Music News

Sean Kelly adjusts to (solo) life after the Samples

During the early '90s, the Samples helped put Colorado on the map. Led by gifted pop songwriter Sean Kelly, the band signed with a locally based label, What Are Records? (W.A.R.), toured incessantly from coast to coast, released a slew of albums, endured a series of personnel and business changes, and finally came to an unfortunate end in March 2008. We caught up with the always-affable Kelly and asked about his budding solo career, life off the road and his hopes for a Samples reunion.

Westword: What have you been doing since the band ended?

Sean Kelly: Since the band ended, I've been really just kind of situating myself, living in San Diego. My girlfriend's got two little kids, three and five, so I spend tons of time with them, which is really great, and I've been doing a lot of recording. I'm setting up my recording stuff, and it's just slowly coming out. I've got two new tunes that are demo versions up on my music player that's either on the or the MySpace page. You typically go to the studio and you have a couple demos from stuff and you let a few friends hear it, but I put it right up there for anyone to hear so they can hear the process of how the songs are built.

How long will you continue making music, touring and waking up in different towns?

I haven't woken up in a different town in probably four months, which is nice. I don't miss that at all right now. And...

The bunks on the buses?

Yeah, and not just the bus, man. We traveled for quite a while in this little beat-up van thing, and it's just a lot. I'm 44 years old, and it starts aching my back, and it's like, "What are we doing it for?" But there's no telling, you know? I could get hit by a truck tomorrow, or somehow my career blossoms in a way where I'm wanted on the road. But I'm pretty much enjoying the non-road right now.

What would it take to see a reunion of the original Samples lineup?

Oh, man, I don't think it would take that much. I've tried to do it twice in the last year. But then I wrote the guys about two or three weeks ago, and Charles is very interested, Al's very interested, Jeep said he's making an album so he can't do it, and I didn't hear a response from Andy. I'd love to do it. I'd certainly love to make an album with those guys.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Callaway