Ian Anderson 1:56 p.m., Jan. 27
Augustana Losing Sales, Major Label Support, & Members, But Will Tour in 2012
"There has been some confusion regarding the current state of Augustana," says founding frontman Dan Layus. "While some members have parted ways, Augustana will continue to tour and perform. We'll be playing songs from all three albums and new material. We look forward to seeing you all in the New Year."
Apparently now a quartet, the band will hit the road in January for a three-week tour, kicking off at House of Blues in Anaheim on January 17 (dates below).
Keyboardist/singer John Vincent left the group earlier this year, to be replaced by previous Augustana band member, David Lamoureux. In September, rumors were rife that the band had split, having been dropped from their major label contract with Epic. However, the tour announcement indicates otherwise, though it appears Lamoureux has left the band, again: His name and photo was cut this week from the band's Facebook page.
Lamoureux joins previous defectors Simeon Lohrmann (bass) and founding guitarist/mandolin player Josiah Rosen, as well as Josh Calhoun, Kyle Baker, Nik Ewing, and Thomas Lesnick.
Like former locals Stone Temple Pilots, Augustana have been scorned by some for their seemingly "instant" success. After playing only a handful of shows, they were signed by Epic Records, who released their debut (All the Stars and Boulevards) in September 2005. The album was produced in Georgia by Brendan O'Brien (STP, Pearl Jam), and the title single was for a time the sixth most requested track on L.A.'s KROQ 106.7 FM.
"There's always a backlash when a band lands a major-label deal without paying their requisite 'dues' beforehand," says Layus.
"We dropped out of college in Greenville, Illinois, before the 2004 fall semester to move to San Diego" says Layus, "so you can't say we didn't take a chance to make our music happen." Three of the foursome did migrate from the Midwest; drummer Justin South was a local acquisition.
Does Augustana consider itself a San Diego band? "Absolutely," says Layus. "A very, very, very lucky San Diego band."
All the Stars and Boulevards' catchy piano flourishes on their hit song "Boston" helped pushed that song to platinum sales status.
Original guitarist Josiah Rosen left the band in 2006, to embark on a solo career.
In September 2007, the band took up temporary residence in L.A. to record a new album. Many of the new songs debuted in Fall '07 on their website. The band's 2008 album Can't Love Can't Hurt debuted on the Billboard Top 200 chart at #21, with the first single being the piano-drenched "Sweet and Low."
Augustana's song "Twenty Years" was heard on the May 5, 2008 episode of TV's One Tree Hill, as well as being heard on another show, Number, on October 17. Their song "Rest Shames, Love" appeared in the 2008 film PS I Love You.
The group toured with Counting Crows in summer 2010. On Wednesday July 21, Crows singer Adam Duritz jammed with Augustana onstage before getting behind the microphone to perform with his own band at Mountain Park in Holyoke, MA. The multiband jams continued as the tour rolled on.
Their self-titled third album, released by Epic Records in early 2011, was recorded in L.A. with Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Norah Jones, etc.), with the first single being “Steal Your Heart.” Around the same time, their song “Fire” was covered on teen YouTube phenom Greyson Chance’s debut EP Waiting Outside the Lines.
The new album has somewhat failed to live up expectations, despite Epic's major-label push. At this writing, it has only sold around 29,000 copies in the U.S. By comparison, All the Stars and Boulevards sold over 345,000 U.S. copies, while Can't Love Can't Hurt sold 121,000 U.S. copies.
Currently, they’re back in San Diego after a two month 25-show U.S. tour that included an appearance on the David Letterman Show.
Here's the band doing an unexpected (and perhaps unintentionally humorous) cover of "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac:
17th Anaheim, CA House of Blues
18th Los Angeles, CA El Rey Theatre
19th San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
21st Seattle, WA Crocodile
22nd Portland, OR Doug Fir Lounge
24th Salt Lake City, UT Club Sound
25th Denver, CO Bluebird Theater
27th Minneapolis, MN Varsity Theater
28th Chicago, IL Park West
30th Ann Arbor, MI Blind Pig
31st Boston, MA Paradise Rock
1st New York, NY Gramercy Theatre
3rd Philadelphia, PA Theatre of Living Arts
4th Washington, DC 930 Club
6th Charlotte, NC Visulite Theatre
7th Atlanta, GA Vinyl