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Well-lit

Could The Posies again be poised for greatness?

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The Posies discuss their future takeover of America.
  • The Posies discuss their future takeover of America.

Seven years ago, Ken Stringfellow thought he'd played his last note with Jon Auer, his longtime friend and musical collaborator in The Posies.

It was a disappointing turn of events, considering only a few years before that, The Posies' future seemed bright.

Formed in December 1987, the Seattle-based Posies debuted with Failure one year later. This led to a deal with major label Geffen Records and the 1990 release of Dear 23, a disc that nicely showcased the pure pop songcraft of Stringfellow and Auer and prompted predictions of impending stardom.

By the time Frosting On The Beater arrived in 1993, grunge had exploded out of Seattle. And with a harder-hitting sound and the strongest collection of Posies songs yet, that album seemed like a good candidate for a commercial breakthrough.

It didn't happen, and the next disc, 1996's Amazing Disgrace, remained an underappreciated effort.

By the late 1990s, the once-bright future of The Posies had dimmed dramatically. The group split with Geffen, and in 1998 released what figured to be the final Posies CD, Success, on Popllama Records.

At that point, the relationship between Stringfellow and Auer had deteriorated. There appeared to be nothing to do but pursue separate paths. The Posies broke up.

"I wasn't really sure how it was going to work out. I certainly didn't envision us working together again," Stringfellow says. "I sort of had gotten the impression that there wasn't anything interesting left in there, that maybe we had done our best work and it was better to leave it at that, rather than repeat ourselves or whatever.

"That's how it seemed. And Jon and I weren't really relating as friends at that point, either. So any pleasure that could have been derived from the situation was nil. I figured, 'Well, time to move on.'"

The reunion started taking hold when the duo played some acoustic shows that resulted in a 2000 live album, In Case You Didn't Feel Like Plugging In.

Eventually Stringfellow and Auer brought on bassist Matt Harris and Darius Minwalla on drums.

In a unique move, the band went into the studio with no finished songs, and during a two-week session, all four musicians literally wrote and recorded a song -- minus lyrics -- each day. Lyrics then were recorded at a second recording session. The approach was dictated by circumstances, Stringfellow says.

"I suppose at first Jon and I were working very hard on our records," he says. "I had finished my last Ken Stringfellow solo record the day before we started on The Posies one. So I was probably pretty tapped out at that point. And Jon was working on a record, as well.

"So I think we kind of found ourselves in a position where starting from ground zero was not only interesting, but necessary. I guess without really discussing it that much, it just sort of started to point that way, and that kind of exercise seemed like a great musical challenge, too."

The current live set showcases a good chunk of this new Every Kind Of Light material, plus a cross-section of older songs, Stringfellow says.

"(The set) sort of hits all the highlights of our new record, Frosting On The Beater and Amazing Disgrace. Then we kind of picked some stuff from the other three albums to kind of fill it out."

-- Alan Sculley

capsule

The Posies with Oranger

Larimer Lounge, 2721 Larimer St., Denver

Thursday, Oct. 13, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $10; go to bigmarkstickets.com.

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