It’s been 15 years since Semisonic last released new music and, aside from the occasional Minneapolis-area show here and there, the pop-rock trio has been dormant. Still, according to drummer Jake Slichter, the band has never officially or unofficially broke up.
“Nothing was ever dissolved,” says Slichter. “It was just sort of left there with the understanding that at any old time we could come back and do more of it. For some people that’s a semantic difference. I don’t experience it that way. I actually think there’s value in the fact that we actually think of Semisonic as a going concern. It’s just one that’s not particularly active right now.”
Today Slichter—who penned the page-turning quasi-Semisonic (auto)biography So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star: How I Machine-Gunned a Roomful of Record Executives and Other True Tales—teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence and plays drums occasionally in a post-punk band that, he says, is “more like a bowling league than actual band.”
Singer/guitarist Dan Wilson, of course, has kept the most active in the music biz, having written songs for the likes of Adele, Pink and Taylor Swift, in addition to releasing two studio albums. In fact, Wilson nabbed a Grammy for his work with Adele on 21, and the last time Semisonic performed live (in 2012), the band closed with a version of “Someone Like You,” the Adele hit that she and Wilson wrote together.
“It’s too important to all of us to say it’s never gonna happen again.”
The members of Semisonic are older than your typical ‘90s alt-pop act, mostly because Semisonic existed in a previous incarnation, Trip Shakespeare, for years prior to the addition of Slichter and the formation of Semisonic. In fact, Wilson was 36-years-old when Semisonic released their commercial breakthrough Feeling Strangely Fine (which features “Closing Time”), and now both Wilson and Slichter are in their 50s and bassist John Munson will join them later this year.
While there are no plans for Semisonic to reconvene, Slichter says “it’s not a case where two guys wanna play shows and the third guy doesn’t, which is a common scenario with bands. It’s too important to all of us to say it’s never gonna happen again.”