The Posies Celebrate 30 Year Anniversary

THE POSIES

THE POSIES play The Coach House May 24, Bootleg Theater May 25 and Soda Bar May 26; photo Alan Lawrence

The Posies, famous innovators of pop music, shall soon be stopping in SoCal. The power pop quartet will perform at The Coach House May 24, Bootleg Theater May 25 and Soda Bar May 26.

Ken Stringfellow, one half of the group’s founders, with the other being Jon Auer, says the appearances are part of the group’s upcoming anniversary tour.

“Our band started playing in 1988 and here we are still playing 30 years later.”

Those 30 years have seen the group tour around the world, play all kinds of venues and produce eight studio albums. Three of the latter that saw release in the 90’s will be remastered and rereleased in celebration of the group’s anniversary: Dear 23, Frosting on the Beater and Amazing Disgrace.

But what makes The Posies stand out is their music. The group is well known for both playing and innovating what is best described as power pop: a rock subgenre taking cues from the British and American rock of the 1960s emphasizing strong melodies, clear vocals and musical arrangements that help emphasize guitar playing.

Stringfellow though says this is an apt description but adds that there is a very great importance placed on the vocals: something he feels not many bands like them do too much of anymore.

“It’s indie rock that avoids clichés with great vocal harmony,” Stringfellow said. “That’s how I would sum it up.”

The group is also known for having various line-up changes throughout the years. For their tour and upcoming SoCal appearances, both Stringfellow and Auer will be accompanied by two other musicians who played with them for much of the 90’s: Dave Fox (bass) and Mike Musburger (drums).

Stringfellow proclaims that being able to play music again with Fox and Musburger feels like both a second chance as well as a great opportunity to help showcase their musical skills to concertgoers.

“They’re great musicians,” Stringfellow explained. “Things were a little turbulent back in the day. We get along fine now and everything’s cool and it’s great to take these guys out on the road.”

But while other members of the group may find it easy to take time off from the road, Stringfellow remains actively busy. When not performing, you can find him helping other bands to perform as he is also a record producer for Damien Jurado, The Long Winters, and Carice van Houten to name but a few of the many artists he’s produced.

Yet Stringfellow never ceases to produce music he himself and The Posies can use. For him, composing songs is about melody. That melody is both the key and foundation for the music he makes and what The Posies play.

“The interesting thing is with all the technological changes and all the music skills I’ve acquired in the last 30 years, I still look for a very strong melody,” Stringfellow admitted. “I don’t do spacey music usually, I start around a melody and make that the key to a song.”

When the melody is caught, and the songs written, Stringfellow always finds it a joy to share his musical creations on both record and in live concerts. Ask him where he’s enjoyed playing music at the most along with other Posie members, or “the four musketeers” as he refers to the group, Stringfellow will merely shrug and admit he tries not to pick favorites.

“Having played in a thousand, bajillion places and having so many good shows, really it would be foolish for me to narrow it down,” Stringfellow said. “I’m ready for a new adventure every time.”

That is why Stringfellow is especially looking to the group’s upcoming 30th anniversary tour that begins May 18 in Victoria Canada.

“We’re playing some places on this tour that I’ve never played, including the place we’re playing in L.A., the Bootleg Theater,” Stringfellow mentioned. “I don’t really know much about it. That’s just a new thing.”

The current tour for The Posies is slated to continue until it ends at the Inkonst in Malmö, Sweden on Nov. 8. Even though The Posies have a long tour to look forward to, Stringfellow says plans are already underway for a brand-new album.

“Even with all that in front of us, I think we are still thinking of the next record,” Stringfellow mused. “Obviously that’s going to happen no sooner than next year because this year is fully taken up by the anniversary tour.”

That tour takes priority for now but Stringfellow remains firmly optimistic about the future beyond it.

“There’s a future that we are still looking towards and we are still excited about it and we’ll see how it goes,” Stringfellow said. “We’re just about to launch this tour so we’ll see if we all survive, touch wood and go from there.”

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