DELERIUM- for the Grateful Web

Electronic music pioneers DELERIUM have announced the D-Tour 2008 North American Tour, which kicks off in Vancouver September 11 and ends in Atlanta October 4.  This marks the first major tour for front man Bill Leeb and Delerium in five years. Fans can expect guest vocalists from past Delerium albums to make special appearances, including Sixpence None The Richer's Leigh Nash and chanteuse Kristy Thirsk. Up and coming fellow Nettwerk artists Elsiane and Morgan Page will support the entire 16-date run.

Delerium has also been spending time in the studio working on their next project, an acoustic session that will be comprised of past hit singles as well as two new tracks. Since the release of their Nettwerk debut album Semantic Spaces in 1995, Delerium have gone on to sell over a million albums in North America alone, and are also known for a string of successful singles, including the worldwide dance smash "Silence" (featuring the talents of superstar Sarah McLachlan), which sold over 300,000 copies in the UK. Other hits have included "After All," "Innocente (Falling In Love)," "Underwater" and "Heaven's Earth."

Montreal's Elsiane - Elsieanne Caplette and Stephane Sotto - joins the bill in support of their debut album Hybrid (August 5), which CBC Radio 3 called "mind blowing."  Los Angeles-based electro house producer Morgan Page rounds out the bill with his up-tempo grooves that continue to top the Billboard Club play charts. The track "Longest Road" from his album Elevate (March 2008) was his first original chart-topper, making it all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot Club Play Chart, sandwiched between megawatts Madonna and Michael Jackson.

Full tour dates as follows:

Date                City                              Venue

Sep 11            Vancouver                 Commodore Ballroom

Sep 12            Portland                     Wonder Ballroom

Sep 13            Seattle                        Showbox

Sep 15            San Francisco           Slim's

Sep 16            San Diego                  House of Blues

Sep 17             Los Angeles              El Rey Theatre

Sep 18             Anaheim                     House of Blues

Sep 21             Denver                       Gothic

Sep 24             Minneapolis               Myth

Sep 25             Milwaukee                  The Rave

Sep 26             Detroit                        Royal Oak Music Hall

Sep 27             Toronto                      Guvernment

Sep 28             Montreal                     Club Soda

Sep 30             NYC                             BB Kings

Oct 1                Washington                9:30 Club

Oct 4                Atlanta                         The Loft

Blues Traveler's New Album 'North Hollywood Shootout,' Streets 8/26

John Popper- for the Grateful Web

After selling ten million records worldwide, six gold or platinum albums, and 2,000 shows in front of three million fans, Grammy Award-winning Blues Traveler ventured out of its creative comfort zone to explore some adventurous new horizons for its new album (and Verve Forecast label debut). The resultant North Hollywood Shootout is a landmark in the quintet's large and widely loved body of work, demonstrating the enduring strengths of the band's songwriting while capturing the spontaneous spirit of their legendary live shows.
According to frontman and harmonica slinger John Popper, "We're still trying to cultivate what we're individually good at into something that's bigger than the sum of its parts. When we're all playing and it's working, it becomes this separate entity, and that's still the thing that we're chasing."

