Music, community and fire

Boulder bands team with members of Phish for Fourmile benefit

David Accomazzo | Boulder Weekly





Leftover Salmon’s Vince Herman found out about the Fourmile Canyon fire while touring — his Nederland house was in the evacuation zone, but didn’t burn — and since returning to Boulder, he has yet to survey the now-torched land.


“I haven’t had the nerve to even drive through the area. It’s always been a really special place for me up there, and it’s kind of too much for me to handle looking at,” he says. “My personal favorite spot on the planet Earth is up there — a little place called Crow’s Nest. And from what I understand it’s charred completely.

“You can see Boulder and [U.S. Highway] 36 and all that traffic, city life down there, and then you turn the other way and it’s just mountains — no street lights. It’s a perfect yin-yang spot to watch the sun set and the moon rise. It’s just the center of the universe to me. I just can’t bring myself to go up there yet.”

The “Big Four” Boulder bands of the ’90s and ’00s — The String Cheese Incident, a suspiciously Leftover Salmon-like combo billed as “Vince Herman and Drew Emmitt & Friends,” Big Head Todd and the Monsters and Yonder Mountain String Band — will join for a concert to benefit Fourmile Canyon fire victims on Saturday, Oct. 9, at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield.

Joining the Big Four will be Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon, Page McConnell and Trey Anastasio — the members of legendary jam band Phish, billed as “Very Special Guests.”

No one will say for sure if the Phish guys will play a set, and the press release announcing the show didn’t specify if all four members would play as a group at the same time.

“It’s going to be a fantastic event,” says Don Strasburg of AEG Live. “We’re sure unique musical opportunities will arise; we’re just not sure what those will be.”

Tickets for the show sold out minutes after going on sale.

Brian Nevin, drummer for Big Head Todd and the Monsters, lives around Fourmile Canyon, and his home was in the evacuation zone. He didn’t lose his home, but he knows people who did. He says he and the other band members jumped at the opportunity to help.

“These are our friends and neighbors, and a good portion of these bands live up in the foothills of Boulder County,” Nevin says. “When we were looking for what can we do to help, it was kind of a no-brainer.”

For Adam Aijala, guitarist for Yonder Mountain String Band, the decision to play the show was easy.

“Obviously, some of us live in the mountains — my wife and I have lived in the mountains for 10 years, and as any area when there’s some sort of disaster, the local community always tends to get together and help in any way, and that was pretty much one of the first thoughts we had when the fire was still burning,” Aijala says. “The idea of doing a benefit was pretty much right off the bat.

“Shit, if this thing sells out … that could help a ton of people. Even if just for clothes, hotels in the meantime … The band is obviously behind it right from the beginning.”

Aijala also adds that there is a possibility of mix-and-match jam sessions between the bands. He says such collaborations would be “hell for the guy doing the sound,” but that the musicians would most likely look forward to it. Nevin agrees.

“I think there’s probably going to be a bunch of collaborations,” Nevin says. “Everyone is kind of talking about sitting in with each other. I don’t think anything’s been solidified.”

Bassist Keith Moseley of String Cheese Incident (SCI) also lives in the Fourmile evacuation area, and he has friends who lost their homes. He says he instantly started thinking about how to help once the fire started burning.

“[SCI guitarist Bill Nershi] and I started talking about doing a benefit concert right after the fire and contacted our management about it,” he wrote in an e-mail to Boulder Weekly. “A few days later we heard back from them that KBCO was wanting to put something together and that other bands were also wanting to play. I am really proud and excited that this event has generated so much community support and hope that it will go a long way towards helping the folks that need it the most.”

All proceeds will go to the Boulder Mountain Fire Relief Fund, which supports the volunteer fire departments and burn-area residents that were affected by the fire.

Nonprofit Conscious Alliance will also host a food drive at the show to benefit Boulder Community Food Share. Those bringing 10 non-perishable food items will receive a limited-edition poster by artist Richard Biffle.

On the Bill

String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band, Vince Herman and Drew Emmitt & Friends, and Big Head Todd & the Monsters, with very special guests Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon, Page McConnell and Trey Anastasio, will
play the 1stBank Center on Saturday, Oct. 9. Show starts at 6 p.m.
Tickets are sold out. 11450 Broomfield Lane, Broomfield, 303-410-0700