The String Cheese Incident Twenty-Three Cheesy Years Later

11 January 2016
Tony Gatto

When this eclectic array of musicians and friends strung their first chords on stage together in the Colorado Rockies some 23 years ago, very few in attendance could have imagined the long road that lied ahead for The String Cheese Incident. Within just a few shorts years of inception this modern bluegrass-infused, Afro-Caribbean, jazzy psychedelic funk rock band had already made repeat appearances on the main stage at Telluride Bluegrass Music Festival as well as hundreds of shows in Colorado and other western states. As their influence ballooned and their tight-knit fan base widened, they released their first album Born on the Wrong Planet in 1996 with many staple String Cheese songs that still appear in their extensive repertoire today. Just a few short years later, they started their record label, SCI Fidelity, which has since shaped the music industry. It has paved the way for grassroots bands and artists from all walks of life to make a living in the ever changing music landscape of the 21st Century.

Twenty-three cheesy years later, five more studio albums and numerous live albums, the addition of unparalleled percussionist Jason Hann in 2006, and the sextet is still going strong. The band has since expanded their sound to encompass an intermittent electronic feel, with hints of everything from modern pop to progressive rock and an expanded feeling of all around psychedelia, engulfed entirely by a strong aura of love and togetherness. Despite their level of success and accreditation, The String Cheese Incident has remained faithful to both their Colorado and bluegrass roots. This array of music new and old came to a climax during 2015's New Years Eve run as the festivities took place at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colorado. While playing two or more songs off of every studio album, they still debuted three new covers, had two amazing collaborations with members of Umphrey’s McGee and Big Gigantic, epic drum solos, duos, and trios each night, while managing to play almost every crowd pleaser in their seemingly never-ending catalog. Adding to the auditory excitement, the visual experience was the most epic display of 3D effects, lights, and lasers ever to be witnessed. From props and drones to actors and acrobats, The String Cheese Incident did not hold back.

The year 2016 is very promising for SCI. Having already announced their March Madness Tour, a string of seven shows throughout Nevada and California leading up to their much-anticipated three night Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas run, there is much excitement to come. Additionally, band members have made verbal promises to return to two of their “own” music festivals, Electric Forest in Rothbury, MI as well Suwanee Hulaween in Live Oak, FL. These two festivals are revered nationwide not only for the beautiful land that they sit on but for the no holes barred visual displays of art, lights, and entertainment. Moreover, Bill Nershi has spoken of an acoustic tour that would undoubtedly excite all String Cheese fans young and old. As the String Cheese that we all know and love age into the finest, most exquisite Cheese we’ve ever experienced, their future continues to get brighter.

To a wonderful and Cheesy 2016. Let your love light shine.

To a wonderful and Cheesy 2016. Let your love light shine.

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