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Published: 2012/03/07
by Dean Budnick

Brewskis with Kyle Hollingsworth

The dance routine at Bonnaroo, how did that come about and how hard was it to convince Billy to do it?

That’s been the cool thing about the last year, bringing in new creative ideas. For example, Travis will bring in some crazy cover. In this case Kang said “Why don’t we do a dance routine?” and we were like “Oh, no.” But he totally gave a speech that made us all motivated. Then we went online and looked up some YouTube videos of what the modern dance moves were in the style that we were performing and we actually got some dance lessons. It was really hard to do. Billy would do it just as a gag, as long as he treated it not too seriously. And you can kind of see that in the video. It wasn’t hard to get him involved. It was a fun little project.

In the live setting Billy really sold it though, I have to say.

Absolutely. He was the one that took it the most serious. The funny thing is on the way to Bonnaroo we didn’t have anything to wear. So we were driving into Bonnaroo and were like “We can’t mess around, we can’t just wear normal clothes.” So we were looking for some sweat suits. We went to four different stores and they were out of season in Tennessee to get long sweat suits. So we ended up going to a Sports Authority or something and we had to get matching tops and bottoms, which I still have and I still bring to shows. That was part of the whole thing. And Kang pulled it off the best.

Who decided on the color orange?

We originally didn’t think of orange at all. We were thinking black track suits. That’s what we were looking for. We kept going to all these different sporting goods places and we couldn’t find anything. And then finally we went there and Nadia [Prescher, SCI manager] was there with us and she was like, “This will be fine.” I thought it was really cool to be orange.

How would you compare touring with String Cheese in 2011 to 2001?

A lot more grey hair. I think we’ve grown up on tour. Some of the things that bothered us between each other seem less of a big deal now than in 2001, which is a good thing.

Have you noticed a change in band members towards String Cheese Incident music now that all of you have other outlets?

As much as I say rehearsals are pretty lax, I do think we all come there with String Cheese in mind. Travis has a lot going on, but in a lot of ways he’s also the most focused with String Cheese. He gets in there and he’s ready to work. I think we all are super psyched to be doing this. So it’s actually more focused.

When you read various newspaper articles though, Travis often seems the most inclined to distance himself from the band in terms of his current interests.

It’s funny you mention that. I was going into the most recent rehearsals with that on my mind and I didn’t find that at all. Especially with Red Rocks weekend he was like, “We gotta bring this in here, and try to bring this in here.” I think when he’s there he’s super psyched. I think all of us are.

What’s the first thing that went through your mind when the power went out in St. Louis?

First thing, it reminded me of another show where the power went out. I was not at all worried one bit. I was like, “This is what makes Sting Cheese unique. This is why I love String Cheese so much.” We still put on a good show. We just grabbed a djembe and it was exciting. At first maybe It was a little distressing but once we got out there and started rocking it, it was awesome.

How long did it take from the time that the power went out until you decided to play percussion at the front of the stage?

Seconds. I just grabbed a shaker and we went off from there. That used to be a part of our gig. There used to be a moment where we’d all come up front and play drums. It was like “Okay, now it’s time for the drum jam.” And we’d come up and all play together.

But back then you’d be prepared for that.

Right. I think they brought out these giant African drums for us. Yeah, this time around we all started stealing stuff from Jason.

I’m not sure what this means. Someone asked “What happened during “Valley of the Jig” on Thursday night in Chicago”?

It means absolutely nothing to me. Probably something that somebody picked up and we didn’t even realize that happened. There was nothing specific.

There must be moments when you talk to someone after a show and they’re like “Wow, what about when you did this?” and to you it didn’t necessarily resonate. What’s that experience like for you?

It’s always amazing to me. Every time we walk off stage people ask us for our interpretations and we might say “I sounded too loud” or “I messed up that one song” and then you go back and you meet some fans and they have a completely different concept of what happened. So sometimes if they ask “What happened here?” my response has to be, “I have no recollection. I have no memory of that.” Or, “Thank you so much.”

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