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Yeah, that happened.
I spoke with Dan Didier, drummer for The Promise Ring and Maritime, on Monday, with the intention of posting a routine Q&A transcript here. Except, well, my voice recorder quit 54 seconds into the conversation.
Didier said some really smart and funny things about touring in a reunited emo band so beloved that I don’t even want to think about how many mixtape liners I scribbled its lyrics in. I’m still mortified. But I took notes, and Didier was gracious enough to follow up with me via email. Below, some of what we talked about, summarized:
On Twitter: The Promise Ring announced its 2012 presence with some cryptic tweets last November. Since then, it’s posted old photos, new Instagram photos, and super-enthusiastic comments about its tour—things that wouldn’t be possible when The Promise Ring 1.0 was touring. “Social media has affected our reunion run in such a positive way,” Didier writes. “For instance, once we learned of the Philly show being cancelled we called our promoter friend there and set up a show at The [First Unitarian] Church (a venue we have played many times before, as have Maritime). It was announced at 10 a.m. Tickets went on sale at noon and it was sold out in an hour all due to the fact that we could reach out to our Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Something like that wasn’t possible back when we started in ’95. Pretty extraordinary.”
On reunion culture: The Promise Ring has played few one-off shows, most notably at the Flower 15 Festival in Chicago in 2005. Instead of practicing and preparing for just one performance, the band decided to tour this year. As for the slew of other indie-rock staples that are also getting back together, like Braid and Texas Is the Reason? “For us, 2012 just made sense to us since our schedules cleared up and we could have the time to do this,” Didier writes in an email. “Maybe everyone else’s schedules cleared up in 2012! I don’t really know how to answer this, but I guess a lot of people have a lot of time on their hands.”
On whom he’d like to see reunited: The Smiths—or not! “I don’t know. I’ve seen Morrissey solo a few times, and I’d love to see The Smiths, but maybe not. They’re my favorite band,” Didier says. He’s also excited for Bob Mould’s Copper Blue tour, since Mould will be playing the full album.
On playing full albums: Didier is really into the idea. Would The Promise Ring ever play a full album? “If someone asked me, I’d do it, but if I said I wanted to do it, I don’t think anybody would go for it,” Didier says. He says he’d love to do a few nights in Chicago or New York where the band plays each of its albums. “But people would only come for Nothing Feels Good!” he says.
On D.C.: Didier remembers playing the now-shuttered Club Soda to a tiny crowd. “There were, like, three people there, but one of them was in the band Hoover, and we really loved Hoover. So at least a third of the audience was from Hoover,” he says.
On being a reunited band: “Yeah, it’s a little weird,” Didier writes. “There is a sort of disconnect because you can’t really let the genie out of the bottle twice. Back then, when we were actually a band, there was an excitement and we were into it and touring all the time and we didn’t know what the future would hold but all we cared about was what we were doing at that time. Now, there really isn’t that ‘specialness.’ There can never be. We are really just a photocopy of what we were back then.” He continues, “Now, don’t get me wrong. I love what we are doing for this reunion and it is a ton of fun and my love for these songs deepen every time I play them and there is lot of excitement. But, it is an excitement of what was and not an excitement of what might be like it was back then.”
The Promise Ring performs with Title Tracks tonight at 8 p.m. at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $25. 930.com. (202) 265-0930.