Thin Air brings the music of Widespread Panic to Summit County
if you go
What: Thin Air
When: Saturday, Aug. 13; noon to 3 p.m.
Where: Dillon Amphitheater, downtown Dillon
Cost: Free. This concert is part of the Vuelta a Dillon cycling event, vueltafondo.com
Denver-based Widespread Panic tribute band Thin Air will be making their Summit County debut at the Dillon Amphitheater on Saturday, Aug. 13 from noon to 3 p.m. Composed of six music veterans, Thin Air has a passion for Panic and works to perform the band’s music as close as possible to the original. The band consists of Grant Kulhman on vocals and guitar, Shaggy on drums, Ryan Morrow on vocals and bass, Bill Stonebreaker on lead guitar and background vocals, Rob Quinn on percussion and Cameron Podd on keyboard. Admission is free.
Summit Daily News: Describe your music to someone who has never seen it.
Rob Quinn: We attempt to emulate Widespread Panic, their studio and recorded, every artist has live and studio, and the songs vary dramatically. What we try to do is capture the essence of the recorded work of the band as perfectly as possible. It is our intention that when you hear a song, you’ll have a hard time differentiating what Widespread Panic plays and what we play.
SDN: How did the band get started, and what do you feel is your biggest accomplishment so far?
RQ: We’ve all been bands in the Denver scene, and it got started because you have a bunch of like-minded musicians with just an incredible interest and passion for the library of work of Widespread Panic. Also, it’s such a popular band in this area, and Denver has really become the jam capital of the world almost; so you’ve got six guys who know the library like the back of their hand, we are all accomplished and have played in other bands and we are taking all this collective experience to really focus on this project and nail it. And really what I’m most proud of is we are very hard workers and practicers. Practice and learning songs is kind of like making sausage, it’s not very pretty and it’s not very fun; and more often than not, after we nail a song, we just look at each other and know how good and how tight it is and we just say, ‘That one’s in the bag. Let’s move on.’ We know we have a good thing going, and it’s really cool. Also, the band, other than two guys, weren’t old friends or old acquaintances, so we are all put together in this somewhat quickly and the camaraderie and level of respect we have for each other is just amazing. The chemistry is perfect and it shows, and you can hear it.
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SDN: What is the craziest/weirdest thing that has happened to you either on the road or while playing a show?
RQ: It’s funny, for me, I used to be in a reggae band called The Magic Band with a bunch of guys from Trinidad in the ’90s. We were playing a concert in Rosarito Beach in Mexico, and the lead singer was arrested during the show by the Federales under suspicion for possession. He was a total Rastafarian with dreads. So that was probably the most unusual thing I had ever seen in my life, in the middle of a song, watching our lead singer being arrested by the Federales, and we had to bail him out and pay all kinds of fines. … They got their man. He was guilty as charged.
SDN: How would you like to see the band grow in the future?
RQ: We would like to be the Dark Star Orchestra of Widespread Panic. Point blank. The tribute category is a very hot category, you see the Santana tribute bands, the Pink Floyd tribute bands, and it just seems like there needs to be one for Widespread. Those Widespread fans, they’re in the 40s, in their 50s, it’s a tough ticket to get to. There’s such a phenomenal interest in that band, and they only come by once a year. So we just think there is a really good market for this, and we are going to put a really quality, well-thought, superbly rehearsed, meticulously prepared show on.
SDN: How many Panic shows would you say you’ve been to?
RQ: Compared to the rest of the guys, probably 50. But I’ve been to 100 Santana, 100 Allman Brothers shows. … Not as many as the other guys.
SDN: So who in the band has been to the most shows?
RQ: Shaggy our drummer, I think has been to over 200, and his 6-year-old son has been to 36. Shaggy even moved to Athens, Georgia, and Widespread Panic was an element in that move — that’s how dedicated this guy is to the band.
SDN: What would you like the audience to walk away with after watching your show?
RQ: That they basically, in lieu of the actual experience of going to see a Widespread Panic show, this was a close second, and that they appreciate the fact that we nail it. It’s as close as you can get. We don’t embellish, we don’t make the songs ours, we have no qualms about copying their sound to the exact nuance, and, hopefully, when you close your eyes, you have a hard time picking out which one is which. That’s our goal. … This is a very focused project, this is a tough business and you’ve got to have a brand. The customer needs to know what they are in for, and that’s why I think tribute bands have become so popular because whether it be a Pink Floyd tribute band or a Widespread Panic tribute band, you know what you are going to get. … This is a definite offering that’s very specific, and, if somebody does take the time to come out and see that, they are probably going to be fans of the original band, and they are going to come with some sort of expectation. We hope to exceed what their expectation is, and they walk out of there going wow, those guys just killed it, with total respect to the band.
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