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Umphrey's McGee Revisits Leftovers From Last Album

Of the Oakland Press

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Umphrey’s McGee planned its last album, 2006’s “Safety in Numbers,” to be a two-disc set — one of acoustic and one of electric tracks.

But when the improvisation-minded Chicago sextet changed its mind and put out a single-disc set, it didn’t discard the remaining songs.

Now they’re coming out as “The Bottom Half,” a two-CD set that features the outtakes from “Safety in Numbers” and a second disc of demos, alternate versions and studio chatter.

“It’s still a record — just with the songs that didn’t make the cut for (‘Safety ...’) or didn’t seem to fit,” explains bassist Ryan Stasik, 30. “Most of those tracks were supposed to go on that other album, so they still have some congruency going on.

“We just thought it would be cool to let the fans, especially for a long time, see what goes on and get a look at the process we go through when we’re making music.” Stasik and his bandmates have been spending time making new music recently. A session in January recorded about 10 songs, the bassist says, and the band has plans to hit the studio in between touring stints to finish an album he expects to be different than its predecessors.

“This record is definitely going to be a lot heavier,” Stasik predicts. “A lot of us listen to a lot of (progressive) rock, a lot of heavy metal. This stuff definitely has more edge, so it’s definitely leaning toward that direction.

“But we’re nowhere lyrically. We’ve got melodies and stuff, so we don’t know what the content is about — which means everything could change before we’re through.”

Umphrey’s McGee and Adrian Belew perform at 9 p.m. Friday (March 16th) at Clutch Cargos, 65 E. Huron St., Pontiac. Tickets are $17.50. Call (248) 333-2362 or visit www. clutchcargos.com.

Web Site: www.clutchcargos.com

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