By Mitch Bowman
VANCOUVER — Getting the old band back together is always a complicated business. Even when you’re just a bunch of dudes who never played anywhere outside of your drummer’s garage, getting everyone back in the same room after living separate lives for a few years can be a strange experience, and there’s even more complications when you’re a band that people actually care about.
Mineral is certainly a band that a lot of people care about, so their reunion has come with even more baggage than most. After putting out a pair of very well-loved albums in the mid-’90s, Mineral disappeared for 17 years before returning to play a few shows last fall. They’re now set to do a second batch of reunion shows, this time with a stop in Vancouver; things seem to be going pretty well, despite the inevitable skepticism that surrounds the reunion of a long-deceased band.
On the topic of that sort of thinking, Mineral’s singer and guitarist Chris Simpson explains, “There’s people who just don’t think it’s okay for a band to ever do [a reunion] – that it’s a moment in time, and it requires the context of the time, and I don’t think that’s necessarily wrong. There’s some validity to that. But just the joy that we’ve found with being able to connect with large audiences of people and play this music for them, something they wanted to hear and something they wanted to sing along with, that’s sort of medicine for any of the naysayers.”
In addition to putting his mind to rest about any negativity coming their way, Simpson’s thoughts on the reunion process also reflect a change in how Mineral approaches live performances.
“In the original days, it wasn’t really about connecting with people for us,” Simpson says. “We were young and we were just expressing ourselves. We felt very isolated at the time from the world, like a lot of young people do, creative people, you have this sort of mentality that it’s you against the world.”
Now, as those feelings of isolation have dissipated with age, Simpson feels like they’re spending more of their time enjoying the connection between them and their audience that comes with any sort of live performance art.
They’re doing it on a scale that they were never able to back in the day, too. Like a lot of ‘90s emo bands, Mineral didn’t reach the height of their commercial success until after they had broken up. Getting back together and being able to play bigger, nicer venues than ever before has been a pleasant change of pace for a band accustomed to playing smaller DIY spaces.
“It’s been great,” Simpson says. “I always felt like, as much as we loved the DIY shows we played and the energy of them, we definitely had ambition as a band back in the day. We wanted to be playing huge places for lots of people. And I think the music sounds really big, like I think it lends itself to bigger rooms and bigger sound systems in order to get across the grandiosity, for lack of a better word, of the music.
Of course, the question that looms over every reunion band, whether or not a new record will be written, is something that Mineral has done some serious thinking about.
“I think we’re very aware that it’s potentially dangerous territory,” Simpson explains. “With something like this, the legend of Mineral is almost bigger than Mineral itself, and when you start doing new things, that obviously affects the legacy. You wouldn’t want to do something that none of your fans like – we’d never wanna do anything like that. For us it would have to be something really organic, it would have to feel right for all of us, it would have to make sense; the material would have to make sense as an extension of the Mineral catalogue.
“It’s definitely an interesting idea that we’re curious about, but whether or not that will mean it happens, I don’t know yet…”
Mineral plays with Hum at The Rickshaw on Monday, September 21st.BC, British Columbia, Mineral, Rickshaw Theatre