There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
After 10 years, four albums, and a shitload of shows, one of D.C.’s favorite bands is no more. Bassist Eric Axelson of the Dismemberment Plan, who broke the news on the band’s Web site Jan. 19, says the foursome got together after its last tour and decided to take a few weeks off from practicing. “There was some burnout in the air, and we figured…maybe some time off would defuse things,” said Axelson via e-mail Tuesday. “So we did those Black Cat shows before New Year’s, and then got back together last week to see where everyone was and decided to start wrapping things up.”
Plan members’ inexorable march toward their 30s provoked “a little analysis and soul-searching about doing this all day, every day,” says frontman Travis Morrison. “We’re not like the Police. We’re not hardened musicians. It’s much more something that was generated by the community and liking being around each other when we were 19 and 20.”
Axelson and Morrison both cite the band’s live performances as its biggest accomplishments, with this December’s Black Cat blowout with Miss Spice standing as a favorite moment. “I’d like to be remembered as the band that made it OK to dance at shows again,” Axelson says. “I think folks forget the ’90s in D.C., where everyone just did the punk-rock nod to the beat….I’m feeling pretty lucky that by our second record, people at our shows decided, Fuck it, let’s dance.”
As for the band’s immediate future, DeSoto Records’ Kim Coletta says 10 tracks are in the can for an album of fan remixes that could see a release this summer. “There’s potentially a few new Dismemberment Plan songs rattling around, and something may come of that on DeSoto,” says Coletta. “Even though the band is still making amazing music, sometimes you’re just ready for change. Sometimes bands stay together too long, and that’s not good.” She adds, “Don’t get me wrong—I’m really bummed out.”
To soften the blow, the Plan will play the shows it’s already booked for this winter and is considering one last nationwide tour in the early summer. There’s also been talk of playing irregularly in D.C., possibly once a year at Fort Reno. Morrison, though, has set an April date to start recording some of his own material, and possibly some of the rattling remnants of the Plan, for a solo album. “I love music more deeply than when I was 23,” he says. “I have absolutely no idea what’s going to come from it….[I]t’s kind of exciting to have some question marks.”
Morrison says everyone in the band still gets along just fine: “It was just a laugh, the whole time, and I’m really glad that we’re closing it out this way.”
“[W]e’ve been doing this for over 10 years, pretty much since I was 21,” adds Axelson. “I’m not sure what adult life’s like without working on the Dismemberment Plan. I guess it’s time to find out.” —