NSquirrel Nut Zippers never intended to break up in 2001. The group, which came to prominence during the mid-’90s swing boom, simply took a hiatus that just kept going.
“People were reorganizing their lives and taking a break from all that stress,” says singer and multi-instrumentalist Katharine Whalen, who released two solo albums during the interim.
And while the group went through a lawsuit with former members Tom Maxwell and Ken Mosher, which was settled out of court, she says “there was no animosity” between the five members who are part of the current reunion.
In fact, drummer Chris Phillips found his bandmates quite receptive to the idea of playing shows again when he began making phone calls last year.
“The chemistry is still very much intact,” says Phillips, 38. “I think we just realized that we still meant a lot to each other and it was really gonna be a great thing to get back together and play some old songs, maybe work on some new stuff ...”
The latter, in fact, is top of mind among the Zippers these days. No new material has been broached yet, but Whalen says that “we’ve been talking about it.” And Phillips adds there was no question about resuming the group as a going concern.
“We couldn’t have (reunited) unless it was creatively alive,” Phillips says. “Right now we’re wanting to put more attention into the band and do some shows through the summer and make sure everything’s cool. Then maybe in the fall we’ll talk about some recording projects we can work into.
“That has to happen naturally. There’s all sorts of great plans we can conceive of, but it has to happen on its own. And we’re comfortable to let that happen. We’re not in as much of a hurry as we were before.”
Squirrel Nut Zippers perform Friday (July 13th) at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call (248) 544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag. com.