North Hollywood Shootout — produced by Grammy Award winner David Bianco, whose diverse resume includes work with the likes of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Ozzy Osbourne, Mick Jagger and Teenage Fanclub — draws its curious name from the fact that the band recorded the album in the NoHo district of Los Angeles. Street date is August 26, 2008.
Such memorable tunes as the uplifting road-trip anthem "You, Me and Everything," the playfully romantic "Love Does," and the elegant, evocative "Orange in the Sun" boast infectious melodic hooks while showcasing the interactive instrumental chemistry that originally endeared the band to its rabidly devoted fan base.
The new material also makes a strong case for the introspective side that's always been a key element of lyricist Popper's persona. The heart-tugging lyrics of the opening track, "Forever Owed," were inspired by the singer's recent USO trip to Afghanistan and Iraq, while the poignant "Borrowed Time" is a bittersweet meditation on mortality and transience, inspired both by the recent passing of bandmates Chan and Tad Kinchla's father and by Popper's feelings for his beloved and aging dog. The album's biggest sonic curveball is its closing track, "Free Willis, Ruminations from Behind Uncle Bob's Machine Shop." The six-minute spoken-word  sound collage finds the band jamming over an insistent drum beat, while actor Bruce Willis, a longtime friend and fan, delivers a colorful freeform monologue/rant.
As guitarist Chan Kinchla explains, "On the last few records, we concentrated so much on the crafting of the songwriting and arrangements that we started losing some of the live spontaneity that the five of us created onstage. So on this album, instead of doing the usual pre-production process, where we really worked out the songs before taking them into the studio, we decided to go straight into the studio and do songwriting there. We recorded all the parts as we were working them out, and then built the songs from there."
North Hollywood Shootout also found the band ceding more authority to Popper to create the melodies that carry his lyrics. "The main thing that we wanted to emphasize on this record was melody, and I think that aspect of it turned out very well," Popper states. "The guys took a real risk in trusting me to run with that."
"I think you have to be constantly reinventing things and discovering new aspects of what you do in order to keep things fresh," Kinchla adds. "This lineup (John Popper, Chan Kinchla, Brendan Hill, Tad Kinchla and Ben Wilson) has been together for eight years. We've spent a lot of time sorting out everyone's role and learning how to listen to each other and get out of each other's way. It's funny, but right now the band is feeling a lot like it did in the early days, when we were just playing for the sake of playing, and we were hitting on all cylinders and the communication was fresh and alive. The shows have been really kicking, and the new songs have been going over great."
And speaking of live dates, Blues Traveler is on the road now through the end of the year in support of the new album. The dates:
appearing with Live and Collective Soul:
Sun., July 13 LOS ANGELES, CA Greek Theater
Tue., July 15 MESA, AZ Mesa Amphitheatre

Blues Traveler:
Fri., July 18  MINNEAPOLIS, MN Aquatennial Block Party
Mon., July 21 VALPARAISO, IN Porter County Fair

appearing with Live and Collective Soul:
Tues., July 22 DULUTH, MN Bayfront Park  
Thu., July 24 ROCHESTER HILLS, MI Meadow Brook Music Festival  
Fri., July 25 WEST BEND, WI Washington County Fair  ("Mini Takes the States Festival")

Blues Traveler:
Sat., July 26 ELKHART LAKE, WI Road America Race Track

appearing with Live and Collective Soul:
Sun., July 27 FLORENCE, KY Turfway Park  
Tue., July 29 COLUMBUS, OH Lifestyle Communities Pavilion  
Fri., Aug. 1 HERSHEY, PA Hershey Park Pavilion

Blues Traveler:
Sat., Aug. 2 ELGIN, IL Elgin Festival Park  
Sun., Aug 3 CHICAGO, IL Grant Park - Lollapalooza

appearing with Live and Collective Soul:
Tue., Aug. 5 BALTIMORE, MD Pier Six Concert Pavilion  
Wed., Aug. 6 WALLINGFORD, CT Chevrolet Theatre  
Fri., Aug. 8 PHILADELPHIA, PA Festival Pier at Penn's Landing  
Sat., Aug. 9  GILFORD, NH Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion  
Tue., Aug. 12 LOWELL, MA Lowell Memorial Auditorium
Wed., Aug. 13 WESTBURY, NY Capital One Bank Theatre at Westbury  
Sat., Aug. 16 CARY, NC Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park
Sun., Aug. 17 ATLANTA, GA Chastain Park Amphitheatre

Blues Traveler:
Thu., Aug 21  JACKSON, WY  Center for the Arts
Fri., Aug. 22  PARK CITY, UT  Jazz Festival at Deer Valley Resort
Sun., Sept. 28 AUSTIN, TX Austin City Limits Festival

North Dakota's Legionnaires: Get the Fever

photos by Janie Franz- for the Grateful Web

Every time I write about these boys, I somehow slip into my hill country roots and all sorts of mountainisms start coming out of my mouth. I guess it's because I get caught up in the theater of the band and the fact that they don't take anything seriously—except their music. You can't believe a word written on their websites—especially the bios of each current member and former member. (I ought to know because my son used to drum for them when the band first started.)  In fact, their names are so far removed and far-fetched from the North Dakota residents that they are that any local would know these folks are pulling more than your leg. They are currently Cactus Kristofferson and his brother Copenhagen, J "Skull" McCready, Phillip DeSnaatch, and Gunter Banger. A couple of the former members' names really tip into rudeness.

The band is called the Legionnaires. They aren't named for anything noble like the French Foreign Legion or even the DC Comics Legionnaires from the Legion of Super Heroes. They are named for the disease that gets into lungs and brings on a high fever. The Legionnaires honestly will produce a kind of delirium and has created an uncommon loyalty among fans.

