For the next few months, the Dismemberment Plan lives on. There are a pair of North American tours to wrap up and a few August dates in Japan. And after that, on September 22, DeSoto Records will release The People's History of the Dismemberment Plan, a remix album (mostly) culled from the work of fans who downloaded individual tracks (guitars, vocals, beats, whatever) from the band's website (www.dismembermentplan.com) and did whatever they wanted with them. Which, come to think of it, is pretty much how the Plan arrived at the originals. So it's not over quite yet.
But it will be, and soon. That's why the band's frontman, Travis Morrison, already refers to the band in the past tense, as in "I really liked being in the Dismemberment Plan. I liked the band's energy. There were skills I would have liked to exercise more. One of those skills is seeing an arrangement of a song through, soup to nuts. With a band, you have to let everyone be them. You have to let the collective subconscious explosion come out. Now, you know, it's all my fault." He laughs. "It's not like I was sitting in the van, staring out the window, thinking, Why are they ruining my songs?"
Morrison is starting anew with Death Cab for Cutie, and bassist Eric Axelson is also moving on: He's teaming with former Promise Ring members Davey vonBohlen and D.J. Didier in the new project In English. Drummer Joe Easley and guitarist Jason Caddell have said they are done with music.
For the most part, it falls on Morrison's shoulders to carry on the band's legacy -- a role he's comfortable in. But then, he's at ease in almost any situation, the perfect party guest. He's polite to a fault, political to a point, pop-culturally literate, and passionate about whatever he's discussing. He's especially enthusiastic about his new music. There are MP3s of three new songs at www.travismorrison.com. The tracks will sound both familiar and foreign to followers of the group, with Morrison's distinctive voice nestled amid compositions that are more straightforward than in the past, without being completely streamlined. They are definitely not Dismemberment Plan songs. It's likely that, sometime next year, Morrison will make his solo debut with the as-yet-untitled and as-yet-unfinished disc he's been recording with Death Cab's Chris Walla and an ad hoc group of musicians in Seattle and San Francisco.
"I really like it, but I'm me," Morrison says, laughing. "It's really high-spirited, really tuneful. It uses a lot of acoustic and natural timbres -- like there's a lot of piano and acoustic guitar. I've really had a blast making it."
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