A Farewell to Minneapolis Interview with Ari Herstand: Part 6
Mike: So we’ve got the farewell show coming, August 12th, The Varsity Theater. You’ve got a killer lineup; literally a lot of my favorite local bands who are also a lot of your favorite local bands are playing this. Can you tell me what to expect?
Ari: Going into this show, I knew that it wasn’t going to be a proper farewell to Minneapolis without The Varsity Theater—where it all started and where it’s all been for me over the last 5 years—and all my favorite bands on the bill and all my friends bands; who are my favorite bands. That’s what it came down to.
ReadyGoes hasn’t been around as long as the other bands, but they’ve definitely found their place in the Minneapolis music community and they’re a phenomenal band. They also put on an incredible live show. Getting them, Roster McCabe, White Light Riot, The Alarmists; those were the first bands I locked in. These are my closest friends and these are some of my favorite bands, let’s lock them in and they all agreed.
Cedar Avenue… I’ve lived with Shawn now for 2 years and I’ve played with them. I really like the music they create. I wanted to get everyone from The Meridius on this bill, that way we’d come full circle. [Editor’s Note: Cedar Avenue was originally on the bill; however, they won a contest to open for Hanson in Milwaukee that night instead.]
Everyone who lives in this house right now will be performing. Gabe Douglas, he’s been a roommate of mine for 3 years. He’s got 3+ different projects, so I asked him to play some songs solo because he’s got some solo stuff. Alex Young will be playing drums with me on a couple songs and sitting in, and Jay [Corkran] will be my main drummer for the show.
Zack Carroll is one of my favorite guitar players in the cities, and he played for me in 2008 on Whispering Endearments. I’ve really developed my sound with him, and I love his playing so much that I asked him to play for every single show over the last year. And every single show he’s said, “I’d love to Ari, but I’m concentrating on Usonia—his new band—and White Light Riot. I’m not doing any freelance work anymore, there’s a special place for Ari Herstand in my heart, but I just can’t do it.”
So he’s turned me down for every single show that I’ve had since last summer, and a full year later I finally was like, listen Zack, this is my farewell show. I’m not gonna ask you again after this show cause I’m leaving. If I have another band show it won’t be for a very, very long time. Would you do me the honor of just playing with me one last time? And he’s like, alright I can do that for you. So he’s going to play guitar, which I’m so excited about.
And DJ House, who’s been playing guitar with me over the past year and is a phenomenal guitar player as well, he’ll be sitting in on a couple songs. There’ll be a bunch of artists performing. We have a special secret artist that I can’t announce that’s going to be sitting in on one of my songs. Alicia Wiley is going to be sitting in on a song. I’ve thrown it out to the Root City guys… Dan Rodriguez was just added to the bill too. And our intern; as Amy and I have been working Proud Honeybee Productions and managing Roster McCabe and my career for a year and a half or so, we’ve had interns. One of our interns over this last summer and spring has been Sarah Winters. She’s a very talented singer/songwriter; she’s young and just starting to get her feet wet. I thought it’d be great to put her on the bill to be a part of this night; she’s done great work for us and she’s very good herself.
Basically like any musician who wants to stop by will be able to sit in. Get in touch with me beforehand… bands and musicians who are friends, that’ve meant something to what this community has been. I’m not saying somebody should drive up from Madison, “Hey, I have a guitar, here I am!” (Laughs) But I wanted to make certain that all the artists that have meant something to me, I would at least throw out to them that, “Hey, you’ve been so important to me and what you’ve given to me over the last few years. You’ve influenced me, and you’ve been a large part of my development as an artist, and as a person. It would be an honor to have you on the bill.”
So with all these artists that have agreed to play, I’m incredibly humbled… no one’s really playing a full set; there’s like 10-12 artists on the bill, so it would be impossible. We’d be playing till next year if we gave everyone the amount of time they deserve. But they’re all just showing up and playing a few songs, it’s just gonna be one big party basically. I’m so humbled that these artists have agreed to share this night with me, and help me bid farewell to the city that I musically grew up in and love. It wouldn’t have been the same if all these bands didn’t agree to do this. It’s gonna be possibly another “Unknown Order” type experience, we’ll see…