A little background
In 1992 Reid Genauer and John Trafton founded Strangefolk as a college band at UVM.
Soon they added drums (Luke Smith) and bass (Erik Glockler) to the mix and began to tour
heavily around the Northeast, playing as many as 100 shows a year. By 2000, Reid became
increasingly tired of the monotonous routine of touring and opted to leave the band in
favor of business school at Cornell. He soon got restless and signed himself up for an
open mic performance in Ithaca. After being greeted by a warm reception, he booked a gig
three weeks later, only to have it sell out two weeks in advance. He then decided to tour
occasionally as a solo act.
Bit by bit he invited first Adam Terell (lead guitar),
then John Leccese (bass), and finally Andy Herrick (drums) to join him. By the winter of 2001,
Nate Wilson signed on and soon after they started to tour as the Assembly of Dust.
So...on to the show Reid's performance kicked off at 3:45 p.m. on April 26 in Smith Union
with a healthy mix of new and old Strangefolk and Assembly of Dust tunes. The songs included:
"Fountain" (debuted in 1994 with Strangefolk, added to AOD's repertoire in 2003),
"Strange Ranger" (debuted in 1996, played since the formation of AOD Roads-off of
Weightless In Water by Strangefolk, released in 1997), "Long Dead" (debuted last fall),
"Heartblood" (debuted in 1998, featured Nate Wilson on keys), "Seduction of Poses"
(debuted two months ago), "Sometimes" (off of Lore, by Strangefolk, released in 1996,
co written by Reid and Jon Trafton), "Brown-Eyed Women" (Grateful Dead cover-second
time played by AOD, 2-14-2002, Higher Ground), and finally "Reuben's Place" (off of
original Strangefolk demo CD, released in 1994).
The Interview While Reid and John were not too keen on taking keg stands at five
in the afternoon, we ventured to the Tower for an intimate conversation. As we began
the interview, we were first struck by Reid and John's honest demeanor. Their ability
to craft vivid stories in song gives nearly everyone an avenue by which they, too,
can relate personal experience and emotion. As we all crammed into Paul's single on
the eleventh floor, we eased into a conversation skirting issues of politics, musical taste,
and past experience. Reid was very candid and honest sitting on the end of Paul's bed
as he crafted his answers. While many bands in the same genre are exclusively instrumentally
driven, Reid is also lyrically ambitious.
So, when asked where he draws his influence,
he was very modest in saying that he keeps a "cheat sheet" referring to how if someone
"turns a cool phrase" he will jot it down. Furthermore, he spoke of certain novels that
have had particular influence on him, including Cold Mountain, Lord of the Rings,
and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters. In response to the question of fusing politics
and music, he spoke of how music is an escape for him, rather than a medium for which ideals
can be expressed. John spoke of David Crosby's inclination to digress into 30-minute political
invectives. Reid did admit that he believes there is a subtle way of entwining personal reflection
into song. For instance Reid wrote the song "Shame" in response to 9/11 (refer to www.reidgenauer.com).
On a lighter note, our next question explored the topic of musical taste. When asked what three
live shows Reid and John would most like to catch, Reid stubbornly responded The Grateful Dead
(Cornell 1977) and David Gray. John, adhering to the intended limits of the question, replied Beck,
The Flaming Lips, and Peter Gabriel. Lastly, both Reid and John were ecstatic with the energy
of the band, speaking of how they often laugh till their guts hurt when on tour.
The feeling of AOD is reminiscent of the excitement found in one's first band. Paul is a junior,
and would like to know if Debbie will go to the Gala with him.