images courtesy of Madison House Publicity
Andy’s phone interview with Jake Cinninger, the guitarist for Umphrey’s McGee, who is pretty sure this is his third time at Langerado.
Festival Crashers: Do you enjoy the festival scene?
Jake Cinninger: It’s the best time for bands, we’re usually cooped up in clubs and theaters with stale air and smoke and what not.
It’s nice to be out in the open, the best experience for bands.
FC: How many times have you played Langerado?
JC: (Lots of discussion between him and the band on the side as to how many times they’ve played there) This will be our third … we think.FC: Now that you’ve had a bit of time to reflect, how do you feel about the New Years show and what it meant to celebrate 10 years as a band?
JC: I guess after the fact is when we thought about 10 years gone by. It was such a fleeting moment to do the whole New Years run, we were so wrapped up. In hindsight it’s quite special, 10 years smelling each other in the van. It’s a virtue to get to this far.
FC: How does it compare to Bonnaroo?
JC: Personally, the time of year is perfect. It’s when most of the nation is under a freeze zone. When can we get to play outside? We gotta go to Florida. It makes total sense. They can go get a little sunshine in Florida. It’s perfect in terms on timing. When people are ready to go out and dance a bit and party.
FC: Which is your favorite festival to play?
JC: I would say, the favorite I’ve been to is the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan. It really set the bar for putting on a festival. Artistically incredible, millions of dollars were put into the look and gave it a great visual aspect. The vibe was great and the fans were cordial and they picked up every piece of trash. Cigarette butts in the cigarette butt canister, and plastic forks went in the plastic fork canister. It was a really great experience all around.
FC: Which bands are you most looking forward to seeing at Langerado?
JC: I’m gassed to see the Beastie’s. The line up is ridiculous. It’s all about how much can I see and still be able to put on a good rock show.
FC: How does it feel to be on the same bill as bands like REM and the Beastie Boys?
JC: It’s amazing. It’s maybe the whole jam band world is falling into the classification of rock and roll period. Not jam versus rock. It’s coexisting together. I’m flabbergasted, really.
Photo by Jennifer Hall, courtesy of Madison House Publicity
FC: Do you guys try to tailor your set to a festival crowd?
JC: Yeah, we have about 100 or so originals. There’s a lot to pick from. Tempo, key the song is in, those are things we consider. When should we hit the crowd with big vocals? When should we stretch out a jam, or get the place in a dance vibe? There’s definitely a pre thought put into constructing the set list. Nice ebb and flow to the energy. Love making and rampant sex.
FC: How does a festival show compare to your regular show?
JC: It’s not too different. It’s all about atmosphere and energy, recycle and regurgitate. Some has to do with the band feeding off the crowd’s reactions what state they’re in. With that being said, a small venue can be as energetic.
FC: Now that you guys have gotten the chance to headline a couple of festivals and are getting better time slots, do the festivals mean more to you guys?
JC: As far as momentum as a band, these slots give us something to prove. There is a nervous energy. 10,000 people, it’s like a super bowl performance for a rock band. It provides a nervous edgy energy.
FC: What should fans expect from your set at Langerado?
JC: It’s gonna be a night time set, we’re considering what songs work well with lights and production. To be outside it’s a completely different atmosphere at day or night. We try and put together the most exciting show for nighttime use. Heavy hitters that sort of visually entice.
FC: How is the new CD coming along?
JC: Oh, so exciting.
We’ve been working ver
All new songs.
Back to a more progressive, edgier sound.
Less singer songwriter sound.
We all go through phases.
More orchestral rock band sound.
King Crimson meets Yes.
Big production, multi layers, multi colored.
Doesn’t sound forced.
Making sure it sounds naturally flowing.
Songs written, and conceived.
Now it’s all about how we turn them into teenagers and send them into the world.
FC: Who are your favorite people you’ve gotten a chance to play with?
JC: That’s a good one, Adrian Belew, he’s an amazing guitarist. I’ve been seriously influenced by him and to have him with us for a week on the bus and telling us stories was really great. Joshua Redman, one of the premier living sax players right now, critically acclaimed and it’s funny he would want to play with a bunch of rockers like us. Our experiences with Phil Lesh, it’s awesome when those big guys want to play with the little guys like us.
FC: What’s your favorite concert you’ve ever been to?
JC: I’ve seen so many styles. I’m a metal head, so I’d say my favorite metal show was Napalm Death, Obituary, and Black Sabbath in one show. For like a jazz show, John Scofield at the Vic Theater. For rock and roll, I’d say Pink Floyd at Soldier Field.
FC: The last couple of years you guys have really branched out with some side projects, how important is it for you to have another creative outlet?
JC: It’s really good for everyone in the band to dabble outside of the box. You get away from it for a while and realize why you love it. I’ve got a studio at home. I’m more of a studio cat than a live cat. I’m constantly in that creative mode. Some songs I write are for Umphrey’s, and some aren’t. It’s nice to sit down and do writing really like that. Gives my artistic view a wider scope.
RC: Anything else coming up that you’re looking forward to?
JC: Heading to Europe for the Jam in the Dam. Always excited to sight see, get in touch with the roots. Europe is what it’s all about for musicians. Key to the highway so to speak.