IF YOU GO
What: WXPN welcomes The Posies, with openers Terra Lightfoot and E. Joseph and The Sparrows.
When: 8 p.m. June 13.
Where: World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., Philadelphia.
Info.: (215) 222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com.
Seattle area indie rock/power pop band The Posies are marking their 30th anniversary this year by issuing three expanded re-releases of fan-favorite albums originally put out by Geffen Records.
However, in order to keep the June 15 release date for 1990’s “Dear 23,” the Aug. 3 release for 1993’s “Frosting on the Beater” and an Oct. 28 arrival for 1996’s “Amazing Disgrace,” The Posies have embarked upon a world tour to raise awareness of a crowdfunding campaign that’s essential to making it all happen.
“The tour is definitely helping,” said Posies singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ken Stringfellow, estimating that 75 percent of the goal had been raised as of May 23. “The pledge campaign is really to raise the money so Omnivore (the band’s label) can rent these albums from Universal.”
The PledgeMusic pre-order campaign can be found at www.pledgemusic.com/projects/the-posies. The band is offering various personal items, experiences and exclusive merchandise — from clothes they’ve worn on stage, or in videos, to “quality time” with Stringfellow and co-frontman Jon Auer in Paris, or a coffee date in Seattle. Also being offered are private shows, music lessons, plus exclusive Jon- and Ken-style guitars. Finally, the band offers VIP experiences and souvenirs from their 30th anniversary tour, which will include a show at World Cafe Live in Philly.
Earlier this year, Stringfellow and Auer played an acoustic duo show at Milkboy, which was well-attended, according to Stringfellow. But the June 13 concert will be much different, reuniting them with 1992-1994 Posies members Mike Musburger (drums) and Dave Fox (bass). “It’s the ‘Frosting on the Beater’ lineup, playing like we did in ‘93, but better,” Stringfellow said. “Everybody knows what they’re doing, and with the knowledge how lucky we are to have people come out to see you (play) when you’re 50 years old.”
“Frosting on the Beater”’s lead single, “Dream All Day,” came with an appropriately dreamy video featuring the band romping in snow. Stringfellow shared that it was a warm sunny day, but because they were in the mountains, there was still a blanket of snow on the ground. However jumping around in snow while miming a song can be hazardous to your health. “Dave Fox broke two ribs. He landed on his bass or a rock,” said Stringfellow. Also, the director’s plan to make fog for the video went awry, creating a wet mist because of the mountain altitude. “A fog machine at sea level doesn’t work in the mountains the same way,” he said.
“Each record tells a different story. You can see the process of refinement,” Stringfellow said. “‘Dear 23’ was a record made by a band that had never toured (nationally) before. It was like trying to play (Beatles album) ‘Abbey Road’ live. Our sound toughened up. We lost some of the delicacy.”
At the time The Posies were first getting college radio airplay with the “Dear 23” single “Golden Blunders” — which Ringo Starr would later cover in 1992 — The Posies were tapped as an opening act for The Replacements.
Stringfellow recalled that by 1990 “it was the beginning of the end” for The Replacements. “Chris Mars had quit. They weren’t drinking, so that was weird for them,” he said, adding that sobriety meant they didn’t have any of their infamously bad shows; but it also meant they weren’t as good as when he saw them perform in Seattle in 1987.
To this day, Stringfellow harbors hatred toward The Replacements’ tour manger from that period. “I understand you have to get tough at times, but he did stuff just to be mean,” he said.
With major changes in the way music is consumed, the 1990-1996 trio of Posies albums have not been regularly available. The CDs are out of print (and not completely true to the analog masters), and the albums’ presence on streaming services is inconsistent. “The Posies are a band that fell through so many cracks, I don’t know where to begin,” Stringfellow said
Each of the titles will come as a two-CD set with previously unissued bonus tracks, and also in the form of a two-LP set of the original album, with “Dear 23” and “Frosting on the Beater” mastered at 45 rpm. Stringfellow said the previously-unreleased track that made the biggest impression on him was a demo version of the “Frosting on the Beater” song “Earlier Than Expected.”