The Mascot Theory 2019

Erik Kjelland Talks New Live CD and FlannelFest
by Teri Barr
November 2019

The Mascot Theory - photo by Kristen Weier

The Mascot Theory
photo by Kristen Weier

If you are in a band and putting out new music, there’s a good chance I’ve asked you, “Will it be a live album?” I love everything about live music. The energy, the excitement, the unknown. And I enjoy how all of it transfers during the live recording for a CD or album. Those are also the moments captured for a person to re-live, whenever listening to that CD or album. I’d been bugging Erik Kjelland, founder of the Madison-based band The Mascot Theory, for awhile about it. “Erik,” I’d say. “You guys are so great live. When are you going to do a live album?” He’d always laugh, but would never really reply about possible plans the folk rock band may have had for a live album.

Then, earlier this year, a small group of family and fellow music lovers received an invitation to be part of a special night of music. The location remained a secret until just days before it happened. Members of The Mascot Theory, Erik (vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica), Corey Mathew Hart (vocals, electric guitar), Nick Fry (bass guitar), and Paul Metz (vocals, drums), along with guest musicians, Gabe Burdulis (vocals, electric guitar), and Shawndell Marks (keyboard), had something planned and didn’t want anything to go wrong. We were asked to show up on what turned out to be an icy, cold February night, but inside Clutch Sound Studios in Fitchburg, there was warmth and excitement. I was there as both a friend, and the person “taking over” The Mascot Theory’s social media. I would be sharing what was revealed during the event, though none of us was quite sure what was about to unfold. Studio engineer and owner Brian Liston simply asked everyone to enjoy the show, and share our enthusiasm for the songs. Then Erik told us we were all about to be part of not just a live album, but a D.V.D. of the video captured this particular night. Well, I thought. This is awesome! “We’ve been playing some of these songs for many years now,” Erik said. “An over time the music has morphed and twisted during our live shows. So we decided to capture this performance as just a small snapshot of a collection of these particular songs with this group of musicians.”     

And the performance did not disappoint. The setlist included 9 songs, old and new, but due to the occasion of recording it for a live album, the energy was off the charts. The band responded, and the small but loud crowd, cheered in reply. Now, months later, I’ve had the opportunity to get both a sneak listen and look at the CD/DVD double-disc combo, and it is terrific. It’s everything I remember about the warmth and fun as we enjoyed great live music that night. And now it’s captured as live audio and video for all of us to enjoy over and over. “It’s like a time-capsule album that represents our past as well as where we are right now as a band,” Erik said. “And we are grateful for the continued support we have received as a band.” 

The release of “The Mascot Theory: Live at Clutch Sound Studios” CD/DVD will be officially celebrated at the band’s annual Flannel Fest show at High Noon Saloon on Friday, November 8th. It is also a fundraiser for the Keep Wisconsin Warm/Cool Fund which works to sustain heat and electricity for the elderly, Veterans, and other families in need of help. Along with The Mascot Theory this year will be The Listening Party, The North Code, Beth Kille Band, and Trapper Schoepp. All of those same bands will join The Mascot Theory for Flannel Fest - North at Gibson Music Hall in Appleton on Saturday, November 9th. Two nights of fundraising and fun. Two nights to celebrate this long-awaited live album from The Mascot Theory.

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Mascot Theory 2019
CD: Live at Clutch Sound Studios Record Label: Stone After Stone Records
Purchase Live at Clutch Sound Studios on Amazon
Download Live at Clutch Sound Studios on Amazon