They also are making quite a name for themselves across the country because of their funny but very adult lyrics. When the band is mentioned, people say, "You know, those guys in the dirty country band." Live burns from their shows have found their way into the hands of prominent bands like the Animal Liberation Orchestra (AOL). They also have gathered a crew of guest musicians who are eager to sit in with the group, becoming honorary Legionnaires.

The band is the brainchild of Pat Linerts, who used to be the front man for a Fargo band called Bad Mojo that was one of the first regional bands to play the 10,000 Lakes Festival in Detroit Lakes, MN, back in 2003. Shortly after that major gig, the band broke up, and Linerts spent a lot of time writing songs just for the heck of it. These were parodies of the country music he grew up on, but none of those songs were strictly parodies of any one particular country song like Cletus T. Judd did with the songs of country icons like George Strait and Faith Hill. Linerts just used the standard country structure to hang his tales of love, loss, and hope that had titles like "You've Got Worms" and "Rotten Rhonda" (about the guy who only dug up—literally - his girlfriend Rhonda when he got lonely).

As Linerts made the rounds of the local club scene, talking to other bands, he shared some of these songs and soon found key players to form a new band, mushrooming into a six-piece extravaganza that spilled over the stage when guest musicians joined them. Those early songs he wrote became Legionnaires' favorites and began to draw fans. Though the band claims it started in the basement bar of a Fargo strip club, I do know for a fact that the boys played the Moose Lodge and the VFW in Moorhead and quickly skyrocketed to the Cabooze stage in Minneapolis and repeated appearances at the annual Log Jam Music Festival in Minnesota. They have played with many regional bands like the White Iron Band, Down Lo, WBPN, Trampled by Turtles, Javier Trejo, the Afro-Cuban funk/dance band New Primitives, and  the Big Wu. They have also opened for The Radiators, Shooter Jennings, and Banyan—and Linerts sat in with Banyan.

The main attraction at first was their raunchy lyrics. But the songs themselves were not just vehicles to say an X rated word or to write about something perverse. They just were experiments in songwriting that often stretched the limits of even bad taste. Over time, Linerts has used his new songwriting ability to pen some good songs that aren't so adult. However, even the most adult show now has some good straight-up ole country or peace-and-love reggae that doesn't have a hint of XXX.

In fact, it's been said that if Linerts would just replace the lyrics of one of his Legionnaires's standards to "Wash my truck, it's Christmas," instead of "Suck my b***s, its Christmas," they could get radio play.  And his "Feets Don't Fail Me Now," a song about being held held captive by a wild woman, has some of the best four part harmony I've heard in a long time! But, Linerts can write a good song that doesn't have anything too weird attached to it. "The Ballad of Jose" is a song in the vein of  "Poncho and Lefty" about a weed dealer pursued by the federales. "Take Me to the Other Side" is Linerts' own take on reggae, and it rocks.

But no one can deny the showmanship and musicianship of the players. The band has expanded and contracted over the years, but always maintains a lineup with chops. Linerts, of course,  handles the lead vocals and plays a killer electric guitar. Josh Reinhardt (Günter Banger)adds lead guitar flourishes. The other members, all under aliases as J. "Skull" McCready (bass and sometimes guitar), Copenhagen Kristofferson (drums), and Philip DeSnaatch (keys) complete the sound with very tight vocal backup harmonies. The keys player adds a whole new level to what would have been just a plain country band. Under Linerts' influence, the band has become a country/jam entity that is poised to sweep across the country—if they could get loose from their day jobs long enough.

Long Time Comin', the Legionnaires' first studio album was mastered last year at Wonderland Studios in St. Paul, MN.  The twelve tracks include songs with the original band members and new ones with the current lineup.  Half of the material is straight, serious stuff.  Linerts still is constantly writing new materials. The band is currently in the studio (this time one in Fargo), working on a new  CD that will be out later this summer or the early fall.

Last year's CD tour had them playing while artist  Norman Wisdom painted. Wisdom created the energetic cover for Long Time Comin'. He has done interpretive painting for other events such as the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah, the opening of the Baliagio Hotel in Vegas, and the premier of Cirque du Soliel's "O" and "Alegria" shows also in Vegas. He has also painted with other bands, including Ivan Neville, Beck, Rob Wasserman, Richie Havens, and Steven Perkins (Jane's Addiction), as well as classical orchestras, jazz bands, dance troupes, and poetry readings. And he is sometimes flown to Morocco to paint murals for a prince.

Whether it's the raunchy lyrics or the great vocal and instrumental talent of the band, everyone wants to get infected with the fever of the Legionnaires.