By Isa Jones
By Mary Willson
By Brian Turk
By Drew AIles
By Taylor Boylston
By Bree Davies
By Emerald O'Brien
The Jug Band's John Hickman, who plays banjo and other stringed things, says that Kase's departure was a very amicable one, based more on differences in lifestyle than musical taste. "What it really came down to is that Dan wants to work on his solo project, and he really wants to make a living as a professional musician," Hickman says. "I'm kind of in a different position in my life. I've got a job, a mortgage, I'm getting officially married later this year. I'm not really willing to go on tour and play at the Lion's Lairs all across America. It's just a money-losing proposition. I've seen people on the road. And they always seem miserable -- and broke."
Like most local outfits, the 32-20 Jug Band has never been a moneymaker for those involved. Though their CD was well-received by purists and press alike (including Westword; see "Please Release Me," January 27), and cuts from the album have enjoyed regular rotation on KGNU/88.5-FM, sales have been slow, partly because the band has never played the Denver club circuit with the fervor of peers like Marty Jones and the Pork Boilin' Poor Boys or Slim Cessna's Auto Club. "We've never really thought about the future, or been very good at marketing ourselves," Hickman says. "We've got some good friends at the Colorado Blues Society, and we like that organization a lot. Same thing with the Colorado Music Association. But it's like we never joined just because none of us ever got around to filling out the forms. I do feel like we have participated [in the music scene], but I think it might have made a difference if we'd actually done some of that stuff."
Hickman reasons that Kase's departure could wind up being the best for everyone -- excepting, perhaps, fans who crave a heels-up hootenanny every now and then. "Dan is really motivated to make it out in Minnesota," Hickman says. "In a way, it will be better for us, both individually and as a group, because we can all focus on our own projects and Dan can make the Jug Band's presence felt in an entirely new area." And, Hickman says, even though Kase and the rest of the players will be separated by distance, the Jug Band will remain active in a limited capacity. "We'll still get together every now and then and write songs, and we'll play festivals -- blues festivals, bluegrass festivals. I'll probably go out to Minnesota from time to time to play with him."
The outfit's remaining members -- Hickman, washtub bassist Aaron Thomas and jug player Chuck Cuthill -- haven't decided just how -- or if -- they'll carry on locally. Cuthill is a full-time member of the Pork Boilin' Poor Boys, and Hickman plans to keep busy with an as-yet-unnamed solo project that finds him focusing on songwriting and banjo playing; he also plans to sit in with Mr. Tree and the Wingnuts sometime in the near future. In the meantime, fans can say their farewells on Saturday, April 15, at the Lion's Lair, where the 32-20 Jug Band will perform with Kase for the last time in Denver. (Well, the last time as a headliner: The band opens for the Dusty 45s on Saturday, April 29, at the Bluebird, with the Hellmen.)
Lonesome Dan, we hardly knew ya.