Indecision with Machine Funk
Sat., May 25th • 7 p.m.
Brooklyn Arts Center
516 N. Fourth St.
$15 in advance, $20 day of
Serving up the funky jazz-rock that many jam bands are known for today, it’s no surprise that Indecision was one of the first acts on the scene of improvisational and psychedelic tunes. Though classics like Grateful Dead paved the way, it’s the groups such as Indecision, Phish and Widespread Panic which truly brought the jam-band genre to life in the early 1980s.
What’s more, as Charlottesville, Virginia is the home to Dave Matthews Band and The Infamous Stringdusters, Indecision really put the city on the map as a respectable music town.
Though Indecision was touring nationally by 1989—sharing stages with The Neville Brothers, Blues Traveler, and their fellow jammers Widespread Panic and Phish—the band formed in 1980 while the original four members were still in high school. Shawn McCrystal (bass); David Ibbeken (guitar, vocals); Craig Dougald (drums, vocals); and Aaron Evans (guitar, vocals and songwriting) played their first night club in 1984, the Mineshaft, a legendary—though now defunct—‘80s music venue in Charlottesville.
The jam pioneers added Doug Wanamaker (keys, vocals) in 1989 and Chris White (acoustic guitar, vocals) in 1990 at the peak of the band’s success. The two musicians until then had only played with Indecision on sporadic occasions. With the permanent inclusion of Wanamaker and White, the band catapulted within the genre. They became known for smooth, dreamy harmonies, Evans’ exemplary songwriting, and groove-laced rock ‘n’ roll. Indecision hosted its biggest tour ever in 1993—and then they quit.
Although the members didn’t break up, they did take a break from hardcore touring and regularly recording. With records released in 1986, 1991 and 1993 (and a live CD in 1996), the group didn’t unveil another studio album until 2004’s “The Great Road.” They’ve taken part in Bonnaroo and other top-notch festivals since—but Indecision now averages five shows per year, which is why their upcoming performance at Brooklyn Arts Center will be such a treat for Wilmingtonians. After a long night rehearsing, Evans was kind enough to answer a few questions for encore prior to their May 25th show downtown.
encore (e): What do you appreciate most about the jam genre?
Aaron Evans (AE): [The] jam-band genre gives me freedom—freedom to go any direction I feel. Different directions on the same song, just depends. I can just go with the flow, improv.
e: Tell me about finally bringing Doug and Chris on full-time. What prevented them from being true members of the band before that, and how did the addition round out the sound of Indecision?
AE: The adding of Doug and Chris was really just a timing thing. I met Doug when we were in school studying theory together. I asked him to practice with us, and that was it. We hit it off. Our music blended. We needed his soul. It was a no-brainer.
I knew Chris when I was in high school. He used to play with Craig and I when we were 17 years old. He moved to C-ville, moved into the Reservoir (home of most of the band at one time or another and site of several recordings) and that was it. We wanted Chris for his strong vocals and his energy. We now had a frontman.
e: What drove the band to stop touring nationally in 1993?
AE: The main reason that we left the road was that it just seemed time to do it. We were playing over 200 shows per year, traveling all over the country. We were tired, road worn and just exhausted. We went as far as we could go. It was a pretty much mutual agreement.
e: What is it like to be back on stage the few times per year you are able to perform?
AE: I absolutely love playing these shows with the guys. I was thinking about this last night during rehearsal, that I just love it. I miss it—well, parts of it. It’s so much better than golf weekends or whatever else I would do with my friends. These are my best friends and we still get together and do what we love to do.
e: Which of Indecision’s four studio releases is your favorite and why?
AE: My favorite album has to be “The Great Road.” The songwriting on that album was so pure and mature. I love all the releases for different things that represent different times, but “The Great Road” is just solid from so many different aspects.
e: Would you be interested in creating another album, either live or studio recording?
AE: I would like to do another album, studio or live. That being said, it does not make financial sense to go into the studio and record again. We are still very open to doing another live [album] that we can release digitally.