In 2002, a group of then-bandmates and I drove all the way from Grand Junction to Boulder to witness Pinhead Circus's "last" show. It was an emotional moment for us, as the band, fronted by the larger-than-life personality Scooter James, was a huge inspiration to us musically, and we felt that it was important for us to be there, despite the four-hour drive. The show was a heartfelt and sweaty farewell to one of Denver's all-time greats.
"We were tired of the constant lineup changes, and [guitarist] Jordan [Hauser] was leaving the band to go to school out of state," says James says of the original breakup. "Coincidentally, our friend Chip [Dziedzic] was moving to Colorado, so we decided to start a new band with him instead of him being the fiftieth guitar player for Pinhead. We had formed Love Me Destroyer before we even booked the last Pinhead tour."
Love Me Destroyer went on to release two albums on Suburban Home Records, tour the country and solidify its own place in Denver punk history.
In July 2009, the allure of Pinhead Circus came beckoning, and the band reunited for a show at the Marquis Theater. It was a heartfelt and sweaty reintroduction to a band that hadn't played together in over seven years.
Then, in August of last year, the group reunited yet again to open for Dillinger Four at the Summit, then again in January at the hi-dive with the Nobodys. "With no goals or plans in place, we just rock it like it's our last show," says James. "We get stoked all over again if and when another comes up."
Tonight, the group is slated to open for Alkaline Trio at Summit Music Hall (Pinhead also opened the show last night). At this point, fans are left to wonder if these can be considered reunion shows, or is the band, filled out by drummer Dave Barker and longtime bassist Trevor Williamson, back for good?
"I would say we are very limitedly officially back together," says James. "We just run everything through the band and, nine times out of ten, we can't get it together. But every once in a while, we can. I was very surprised everyone was free for these two dates."
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Alkaline Trio, while a much more popular band than Pinhead Circus, cut its teeth in the same '90s punk scene. The two last played together at the Bluebird Theater in 1998, for a two-night run in which Pinhead Circus was the headliner and Alkaline Trio was the opener.
"The dates were April 24 and 25, so its almost seventeen years to the day!" says James. "It's blowin' my mind nuggets!"
Pinhead Circus fans have been treated to more than one reunion and have acclimated slowly to the band's change in appearance, but what about their old friends in Alkaline Trio: Will they recognize them?
"Ya never know," James says. "Love Me Destroyer was on tour, and we were in some hipster diner in West Hollywood when someone called my name. We turned around, and it was Matt [Skiba] and the boys."