Just a lot of fun. Probably the most fun I’ve ever had playing.
JEFF LEIBOVICH, keys Our first show in D.C., for me, was a lot of fun. It was a small room, and we packed it. It’s always good to do that. But definitely of all the shows we played, the Michigan Peace Fest – we played in front of like, I don’t know the exact number, but they said it was around 1500 people. It was packed, energy, the sun had just gone down, everyone was dancing. Biggest crowd I ever played for, for sure.
TEDDY GROSSMAN, vocals Yeah. Michigan Peace Festival. I bet that’s the answer for everyone. But that was the best experience. Musical, or just any experience I think I’ve ever had in my whole life. In a lot of ways it was unbelievable – a perfect storm of all the right elements falling together. The whole festival got delayed, so our set became later and later, and we ended up playing at dark and having a great set. It was the highlight of the entire festival as promoters and people told us, the first time that we actually had a show with literally a thousand people right up in your grill responding to every move we made. It was the most exhilarating, and incredible feeling ever. Far and away the best.
LEIBOVICH We were just feeding off their energy. We got off stage and said, “That’s definitely the best show we’ve ever played.” And it was because of how much energy was coming from the crowd. The guy running sound said, “That was the biggest crowd we’ve seen all weekend. People were coming from their cars because they could hear your music.” That kind of reassured that we’re doing the right thing…
JOSH KAHLE, bass There are two that stand out. One was the Michigan Peace Fest. There was a lot of folks there and they all seemed to be really enjoying it. I think the sound guy said there was almost one thousand people by the stage grooving to it. That’s a pretty fun feeling. And then playing out in Fire Island, New York, where we had to take a ferry to get there. It was just a super cool day. Hanging on the beach, going swimming. That was probably a highlight as well.
How important is that energy for a band like you guys, a having fun, up-tempo group?
KAHLE It’s the name of the game. I think that kind of energy comes off on stage. The audience can pick up on that. If the band isn’t feeling it, if there isn’t that groove, that energy falls flat. I think it’s paramount, the most important thing when playing live, to have that mojo.
GROSSMAN There was maybe one other show in New York where we had a similar feeling. It was our first show in New York, and we killed it, had a great turnout. If you’re hustling for yourself, you have moments of self-doubt. But like with that festival, it just sort of reaffirms that you’re on the right track, and maybe there is something at the end of the road with it, you know?
JOEY GAON, guitar Probably about a year ago at this time, I thought we were done. Especially me. I thought I wasn’t going to be in the band anymore. “I’m going to law school.” And I sat there for two months, and then thought, “You know? This can wait.” And now I’m here. We played at the Michigan Peace Fest a few weeks ago, and that was kind of the “Ah ha!” moment where it was like, “This could really happen!” We played the first song, and there were two or three hundred people out there. Third and fourth song in the set, the entire festival is standing out on the field, 1500 people out there, and not just standing there – I mean, there are girls on people’s shoulders flashing their tits at us. Naked people dancing around in circles. People just really receptive. That’s the first time in my life where I was standing in front of a crowd and taking something from them, and feeling like “I’ve got to give back to these people.” It was the first “Ah ha!” moment, the first moment where, like, “I really need to be doing this. This is what I’m meant to be doing.”
Enjoy the full story from readjack.com on Monday, October 4th!
And, because you deserve it…