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Umphrey's McGee

A jam band coming out of the Midwest in the mid-'90s, Umphrey's McGee edged toward the Frank Zappa side of the improv rock scale, as opposed to the Grateful Dead/Allman Brothers Band direction of their many contemporaries. The members of Umphrey's McGee met at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. The original four bandmembers (keyboardist Joel Cummins, guitarist Brendan Bayliss, bassist Ryan Stasik, and drummer Mike Mirro) had been playing in various campus bands when they got together in December 1997, naming themselves after a cousin of Bayliss'. With the national jam band infrastructure already in place, the band quickly began disseminating their live shows and soon released their first studio album, Greatest Hits, Vol. 3. The fourth-generation jam band often included songs by Phish and moe. in their live sets, along with the usual selection of wacky covers.

The quartet won a large following in the South Bend area. As bandmembers graduated, the group began a more and more rigorous rehearsal schedule. Half of the band had degrees in music, so emphasis was placed on constant precision. The bandmembers religiously studied tapes of their performances in order to improve them. While their record sales still hadn't reached high levels, they used live recordings to pave the way for gigs in parts of the country they'd never been to before. (A story circulates of the band selling out shows in Colorado before their first trip there due to the distribution of their live CDs.)

In 1999, the band released a live recording titled Songs for Older Women, which also marked the debut of percussionist Andy Farag. In 2000, the band became a sextet with the addition of guitarist Jake Cinninger, a former member of a fellow South Bend group Ali Babba's Tahini, which had broken up, and they made the move to the bustling metropolis of Chicago. From their new home base, the band went on two-week jaunts throughout the Midwest, occasionally hitting other markets and sharing the stage with a variety of musicians, including Dr. Didg (aka Graham Wiggins), the Chicago-based blues harmonica player Sugar Blue, Béla Fleck, Topaz, and many others.

On New Year's Eve 2000, Umphrey's McGee released their third album, another live disc, titled One Fat Sucka. Their first studio album, Local Band Does O.K., came out in 2002. One year later, they released their first DVD, Live from the Lake Coast, which had been filmed in July 2002. It marked the last appearance on an Umphrey's McGee recording by Mirro, who left to go to medical school and was replaced on New Year's Eve 2002 by Kris Myers, who had a master's degree in jazz drumming. Local Band Does OKlahoma, their next live album, was also released in 2003.

A second studio album, Anchor Drops, appeared in 2004 on the SCI Fidelity label run by fellow jam band the String Cheese Incident, and a second DVD, Wrapped Around Chicago: New Years at the Riv, was issued in 2005. In 2006, Umphrey's McGee released their third studio album, Safety in Numbers. It was their first to crack Billboard's albums chart. Another studio effort, The Bottom Half, was culled from Safety in Numbers sessions; both it and the critically praised concert album Live at the Murat appeared in 2007. Mantis was released early in 2009, and it charted even higher than Safety in Numbers. The Manny Sanchez and Kevin Browning-produced Death by Stereo followed in 2011. Three years later, Similar Skin charted a progressive course through '80s rock and metal, becoming their highest-charting album to date. A one-day recording burst at Abbey Road in June 2014 produced The London Session, a mix of new material, road-tested songs never recorded in a studio, new arrangements of previously recorded tunes, and a cover of the Beatles' "I Want You (She's So Heavy)." It was released in April 2015. ~ Jesse Jarnow, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: 2011/11/26 II Chicago, IL

Comments

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\../(._.)\.. /
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Meh....
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Can't wait for 5 days new years in Atlanta at the tabernacle! I hope they bring it and get really really dark with the music! I want it to be so sick I start throwing up!
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jet10er_raci n g
Great runs and cleaver riffs and lyrics. Have to agree with Dickman I thought it was Little Feat at first listen.
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Gotta have that umph
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domwaslikee
\mm/ seriously, umphreys.
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Best live jam/prog rock band on the circuit...
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I can't wait for the Nov. 1 show at Boston's HOB! This will be my second UM concert; the first was one of the highlights of my many concert experiences.
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CAN'T WAIT TILL HALLOWEEN HOB BOSTON
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Umphreysfuck i n g r o c k s ! ! \MM/
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Nothing like Umph
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Best Live Performance Your Gonna See Hands Down!
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chrispettine o
oogle mcgoogle rawks \mm/
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If these guys are in town you better make it! They put on the best live performance that I have ever seen. Not to mention the lighting designer Jeff Waful is a mastermind!
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I like this. They remind me of Little Feat. Coming from me that is a compliment.
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These guys r the band too keep ur eye on wen bands like phish an bisco tho great have seen the majority of there hay day so it's nice to have a fresh face pushing the envelop every night like phish did in the early to mid 90's not that they still don't amaze just that umphreys is the new heavyweight champ of jam/improv
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These guys never disappoint
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just got the new umph disc, these dudes dont dissappoint cinninger is a guitar master
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Thursday night's show at Mtn. Jam X was the highlight of the whole weekend!!! I feel sorry for those who didn't show up till friday.
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just saw these guys at summercamp with moe. twas mindmelting
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Why no Zappa in this mix? Frank would have loved it.
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I can sure hear echoes and textures of John Michael Talbot from the albums he did with his brother Terry Talbot.
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aclark042
One time my face melted right off into the sand. I spent hours trying to pick out the grit
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Stl, Champaign, Peoria, Milwaukee Halloween Mashup! Summer Camp every year with Moe. The experience is six to seven sets, none the same, 3 days of umph love. Their the s**t!
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Just saw them in Augusta, Georgia they did A fool in the Rain, Bulls on Parade, Africa, and Dr. Feel good, what a killer band, reminded me of Zappa. Please come back to Augusta, Georgia.
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umphreys McGAY!! schwag a** band of fairys. BTW whats up with all this melted face talk get an F*ing life you man juice guzzlers.
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We need our faces melted in Phoenix, even though its bloody hot here!!
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tom.gresslin
Melted faces in Dallas and Austin 4/18-4/19!
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Can't wait to see them in San Diego this Friday!!!
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Melted faces in Oakland this weekend! Looking forward to Red Rocks!
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bendejo2000
This kills me, Similar artists...he l l o . . . . L I t t l e Feat
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Been showing the love since Salmonfest more than a decade ago at Bearcat Getaway in Lesterville, MO. Thanx for the great festivals High Sierra.
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Gotta show some Umphluv for sure!
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This tune sounz like a strange storm waxing and waning in intensity. Enjoyable to view from a safe stronghold.
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yeah i only saw them twice this year....f**k i n g lame
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Really nobody better.
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Seen these guys live, they can melt my face any day of the week.
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We LOVE THIS WONDERFUL BAND..... INCREDIBLE.. . . (SOMOFF @ SALMON BEACH TACOMA)
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Seen jake when he was kid play drums at a friends house in niles mi and knew he would be something special I am a dead head from way back and I am proud to say I heard him when he was a kid
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umphlove! the riff so ill just dance
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At both nights for this one great shows I love their signs that said this album sucks and had every one scream it lol their the best
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Umphreys! Bonnaroo, All Good, Pittsburgh! Love these guys!
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barronbrisse t t e
UmphLove!!!!
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kera_wood
just saw them and it was so great!
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@bvanbruaene THATS WHASSUP
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jcrawford264
\m/ \m/ UMPHREY'S!!! Atlanta 2012...
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Blue bird. IU. The early days. Need I say more!
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ha ha, Zappa wasn't real big on improv
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so talented and their live shows are so much fun. These guys are really play!!
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yesssssss
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