RAQ, the progressive rock quartet hailing from Burlington, VT made a semi-cryptic message last night that stated, “We may be BAQ soon!! BEWARE!!” For RAQ fans, this is some seriously good news. With the future of the band uncertain since disbanding in late 2008, and various side projects from members becoming some legitimate touring machines, it was anybody’s guess as to when the RAQ boys would get back together, if at all.
Since that time, RAQ has only performed a handful of shows together, most notably at The Bowery Ballroom in April of 2010, and last year at Brooklyn Bowl. Keyboardist Todd Stoops has a solid foundation with Kung Fu, the funk-fusion quintet that he began with Tim Palmieri (The Breakfast), which has garnered a fair amount of national attention and seen them hit the festival circuit hard.
Guitarist and master-shredder Chris Michetti has found the most success while becoming a full-time member of Conspirator, a band that features Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner of the Disco Biscuits with KJ Sawka on drums. The last two years have seen an almost non-existent touring schedule from the Biscuits, which has given Conspirator the ability to gel as a band and become a legitimate touring act. They have been busy writing new material and debuting much of it during the extensive summer and fall tours.
Jay Burwick (Bass) and Greg Stukey (Drums) have both kept much lower profiles during RAQ’s hiatus. Burwick plays the occasional gig at Nectar’s in Burlington, while Stukey played with Michetti for a bit, and has most recently enjoyed being a new father.
Early on, RAQ received quite a bit of recognition. They were chosen as “A New Groove of the Month” by Jambands.com, and nominated for a “Jammy” award for Best New Band. Relix also named the band as one of the top bands to look out for in 2005. The last album that RAQ released was 2006’s Ton These, which was recorded at Trey Anastasio’s Barn in Vermont.
RAQ was chosen as a ‘New Groove of the Month’ by Jambands.com, and nominated for a ‘Jammy’ Award in the category of ‘Best New Band’. Relix Magazine featured the band in its Spotlight section, saying “RAQ has the ability to captivate an audience, dropping jaws with hyperkinetic improvisational splendor.” The band was also highlighted by Relix as one of the top bands to look out for in the summer of 2005.
There are many questions as to what is the impetus for this reunion. Are the Biscuits planning on doing some heavy touring in 2013, which would then put Conspirator on the backburner for the time being? Is Michetti feeling that it is finally the right time to get back with his old band mates, after gathering a strong following from his recent work with Conspirator? Or, if they do actually play together again, will it be a short-lived string of shows, or an extensive tour that will see them playing in various locales across the country?
Whatever the reason, let’s just enjoy this recent news that our RAQ may be BAQ!!! It’s been a long time coming, and one thing is for certain….if these guys get back on stage together, expect some explosive shows.