Welcome to the Tribe

Members of many bands big enough to be booked at Red Rocks aren’t interested in doing press -- unless the show’s selling poorly, that is. But not only were some of the men in Sound Tribe Sector 9 eager to speak for the September 6 profile accessible here. All of them were. Moreover, the individual players -- drummer Zach Velmer, bassist David Murphy, percussionist Jeffree Lerner, keyboardist David Phipps and guitarist Hunter Brown -- were extremely generous with their time, talking at length about the entire history of their intriguing group: its past, its present and its future.

The approach taken to these sprawling Q&As -- arrayed below in the order they were conducted circa early August -- was intended to mirror STS9’s improvisational methodology. With a few individualized exceptions, the questions used for each interview were the same, with an emphasis on telling the story of how they became musicians and tracing the evolution of the band from its germinal stages to the present day. But rather than sticking to each inquiry as rigidly as some groups stay true to the recorded versions of their songs in concert, I encouraged the 9ers to go off on whatever tangents struck them at the moment. For that reason, the pieces tend to start similarly but end up feeling very different.

Readers who don’t know much about Sound Tribe will get a graduate level course in the group by perusing these extended chats -- and even longtime fans are likely to learn something new. Join the Tribe below. -- Michael Roberts

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.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts