After 16 years of performing over 100 concerts annually, releasing seven studio albums and selling more than 3.3 million tracks online, Umphrey’s McGee might be forgiven if they chose to rest on their laurels and attend to their lives as husbands and fathers. But you’d be wrong. With their eighth studio album, Similar Skin, and first for their own indie label, Nothing Too Fancy (N2F) Music (distributed by RED), the group – which formed on the Notre Dame campus outside of South Bend, Indiana in 1997 – has something to prove. And that’s not just to their ever-loyal fan base, but to those who have never heard a note, or worse – dismiss them as “too sophisticated, too complex” or think they know what Umphrey’s McGee is all about.
In a shrinking music business, Umphrey’s McGee have found a way to connect to their fans on a grassroots, one-to-one level that keeps them returning for more, a sentiment that comes off loud and clear on Similar Skin, a paean to the complementary relationship between band and audience that has marked their 16-year career. Now, their DIY ethos is reflected in a new independent label, leaving Umphrey’s McGee free to chase their muse wherever it leads them.
“Success for me means sustaining it,” concludes Brendan. “If you told me 16 years ago, I’d be sitting here, I would have taken it in a minute. The whole goal is to keep this thing going. We’re now completely independent and in control of our own destinies. My motivation is for my children to be old enough to see me do this with their own eyes, and to be proud of me.”