Former Harvey Danger frontman Sean Nelson is prudent about the prospect of getting the band back together. On the one hand, he prefers the band dynamic to the solo one, this despite the excellence of his solo debut, 2013’s Make Good Choices.
“The thing I really like about doing music is the collaboration of having a band,” he says. “Having a band with your name on it makes it feel less that way for everybody.” On the other, he says, the inevitability of band reunions almost demands he do the opposite.
“There is something to be said for letting the thing go and not getting back together,” he says. “If we change our minds, I would recant this instantly. But there is some part of me trying not to squeeze another drop out of the wash cloth of the band.”
Nelson does admit that he and other former Harvey Danger members have “talked about the possibility of playing again,” having not done so since the end of their first reunion in 2009. He cautions, however, that another album would be “a little hard to imagine” and that because various members of no longer live near Nelson’s Seattle home, logistics on any new music, not to mention a tour, would be tricky.
“It feels odd to be talking about a thing [‘Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone?’] from 18 years ago. Cause it’s not like it was fuckin’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band’ or something.”
A couple years ago No Sleep Records reissued the band’s gold-certified debut Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone? for the first time on vinyl. “It felt really good,” he says. “Then, after a couple of weeks, I was like, it feels odd to be talking about a thing from 18 years ago. Cause it’s not like it was fuckin’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band or something. The record was not a sensation. It did so much better than we thought it would. It was very significant in all of our lives. ‘Flagpole Sitta’ was a big hit and it’s one of those songs that somehow miraculously is always on the radio.”
Recently, Nelson finished recording a collection of Harry Nilsson covers with a 27-piece orchestra, and is currently shopping the 14-set album around to labels. He’s also been doing a bit of acting, and is currently performing in a stage version of “The Birds” in the Seattle area.
“I see how some people spend the rest of their lives tending to their weird little legacy,” he says, “and that’s never been an aspiration of mine. I prefer to think of my artistic life, at least, in the present tense.”