The only way appropriate to commence an article on the indie/roots band, Dispatch – who are reuniting after about 10 years- is to quote our interviewee, Brad Corrigan, in a previous interview. “We’ve been called the biggest band nobody’s ever heard of”, and this weekend that best kept secret will play alongside Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Jack White at Hangout Fest.
With a history dating back to the 90s, by the 2000’s Dispatch were one of the first bands to benefit from social networking and file sharing via the internet, a common and revolutionary way to allocate music and which has propelled an influx of bands to a notable position in the music industry. “We were just really fortunate that in a time when mainstream media, i.e radio, TV, movie sound tracks…I mean, independent bands just had zero access unless you were like the ultimate winning lottery ticket. There was no way for indie bands to think that they’re going to get exposed without those outlets, and without planting a record deal. So when Napster hit…you know in the last 12-15 years the way social media has become kind of another sort of alternative radio source, was huge for us!” he said.
With the word, (and files) of Dispatch’s music being spread like wildfire, by 2002 they had acquired a cult following of die hard fans, all under the radar and loving it. But just as they hit their peak, they went on an indefinite hiatus- but by 2004 called it quits and with one last show said goodbye to the fans who’d traveled across the waters to see them. What ended up to be the biggest event in independent music history (around 110,000 showed up), was the beginning of the time spent apart that would eventually steer them together again to write a new album, called Circles Around the Sun. I asked Brad (vocals/drum/harmonica) about that gap of time and how it affected the writing of the new record.
“So it’s been about 10 years, and in those 10 years the three of us have grown up a ton, each of us individually figured out more and more about our identities, and what we believe in, and musically what we like to play, how we like to song write…You know, growing up together, we really didn’t know how to share a spotlight, how to share a microphone, how to share one voice. But now I just feel so thankful that we’ve gone through the highest highs, and the lowest lows. Somehow I’ve been given this incredible miracle and gift of having all our friendships restored, and now we can give it another crack knowing that we’re tried and true! The music that we’ve written for the new album is definitely a reflection of having gone through that crazy shit period, and going out the other side feeling like there’s nothing but light surrounding us.”
With a last show luring in fans flocked from Australia, Italy, South Africa, Mexico, and New Zealand, I asked his opinion on what makes the shows so notable, to which he responded, “There’s something really explosive about when the three of us get together and play our live shows, because we have so many influences just fighting to get out in any given night, so every night looks different.”
Besides putting on those “explosive” shows, they also contribute to multiple charities and causes such as their own Amplifying Education Campaign and the Dispatch Zimbabwe show. It’s not uncommon for artists to feel the need to give back, but Dispatch really involve themselves whole heartedly to the projects. I wanted to know what brought that about, and Brad revealed, “You know, as song writers I think it’s really natural for Chad, and Pete and I to be searching out for stories that really ring true. They may be really strong social justice themes- like what Chad’s written about like the song, “Open Up” from back in the day. I just wrote a song on the album that’s coming out about a Native American tragedy here in Colorado…which is really a part of my story, so to speak. It’s a very natural thing, I think for us, to be researching things that really inspire us, and following stories to get to the heart of them. And if there’s a way to bring it out in our songs, we will!”