Umphrey's McGee Biography

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Birth Place: South Bend, IN/ Chicago, IL, USA
Years Active: 1997-present
Genres: Rock, Progressive Rock

Umphrey's McGee is an American progressive rock jam band based in Chicago formed at the University of Notre Dame in December 1997. The band has an eclectic style ranging from prog rock, funk, jazz, blues, electronica/dance and metal. Current members include guitarists Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger, bassist Ryan Stasik, keyboardist Joel Cummins, percussionist Andy Farag and drummer Kris Myers who replaced original drummer Mike Mirro in 2003. Although the band is part of the jamband scene, like Phish and the Grateful Dead (with ever-changing setlists, improvisation, two sets per night, open taping policy, etc.), they are also influenced musically by progressive rock bands such as King Crimson, Yes, Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, Frank Zappa, and early Genesis, as well as heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden.

In mid-1998, after only 8 months together, the band self-released their debut album, “Greatest Hits Vol. III.” The decision to release a studio disc allowed them to more readily book live performances. Though long out of print, this debut album contains songs that remain staples of Umphrey's live sets, such as “Divisions,” “Phil's Farm,” “FF” and “All in Time.” In 1998, the band released their first live album, “Songs for Older Women.”

Guitarist Jake Cinninger joined the band in September 2000. Shortly after Cinninger's arrival, the band released another live album, “One Fat Sucka,” which contained live performances recorded in the summer and fall of 2000.

June 2002 saw the release of the band's first proper studio album, “Local Band Does OK.” The album was the last to feature original drummer Mike Mirro who left the band shortly after its release.

In 2004, the band released “Anchor Drops,” recorded in several different studios throughout the Chicago area. Shortly before the release of the album, the band scored a distribution deal for both “Anchor Drops” and “Local Band Does OK,” and for the first time, Umphrey's McGee music was available in stores all over the country.

Also around this time, the UM Live program was initiated with each of the band’s live concerts offered for sale at the conclusion of the show. This translated into a partnership with Disc Logic and the band began to offer recordings of their shows for sale online.

In 2006, Umphrey's released their fourth studio effort, “Safety In Numbers.” Huey Lewis and Joshua Redman appeared as guests and famed artists Storm Thorgerson (Hipgnosis) designed the album’s cover. The album reached #16 on the Billboard Independent Albums chart and marked their first entry on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

Several tracks recorded during the “Safety In Numbers” sessions were later released in 2007 as “The Bottom Half.” The double album again featured cover art by Thorgerson with the second disc comprising demos, outtakes, and b-sides from the original recordings. The album reached #22 on the Independent Albums chart.

A live double-album, “Live at the Murat,” was released in October 2007. The album was recorded over two nights at the Murat Centre in Indianapolis, Indiana in April 2007. It peaked within the Top 40 of the Independent Albums chart.

The released the studio album, “Mantis,” in 2009. The progressive rock focused album featured the nearly 12-minute title track and reached #6 on the Independent Albums chart. It also reached #63 on the Billboard 200.

Their sixth studio album, “Death By Stereo,” was released via ATO Records in September 2011. It debuted at #17 on the Independent Albums chart and at #76 on the Billboard 200.





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