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Will Bradford of SeepeopleS to perform free acoustic show in Bangor

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Will Bradford of SeepeopleS to perform free acoustic show in Bangor (photo courtesy Will Bradford)

A rare opportunity to catch the leader of influential genre-defying band SeepeopleS in an intimate acoustic setting is scheduled for Friday, November 29, when Will Bradford performs a free show at Black Bear Brewery, 191 Exchange St. in Bangor.

Bradford says he loves performing in Bangor, where he grew up from the mid-1980s to the early ‘90s.

“I like to think that I lived in Bangor long enough to qualify as a local,” Bradford said with a laugh while his band took a break during the Boston recording sessions for its next record, “Field Guide For Survival in This Dying World,” due in 2020. It will be the first new SeepeopleS’ music since 2015’s 25-track double album “Dead Souls Sessions”

“We’re excited for people to hear the next SeepeopleS album,” Bradford told me. This band has always kind of blended genres or ignored them altogether. The next record will be a best-of musically, as far as all of the different styles and themes the band has touched on over the last 20 years, all wrapped up in one nice end of the world album (laughs).”

Genre blending (or bending, or ignoring as Bradford states) has been a hallmark of SeepeopleS’ output since the band formed two decades ago. Cite a musical style - from funk to punk, jam to jazz, pop-opera to mock-opera, SeepeopleS has dabbled in the form, while imbuing it with a keen sense of melody, musicianship, production and the occasional weirdness so beloved by the band’s fans.

SeepeopleS will enter its 20th year as a trio led by Bradford, with drummer Dan Capaldi and bassist Ian Riley.

The group has undergone a few lineup changes since performing its first concert on December 2, 2000, at the now defunct Oronoka restaurant in Orono. Based in Boston at the time, the band called itself Cosmic Dilemma, and also performed under that name at the Bangor Opera House.

In the summer of 2018, SeepeopleS found themselves in Facebook jail when the social network removed the band’s animated video for its song “New American Dream” from its platform.

In the self-scrutinous wake of Facebook cofounder Mark Zuckerberg’s Congressional testimony over his site’s data breach fallout with political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, Bradford says his band was, and continues to be, a victim.

“They classified our video as political hate speech,” Bradford said, adding that he’s been on the receiving end of death threats over the video, which lampooned numerous world leaders.

“We didn’t take most of the threats seriously,” he continued, “but I kind of liked the guy who sent me a video of himself shooting up all of our albums in his backyard. I figured he spent at least $90 on our music. I almost feel asking him to do it again (laughs).”

Bradford says it’s been a real frustration to see his band’s Facebook account essentially disabled but admits that the resulting coverage of the incident in the global music press has placed SeepeopleS’ music in front of many curious ears.

Listening to Bradford calmly relay the story as he saw it, I could detect no bitterness or anger over the incident; a perspective no doubt informed, at least in part, by the gratitude he feels to still be among the living.

In 2013, the musician sought help to overcome a 15-year addiction to opiates which began after a hospitalization. When his legitimate prescription expired, withdrawal symptoms kicked in, leading Bradford to begin buying street drugs.

“It was both the worst and best thing that ever happened to me,” he said. “I realized what a gift life is and how lucky I am to have a chance to still live it. Salvation can come to anyone, and it’s amazing when you find out what kind of person is being salvaged. When you come out the other side, you literally have to start learning how to live every part of life again.”

At Bradford’s upcoming appearance at Black Bear Brewery in Bangor, he says fans can expect a trip down memory lane.

“I try to play material from all of the records, including some of the early SeepeopleS songs,” he says. “There’s a bit of nostalgia because some of those songs aren’t really in rotation anymore but I like to play them because people ask for them.”

Bradford says the evening will also give him a chance to reconnect with old friend Tim Gallon, Black Bear Brewing Company’s owner and brewmaster.

“We’re old high school buddies,” Bradford says of Gallon. “I’m proud to have been one of Tim’s early guinea pigs from the dawn of his brewing days. I’m sure we were both of legal age, but let’s not do that math (laughs).”

(Will Bradford of SeepeopleS, with special guest SPARXSEA, will perform a free all-ages (accompanied by adult) show on Friday, November 29, at 8:00 p.m., at Black Bear Brewing Co., Exchange St. in Bangor.)

Last modified on Tuesday, 19 November 2019 06:51


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