When indie rock band Luna last played at the Fox Theatre in early 2005, it was part of what was supposed to be the band’s farewell tour. Frontman Dean Wareham says those shows were slightly draining and depressing – in part, because the music industry was collapsing.
“It’s hard to keep a band together,” Wareham says. “We’d already been together for twelve years. All kinds of things were pulling it apart. People were tired of it. It wasn’t building. I don’t know. It just seemed like no one was happy in it. It was just kind of like, ‘Why are we doing this?’”
But a decade later, the band reunited for a tour of Spain, and last year Luna released A Sentimental Education, an album of covers, and A Place of Greater Safety, an EP of original instrumentals, some of which were written for the film Tell Me Do You Miss Me, which documented the band’s 2004-05 farewell through England, Japan, Spain, and also included some footage from the Fox Theatre.
Wareham, who moved to Los Angeles five years ago with his wife and Luna bassist Britta Phillips after a long stint in New York, recalls the band sitting in the venue’s green room and talking about the last time they played the Fox in 1995. Stanley Demeski, Luna’s drummer at the time (Lee Wall is the current drummer), embarrassed guitarist Sean Eden, who was hitting on a woman. Demeski jokingly asked her if she knew about Eden’s rash.
“He did have a rash – a road rash down there,” Wareham says. “But it was caused by him. He didn’t like his bunk. He would drink too much Jack Daniel's and fall asleep in his jeans in the back lounge of the bus. And the chafing, he didn’t know. At the time, he’d gone to the doctor, and they’d given him some ointment, and that’s what Stanley had mentioned; ‘Did you tell her about the rash, Sean?’ ‘What are you talking about, man?’ Sean asked. ‘The rash. Did you tell her about the rash?'”
While the scene is one of the funnier moments of the documentary, that encounter didn't define the mood of the farewell tour.
Now, during shows in late 2017 and early 2018, Wareham says, “It’s been a lot of fun. I think I can say that we’re having more fun now than we did last time we were in Boulder.”
During shows in early 2018, Luna played some covers from A Sentimental Education, like Mink DeVille’s “Let Me Dream if I Want to,” Yes’s “Sweetness,” Mercury Rev’s “Carwash Hair” and the Cure’s “Fire in Cairo.”
The music video for "Fire in Cairo," directed and filmed by Kevin McAlester, stars actress Rose McGowan. “In a way, it’s a Rose McGowan video, and Luna just happened to be in it,” Wareham says. "It follows her around for the day. It looks great. He shot it on an old 8mm Bolex that he had to hand crank. It costs a lot more money, but it was worth it.”
Most of the covers on A Sentimental Education could be considered deep cuts, and Wareham says the biggest song on the album would be Bob Dylan’s “Most of the Time.”
“It was quite difficult to sing,” Wareham says. “Just not much melody. If you listen to what Dylan’s doing, he’s just kind of, like, talking his way through it. He’s just being Bob Dylan. And I don’t want to be Bob Dylan or attempt to be Bob Dylan.”
With other songs on the album by the Velvet Underground, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and Willie Loco Alexander (who did a stint in the Velvet Underground), Wareham sees the record as “a recipe of where you came from. That’s kind of why I titled it A Sentimental Education.”
Luna, with Flaural, 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 10, Fox Theatre, Boulder, 303-447-0095, $25-$30.