Umphrey’s McGee Launch NFT, New Single, And Talking Circles Episode Ahead Of Asking For A Friend Release

Article Contributed by IVPR | Published on Wednesday, June 15, 2022

In Umphrey’s McGee’s never ending quest to provide their fanbase with the most unique live and recorded musical experiences, the band has adopted, or in most cases, developed, a quiver of show- and album-enhancing tools for fans. From the groundbreaking “Headphones & Snowcones” program, which grants fans access to professional headphones and a soundboard-quality mix to listen wirelessly at shows, to their UMBowl, where the audience can vote on the setlist in real-time and choose favorite improv themes via text message, to becoming the first group to launch its own single-artist streaming service with, which has since grown and now lives on through and is used by the likes of Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen to deliver soundboard-quality concert recordings to fans, Chicago’s favorite improv-rockers have sought out cool and unusual opportunities to connect with those who love them the most. Today, Umphrey’s continues their march into new territory with the announcement of a limited Asking For A Friend NFT.

Equal parts access, utility, and collectible, this token grants fans access to the streaming premiere of Umphrey’s McGee’s new album, Asking For A Friend, on Lively the night before the record is released (June 30th at 8pm Eastern). Immediately following, the band will answer your questions, discuss the record and share some behind-the-scenes photos and video of the recording sessions.  Additionally, the AFAF token grants access to download audio stems of the entire 14-song album. Fans can deep dive by accessing individual mixes of each instrument, isolating tracks, and playing along at will. Each stem-set includes a Garage Band file for easy import on any Apple device. To tie the collection together, each token is also a limited-edition piece of art, featuring a composite image built from 14 individual lyrically based pieces. The streaming event will be hosted on Lively.

Hidden amongst the 2,022 NFTs are one-of-a-kind easter eggs. Randomly selected holders will win copies of the vinyl test pressing, handwritten lyrics, studio-used song charts, free UM concert tickets, and more, bringing a taste of the band’s legendary “Golden Ticket” giveaways onto the Ethereum blockchain. Token holders are also entitled to future benefit unlocks.

For those who may be new to NFTs and want to test the water, Umphrey’s McGee and Nothing Too Fancy Music’s goal is to help educate their fans, and the greater jam band audience, about the value of NFTs. This is an entry-level offer—25 bucks and purchasable by credit card if someone doesn’t yet have a wallet set up—that hopefully will pique curiosity and encourage fans to explore the world of NFTs and what benefits might be accessible to them.

The AFAF NFT will be available starting June 21 for $25 or 0.02 ETH. Please visit for more information.

Last week, the band dropped another Asking For A Friend track ahead of its July 1st release via Nothing Too Fancy Music, “New Wings.” Umphrey’s singer and guitarist Brendan Bayliss already had a chance to try it out live at Wrigley Field during the Chicago Cubs’ bout with the St. Louis Cardinals this past Friday. Check out a clip from Marquee Sports’ broadcast here.

The upcoming Asking For A Friend is accompanied by a behind-the-scenes podcast through Osiris Media entitled Talking Circles. With episodes leading up to the album release and stretching through the summer, Talking Circles will tell the story of the writing and recording of this set of brand new songs utilizing demos, live recordings, alternate takes, mix stems, and interviews with all six band members. Five episodes are currently live, including the backstory of “New Wings,” right here.

Finally, Umphrey’s McGee continues with their tour this week in Colorado. The band will be at the Dillon Amphitheater on June 16th, at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on June 17th and 18th, and at Vail’s Gerald R. Ford Amphitheatre on the 19th. For fans unable to attend, all four shows will be live-streamed via A full list of Umphrey’s tour dates can be found below or at

More About Asking For A Friend: Mostly recorded in three distinct sessions at three different studios during the pandemic and never played live—their first album since 2009’s Mantis of which fans haven’t gotten a sneak peek of from stage—Asking For A Friend explores a feeling that UM guitarist and vocalist Brendan Bayliss describes as “tapping into the idea that we were all isolated yet somehow still connected and experiencing the same emotions.” That isolated feeling is perfectly captured in the album’s cover art: the lonely, surrounded-by-clouds peak of Chicago’s John Hancock Center (or 875 N Michigan Ave) photographed by “Chicago’s Picture Poet” himself, Barry Butler.

