Posted September 10, 2014 by Jeff in Tunes

Chris Simpson on Mineral’s Reunion: One thing at a time

Mineral photo b Courtney Chavanell
Mineral photo b Courtney Chavanell

Next month, Austin’s Mineral will reissue their two seminal albums, 1996’s The Power Of Failing and 1998’s EndSerenading, each remastered and on Double 180 Gram DMM vinyl. The band is also putting out Mineral – 1994-1998, a double CD compilation of both albums with previously unreleased songs recorded during The Power Of Failing sessions and bonus tracks recorded during various sessions. The band’s reunion tour marks its 20th anniversary and will be its first shows since disbanding in 1998. Singer-guitarist Chris Simpson recently phoned to talk about the emo band’s resurgence.

Talk about how the band first came together in 1994.
[Bassist] Jeremy [Gomez], [drummer] Gabe [Wiley] and I were from Houston. We all ended up moving to Austin, which is kind of what you do after high school in Texas if you’re interested in music or art or anything. We were in different bands. All of our different bands disintegrated at the same time. I had known Jeremy for a while. We all kind of knew each other. It made sense to combine forces.

You toured heavily before going to the studio. Was that a conscious decision?
Not necessarily. We would have recorded sooner if someone had asked us to. That period of time was formative for the band and its sound. There probably would have been even more songs on the first record that we would have been embarrassed about if we hadn’t done that.

Talk about the recording of your 1996 debut The Power Of Failing.
We recorded four songs in January of 1995 and really liked how they came out. When we went back to the record, it wasn’t as magical a feeling as we might have hoped. It was very different making records then. We had a short amount of time do a large amount of work. We were very excited to make a record and we were happy with what was happening with the band.

What’s it been like to go back to that album?
It’s been nice. It’s been re-mastered nicely so it’s a little easier on the ears, but still retains its ferocity and dynamics. Revisiting the songs to play them has been interesting. The two records are so different. The first record has so much raw energy and exuberance. It’s fun to play those songs. If we were picking songs we enjoyed more now though, we would probably lean more toward the material from the second record.

With the way The Power Of Failing slows down for something like “Doloroso,” it seems like an album of extremes.
What’s been cool about reissuing that record is that we’ve been forced to listen to it again. I think of it as a blazing loud record, but there’s some mellow moments.

Talk about recording EndSerenading with producer Mark Trombino (Blink-182, Jimmy Eat World).
That one is harder to explain. I don’t think we were having a great time when we made it like the first time. I don’t think we were happy to be there. The situation was very different. We had already broken up but agreed to finish the record. We had recorded the basic tracks but no vocals had been done. It was a different experience. We were confused about what was coming next.

We wanted to finish but we didn’t have the same sense of moving forward as we did with the first album. We knew it was going to be our final record.

Where did you record?
At a studio in Encinitas. It wasn’t Mark’s studio but he worked out of it. It was a nice place to be. It’s a picturesque environment.

People say he’s a hard person to read. Was that your experience?
That was definitely our experience. We had such respect for him and loved the stuff he had done. I think we had been used to people being so effusive about how much they liked the band. He’s not very demonstrative…Occasionally, he’d look up and tweak a knob when he need to. It sounded great. Maybe we just weren’t used to his style.

Why did the band split up before that album was released?
I don’t know. Jeremy and I were really feeling like we wanted to step away from it and take a break maybe. I don’t know if we were just burnt out. It was possibly ways we were developing in our lives. Maybe it was a little bit creative. I didn’t feel like I could imagine Mineral doing something very different. I couldn’t see what it would evolve into.

What brought the band back together?
We got a phone call from our good buddy Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World and he asked if we would do a reunion show. We were into the idea and got together to have a beer and talk about it. At the time, we thought it was a long shot. Rehearsing started super rough. I was surprised to feel a connection to it immediately. It felt like it was going to be right. It was just going to take a lot of work.

Do you have new songs in the works?
We do not. We have had our plate full getting together enough material for the tour. That’s really our focus right now. We need to do one thing at a time.

In retrospect, the band had a certain influence. Did you have a sense of that then?
Not then. Not very much now. As the interest has continued to grow, people have continued to discover the band. Younger people who weren’t around when we were around. That’s what makes it all possible.

How has that happened?
I don’t know other than that your older brother is into it and it moves on down the chain. Information gets out differently now.

Will there be more than one reunion?
There’s no plans of doing anything beyond these tours. It’s impossible for us to have any sense of that yet. That takes time. Braid is putting out a new record so it can be done. A band can take 15 years off and then start putting out new records. There’s a lot involved there. The Braid record seems seamless and still feels mature and current. It’s possible. But we have no plans right now. It will take more time together.

Upcoming 2014 Tour Dates

Sept. 10

Sept. 11

Sept. 12

Sept. 14

Sept. 15

Sept. 16

Sept. 17

Sept. 19

Oct. 22

Oct. 23

Oct. 24

Oct. 25

Oct. 26

Oct. 27

Nov. 2

Nov. 3

Nov. 4

Nov. 7

Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club

Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer

Cleveland, OH – The Grog Shop

Chicago, IL – Riot Fest

Columbus, OH – Kully’s

St. Louis, MO – Firebird

Kansas City, MO – The Record Bar

Denver, CO – Riot Fest

San Francisco, CA – The Independent

San Francisco, CA – Bottom Of The Hill

West Hollywood, CA – The Roxy

West Hollywood, CA – The Roxy

Pomona, CA – The Glass House

Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom

Gainesville, FL – The Fest 13

Atlanta, GA – Masquerade (Hell Stage)

Greensboro, NC – The Blind Tiger

Austin, TX – Fun Fun Fun Fest


Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at [email protected].