For the last two-and-a-half decades, Chicago-formed improv-rock outfit Umphrey’s McGee have been wowing fans, critics, music nerds, and passersby with their wholly unique brand of tunes and explorations. Instead of celebrating 25 years together with a gold watch or some engraved silver plate, the band is continuing to break the mold by finding new ways to give back to their rabid community of fans during this momentous occasion; known henceforth as umXXV.
The first, and easiest to explain, drop of umXXV is a brand new song, “Staircase.” “I had been writing a lot during covid lockdown,” says Umphrey’s bassist Ryan Stasik, who came up with the bones of “Staircase” after a morning surf session using nothing more than the TonePad app on his phone. “I thought it was pretty cool and added some drum loops, some Moog Taurus basslines, and some synth bass. Then I sent it to [guitarist Brendan] Bayliss asking if he could add anything or work his magic,” Stasik remembers. “He did.” The song’s textures ebb and flow with intricate details making their way to and from the forefront over the course of a steady build. A mixture of digital tones gives way to full-blown electric guitars and drums in the chorus: “There's no subscribing to a scene, who has the courage or the teeth”
“I recorded some vocals over [Stasik’s] parts and then a few months later I was messing around with what is now the chorus section,” says Bayliss. “Once I spliced the two together I knew that we had just finished a new song; one that doesn’t sound like anything else we were working on at that time.” Fans can stream or purchase “Staircase” today at this link.
Umphrey’s have also partnered with Lively, an online live experience platform, to present fans with umXXV Digital Collectibles from the band’s ongoing 25th-anniversary tour. Fans can claim a part of UM history and hear sounds from the umXXV tour via a high-quality audio player and gain access to exclusive content, communications, and more. Each drop coincides with individual shows from this tour, the first release coming from the band’s January 12th show at Washington, DC’s 9:30 Club. Only a limited amount of 25 will be released per show giving fans verifiable ownership like never before. Upon purchasing a umXXV Digital Collectible, fans will be able to listen and download the show on umphreys.xyz.
“As we kick off our 25th-anniversary tour, we’re excited to continue to engage with the UM fan base using another innovative technology,” says UM keyboardist Joel Cummins. “Each show on the tour will be commemorated with 25 limited edition copies featuring unique ticket stub art & soundboard audio. It’s going to be a fun ride and we’re excited to have you join us.”
Umphrey’s McGee’s umXXV Tour continues Feb. 22 in Sacramento, CA followed by a run of shows through California, Nevada, Arizona, and back to the west coast. Into summer, the band will hit fan-favorite festivals including Summer Camp Music Festival, The Peach Music Festival, and a grand return to Bonnaroo for their 10th appearance since performing at the inaugural event in 2002. A full list of dates can be found below or at umphreys.com/tour.
Catch Umphrey’s McGee On Tour:
Feb. 22 - Sacramento, CA - Ace of Spades
Feb. 23 - Petaluma, CA - Mystic Theatre & Music Hall SOLD OUT
Feb. 24 - Anaheim, CA - House of Blues
Feb. 25 - Las Vegas, NV - Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas
Feb. 26 - Tempe, AZ - Innings Festival
March 2 - Bend, OR - Midtown Ballroom
March 3 - Eugene, OR - McDonald Theatre
March 4 - Seattle, WA - The Showbox at The Market
March 5 - Portland, OR - McMenamins Crystal Ballroom
March 10-12 - Aspen, CO - Belly Up Aspen SOLD OUT
April 12 - Pensacola, FL - Vinyl Music Hall
April 12 - St. Petersburg, FL - Jannus Live
April 14 - Orlando, FL - House of Blues Orlando
April 15 - Miami Beach, FL - Miami Beach Bandshell
April 19 - Fayetteville, AR - JJ’s Live
April 20 - Austin, TX - Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater
April 21 - Houston, TX - House of Blues Houston
April 22 - Dallas, TX - House of Blues Dallas
April 27 - Isle of Palms, SC - The Windjammer SOLD OUT
April 28 - Wilmington, NC - Greenfield Lake Amphitheater
April 29 - Savannah, GA - Johnny Mercer Theatre
April 30 - Birmingham, AL - Avondale Brewing Company
May 26 - Chillicothe, IL - Summer Camp Music Festival
June 15 - Dillon, CO - Dillon Amphitheater
June 16-17 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre
June 18 - Manchester, TN - Bonnaroo
June 29-July 2 - Scranton, PA - The Peach Music Festival
For all dates and ticket information, please visit umphreys.com/tour.