Asking For A Friend began to take shape in a pre-COVID world in September 2019 when the band met up with longtime UM engineer Greg Magers and producer Ryan Hewitt (Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers) in Nashville for a session that would ultimately produce standalone UM single “Suxity” as well as the first few tracks of this new album. Session two found the band at guitarist Jake Cinninger’s home studio in Niles, Michigan, deep in the throes of the first few months of the global pandemic. Working on new music by day and performing via live stream at night proved to be highly successful and entertaining for the band who’d just been sidelined a mere three months before. The final full-band session for Asking For A Friend took place at ECTO productions in Chicago, a.k.a. the band’s production warehouse. Relying on the record during the day/perform at night mentality once more, UM completed full-band, live tracking for the record before putting finishing touches on from their home studios. “It was a real welcome change to be able to sing the vocals in my pajamas,” says Bayliss.

Pulling the ripcord and taking an enforced break after twenty years of touring resulted in not only a complex emotional reaction from members of Umphrey’s McGee. "Those first three months felt like an eternity," keyboardist Joel Cummins says. But "there was a huge excitement and motivation when we got back together again. More than ever, we realized how much we needed each other and this music. But their reunion also refined a newfound approach to letting their new music flow freely; not over-thinking it. “This album reflects how our songwriting has really come a long way since the days of putting ‘legos’ together, a term given to explain our past process of assembling the greater sum of the parts in eclectic fashion,” says drummer Kris Myers. “Instead, we were able to naturally connect with these songs with our hearts, and a little less from our heads through simple, serene songs.” The end result is an astoundingly cohesive fourteen song album that feels like a fresh statement from a group of world-class musicians and friends reapproaching their craft with a new lens, but long time fans will be happy to know that the Umphrey’s McGee they know and love is still very much present on Asking For A Friend, just more refined. More focused.

Catch Umphrey’s McGee On Tour:

June 16 - Dillon, CO - Dillon Amphitheater

June 17 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre ^

June 18 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre #

June 19 - Vail, CO - Gerald R. Ford Amphitheatre

July 8 - Baldwinsville, NY - Bud Light Amphitheater at Paper Mill Island

July 9 - Marshfield, MA - Levitate Music & Arts Festival

July 10 - Selbyville, DE - Freeman Arts Pavilion

July 14 - Outer Banks, NC - Roanoke Island Festival Park

July 15 - Asbury Park, NJ - Stone Pony Summer Stage

July 16 - Thornville, OH - The Werk Out Music & Arts Festival

July 21-24 - North Plains, OR - Northwest String Summit

Aug. 5-7 - Kenai Peninsula, AK - Salmonfest

Aug. 18 - Indianapolis, IN - TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park $

Aug. 19 - Maryland Heights, MO - Saint Louis Music Park $

Aug. 20 - Pelham, TN - The Caverns Amphitheater $

Aug. 21 - Pelham, TN - The Caverns Amphitheater

Aug. 24 - Grand Rapids, MI - Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Aug. 26-28 - Bridgeview, IL - Sacred Rose Festival

Sept. 1 - San Diego, CA - The Observatory North Park

Sept. 2 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Palladium

Sept. 3 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theater

Sept. 4 - Reno, NV - Grand Sierra Resort & Casino

Sept. 8 - Salt Lake City, UT - Red Butte Garden

Sept. 9 - Bozeman, MT - The ELM

Sept. 29 - Richmond, VA - Music at Maymont

Sept. 30 - Wilmington, NC - Greenfield Lake Amphitheater

Oct. 1 - Savannah, GA - Johnny Mercer Theatre

Oct. 2 - Birmingham, AL - Avondale Brewing Company

$ Co-bill with The Disco Biscuits

^ with support from lespecial

# with support from Andy Frasco and The U.N.

For a full list of shows, as well as ticket information, please visit