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Jam Nation has been anxious since November 2006, when the String Cheese Incident revealed that because of guitarist Bill Nershi's determination to focus on "other musical projects," the band would be making no plans beyond summer 2007. The decision was reinforced in an April announcement of concert dates culminating with four nights at Red Rocks — a run described as "the beginning of an end for the band and their community."
This phrasing isn't as final as it sounds; reunions haven't been ruled out. Still, Kyle Hollingsworth, the Incident's keyboardist, admits there's been some confusion about it. "We never have ever said we're breaking up," he emphasizes. "I'm not sure exactly what's going to happen. We have no plans. But I just want to make it clear from my point of view that the future's wide open for us."
Hollingsworth, who joined the Incident in the mid-'90s, a couple of years after its inception, approaches this transition with a stew of emotions. "We're excited about the unknown — where each of our musical muses will take us," he says. Yet he admits to feeling a bit overwhelmed during some recent New York City gigs. "I didn't think I was going to get sad, but I got a little teary toward the last tune on the last evening," he notes. "Right now, I'm psyched to get out and do the best we can for the summer. But I'm in a little bit of denial about what's going to happen after that. I'm sure that when it comes to the last Red Rocks show, it's going to be hard to keep it together."
Things have changed since Hollingsworth, Nershi and fellow Cheese heads Michael Kang, Michael Travis and Keith Moseley set out on their first cross-country tour aboard Bussy, a onetime Crested Butte ski bus. "I have fond memories of being in there, and trying to fix it, and being a band that was on a mission," he allows. Eventually, the group grew popular enough to launch its own label, SCI Fidelity, plus a ticketing agency and more. These operations helped give the players independence but required a lot of effort to maintain. "We found ourselves spending more time having business meetings about T-shirt designs," he says, "versus spending that time being creative with each other."
A couple of major ventures are in Hollingsworth's future: the impending birth of a baby due in October, plus soleside, a trio that teams him with Speech of Arrested Development and DJ Logic. He calls the prospect of starting a new group from scratch "daunting. I'm like, 'Oh my God, am I ready to go into Bussy again and travel the country?' I'm not quite sure. I might approach it differently this time."
First modification: a "Baby on Board" sticker.
Visit our blogs for more of our interview with Kyle Hollingsworth of the String Cheese Incident.