There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Next week, two things long thought impossible will occur: the country will prepare for the swearing in of its first black president and the original members of the go-go fusion band Lissen will reunite. The band plays together as one big happy group on Sunday at Mirrors.
The woes of Lissen (also known as L!ssen) have been covered extensively by both City Paper and the go-go bible TMOTT, but here’s a brief history of the conflict: In 2004, band members Scooby, Tuffy and O (also known as Frank Marshall, Andre Jackson and Jasen Holland, respectively) split from the group to start a new band and attempted to trademark the name Lissen. Group member Michael Thompson (who claimed he came up with the name back when he, Marshall, Jackson, and Holland were in high school), filed with the federal Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to oppose the effort.
During the battle, Thompson led a go-go outfit called L!ssen in HD, and Scooby, Tuffy, and O performed as Lissen Da Grew^p. It was all one big, confusing mess, grammatically and otherwise: the loyalties, and dollars, of Lissen fans were split.
Now, the band has decided to squash the long-standing beef, reform, and refocus their energies on strengthening the Lissen sound. “We’re excited that we’re going to take our spot back as one of the top bands in the city,” says Thompson.
He adds that the period of turmoil might have actually done the band some good.
“Because of that separation, we’re now coming back to the table as better musicians, better people, and all around better artists,” Thompson said during a phone call. “It will definitely bode well for the band as a whole.
Although Lissen is officially back together again, there is one notable absence: Tuffy, whose name is not included on the flyer for Sunday’s reunion show. Thompson confirms that Tuffy won’t be performing with the group, but says it’s not because his former bandmate is still pissed.
“There’s no friction,” Thompson says. “He moved away, got married, had a kid, and has no inclination to get back into the day-to-day schedule of being in a band. I don’t blame him.”
As evidenced by the event flyer, the band has chosen the upcoming MLK holiday/presidential inauguration as a bit of a tie-in for the reunion show. In keeping with that theme, they’ve released some incredible promo pictures of the reunited group looking like go-go cabinet members. For the full set, check out the band’s MySpace, or TMOTT.