One band that has been making the most of quarantine time these past few months is Denver, CO’s The Jauntee. Starting in early April, the four-member psychedelic jam band streamed live performances from their shared household each week as part of an ongoing series called JaunTV. Each weekly episode of JaunTV featured a single set, hour-long performance from the band in their basement space that was live streamed via a multi-camera setup. While hard to compare to a real show, the streams allowed the band to showcase not only their improvisational abilities but also the impressive extent of their songbook of material.
While the prospect of live Jauntee sets was welcomed eagerly enough by longtime fans, with numbers in the high double digits tuning into the streams each week, the band took opportunities of JaunTV even further to accomplish a commendable feat: performing over eighty original songs across the series without once playing a repeat.
On June 29th, the band concluded what was announced as JaunTV’s first season with a special two-set stream. The final episode’s first set featured a “Jauntgrass” performance that had the band playing acoustic instruments on their front porch, and its second set, back to electric, was comprised completely of cover songs. Highlights across the two finals sets included lush, bluegrass-rock style renditions of originals like “Flutterby” and “Jaunt’s On Fire”, as well as unique takes on deep cuts like the funky Bonnie Raitt number “Something To Talk About” and the popular 1950’s romance ballad “You Belong To Me” (made famous by Steve Martin in The Jerk). The band’s treatment of the classic Meters tune “Hey Pocky Way” in the electric portion was particularly ambitious, taking up nearly half of the set.
Just before they set upon taking a much deserved break, Jauntee members Tyler Adams and Caton Sollenberger, keyboardist and guitarist for the band respectively, took some time to answer a few questions about their personal experience of JauntTV season one.
Live For Live Music: Congrats on the execution of JauntTV, especially in regards to the accomplishment of not repeating a single song throughout the series. Can you talk about your process of planning out these shows week to week? Was it pretty meticulously organized, or go-with-the-flow?
Tyler Adams: Definitely more of a go-with-the-flow thing. We tend to not repeat songs from show-to-show, so it made sense to keep that formula for streams. At first we obviously didn’t think it would go on so long, but we got excited once we realized we could end up with high-quality recordings of almost every song.
Caton Sollenberger: Yeah, a mixture of planning and flowing I’d say. More and more planning had to go into crafting decent setlists, as we had less and less songs to choose from. Funny, once we looked back we actually missed a few originals we intended to play!
Live For Live Music: I was personally impressed to learn that there are 93 original Jauntee songs. What do you guys think has helped you cultivate a songbook of material that vast?
Tyler Adams: I think one thing that has led us to such a vast catalogue is the fact that we have a lot of fun with the creative process of working out new parts and finding new things to do with music. It just doesn’t feel right if we’re not working on at least a few new songs at any given time.
Caton Sollenberger: That, and time!
L4LM: The “Jauntgrass” set was a unique offering for the last episode of JauntTV. Historically, how often have acoustic Jauntee performances been a thing? What was it like preparing for this set and how did the experience feel to the band?
Caton: We have a decent number of “jauntgrass” shows under our belt. We have a decent chunk of songs we can do as both electric or acoustic, and then a few we only do acoustic. So it’s always fun to get a chance to play those. Although, I can’t actually remember if we did any of those. Ha. Experience wise, it was fun to pick outside on the porch on a beautiful day!
Tyler: “Jauntgrass” always happens a handful of times each year. It’s not our main focus, but it’s a really fun way to mix things up and open up opportunities that a full electric band might not receive.
L4LM: Opportunities for streaming live performances aside, what are some of the advantages and disadvantages to a band living together?
Tyler: The big, obvious advantage to living together is definitely being able to practice almost every day. Even if it’s just running tunes for 30 minutes or working on some vocal parts for a little bit.
Caton: Definitely the ability to practice anytime. Disadvantages, we have the ability to practice any time, so it’s easy not to do so. On the plus side, because we started the whole quarantine thing together, it’s not as big of a health concern to get back together again, since we were already kind of “exposed” to each other, for lack of a better term.
L4LM: One of the often really fun aspects of touring bands is their highly dedicated fanbases, especially in the jam scene in which fans can be hyper analytical of live shows and new versions of songs. The Jauntee obviously has The Space Monkeys. Do the band members like tuning into that analytical side of things with their fans?
Caton: Some of us more than others. One cool thing a fan did was create thejauntee.net, which is like a setlist database that links to our archive recordings (which Tyler keeps pretty meticulously). I check into that from time to time. Sometimes the amount of music we’ve performed surprises even me!
Tyler: I personally get very nerdy and analytical about our music, and all music really. I first heard the Jauntee in 2011 and wasn’t asked to join the band until 2015. In that time before I joined I saw a ton of Jauntee shows and recorded several as well. I was already maybe a little too into it, so when I joined it felt pretty natural to become the archivist for all our live recordings. I get very excited when fans get analytical on our pages and always love to chime in.
L4LM: While 2020 has been tough for live music, it’s been inspiring to see so many artists utilize live streaming. Anything or anyone in particular that you guys have been tuning into?
Tyler: My favorite stream so far has been Swooping [Hiatus Kaiyote rhythm section]. They did a Patreon stream early on in the quarantine that blew me away. Haven’t been that captivated by a band in a long time, live or streaming.
Caton: I try to keep an eye on as much as I can! The big collaboration streams with tons and tons of artists and interviews and stuff are really cool. As are the other bands doing the same kind of thing as us in their basements or studios. It was interesting to see how quickly everyone got it going, and nice to see people keeping it going. Sure do miss live shows, though.
L4LM: The pandemic doesn’t exist for a night and The Jauntee gets to perform anywhere in the country (or world). What’s your live performance dream scenario?
Caton: Red Rocks, of course! Or Pompeii, maybe? Love the [Pink Floyd] film.
Tyler: I don’t care where, just let us play three sets to a packed venue. I personally like smaller rooms so I guess I’d pick somewhere like the 8×10 in Baltimore, Saturn in Birmingham or maybe Caribou Room up in Nederland. Big venues never sound great on stage to me, but the energy in a small packed room is unbeatable.
L4LM: Any plans to curate the performances from your JauntTV streams into some kind of collection? Jaunt of Our Quarantined Lives, so to speak? I know I’d be all over that.
Caton: A potential Jaunts Of Our Lives: Quarantine Sessions has been briefly discussed! Maybe pick our favorite parts or something. We have a lot of content from it, that’s for sure!
Tyler: You’ll just have to wait and see!
For more information about The Jauntee, head to the band’s website.