Disco Biscuits: Another Plan of Attack

Mike Greenhaus on July 3, 2024
Disco Biscuits: Another Plan of Attack

photo: Tara Gracer


The Disco Biscuits are having their kumbaya moment.

In late April, bassist Marc Brownstein shared a video of the Ross Street School Chorus singing “Humuhumunukunukuapua’a,” a turn-of-the-millennium Biscuits song that’s been known to stretch past the 20-minute mark in concert.

“It’s one of my most successful Instagram posts—a middle-school choir singing the Biscuits,” Brownstein, the group’s self- described fan-engagement “lightning rod,” says with a laugh. “Jambands are popping up everywhere and permeating into the younger generation, which is interesting because their fans were trending older for a while.”

He riffs on another popular tweet he recently shared—the punchline is, “If you let your kid go to SPAC to see the Grateful Dead, there’s a very good chance he’s gonna start experimenting with psychedelics and create a band called the Disco Biscuits”—before offering a state of the union on all things Bisco.

“We are calling it the bubble of positivity,” the longtime Philadelphia-area resident adds, his enthusiasm palpable. “There’s so much positivity within the band, so much positivity with the fans. It’s just free-flowing at this point. We’re all in this bubble.”

Indeed, against the odds, on the eve of their 30th anniversary, the Disco Biscuits are in the middle of a self-realized golden age. The tides began to turn when the long-running livetronica pioneers recommitted themselves to the band in 2019 and things really kicked into gear after the concert industry reopened following a pandemic-necessitated pause. During that time, the quartet—which also includes guitarist Jon “The Barber” Gutwillig, drummer Allen Aucoin and keyboardist Aron Magner—has returned to the road in full force, barnstorming the country and even hitting some markets they haven’t visited in over 20 years. They’ve continued to pump out new material and, in late March, released Revolution in Motion, their first proper studio album since 2011. The 14-track set is a high-concept rock opera composed primarily by Gutwillig, Magner and Joey Friedman—a longtime fan and friend of the group who served as a lyricist, band coach and project manager.

The Disco Biscuits slowly started rolling out Revolution in Motion material live in 2022, setting up a scavenger hunt of sorts, with fans gradually piecing together the storyline until the final track list was announced shortly before the record’s 2024 release. A cartoonish, sci-fi space opera that also serves as an homage to the Disco Biscuits’ rich history—which is itself rife with Behind the Music-style lore—the LP finds a fictional version of the band fighting off an alien invasion with some world-saving jams, à la Bill & Ted. The story is set against the backdrop of a New Year’s Eve concert in New York’s Times Square, where the band regularly played late-night shows for many years at the venue now called the Palladium. The knowingly fantastical storyline has also been fleshed out with new videos and other multimedia elements.

Friedman chuckles as he details the suite of music’s plot but also points to some deeper metaphors for the changing times it was created in: “When you go to see the Disco Biscuits in Times Square on New Year’s, you go underground during the biggest party in the world and, when you come out at 2-3 a.m., it’s empty for the only time all year. The world is completely different.”

“It was an important turning point, when we began to realize what we’re capable of as a band, and that is continuing to this moment,” Magner, who also lives in the Philadelphia area, says of the band’s new material. “Something needed to happen in our career. It felt like we were spinning our wheels. I hadn’t seen Barber this excited in a while. It was simply a gut feeling that, if we had the ability to put one foot in front of the other, this could actually be something, though I certainly wasn’t convinced at first.”

“It’s created such an amazing burst of new energy for us—a positivity,” the Colorado-based Aucoin says of the new material. “Everybody seems really happy— it just feels really good to have something that we’re really proud of and that fans also really seem to enjoy.”

As they have continued to introduce Revolution in Motion material into their live set, the Disco Biscuits have been simultaneously working behind the scenes on a new batch of songs and busting out cherished older tunes that have fallen out of rotation. Their shows have also started to reach the improvisational heights of their fabled early days, with their latest material rapidly developing into cornerstones of the live catalog.

“You can’t develop chemistry with people by just playing old music,” Gutwillig says, while checking in from his home outside of Philadelphia. “The best way to develop chemistry, rapport, morale and to evolve and have a connection, musically, with the people you’re standing onstage with is to take an idea that doesn’t exist and create something new. We still really enjoy playing with each other. And that’s why we’ve lasted for so long. You can tell on this album because everybody is on fire all the way through. Suddenly, you’re fixing old songs, and you’re looking at each other with this new understanding about what could be done better or differently—or what the new vibe could be. Then everybody becomes very open to changing things.”

The Disco Biscuits’ return to form dovetails with a surge in jamband popularity across the board in the wake of Fare Thee Well—a development that’s been reinforced by both a new crop of jam-rooted acts, raised on groups like the Disco Biscuits, and a newfound appreciation for live music after COVID.

“Music being taken away during the pandemic made everyone realize how important it was,” Aucoin says. “It is exciting to have it back.”

However, up until recently, it seemed like the Biscuits might miss out on this current wave of excitement. The group only played sporadic shows for almost nine years, and the musicians’ interpersonal relationships needed tending. There was also the question of whether their fans, many of whom were growing older and moving around the country, would be there when they returned.

“In 2014-2015, when we weren’t really touring, I expected the shows to get smaller, but they never really did,” Gutwillig says. “We have some of the best fans in the world. If they had gone away, it wouldn’t have made sense for anyone who works with us to help us rekindle what we’re doing. Bands don’t usually come back, and I did not expect the Biscuits to come back. I really didn’t.”

“There’s a lot of winning over new fans and winning back old fans going on right now,” Brownstein says. “I’m seeing a lot of posts that say things like, ‘First show in 16 years, first show in 20 years.’ What’s going on now is exciting. I feel like I’m 22 years old, but with enough wisdom to not fuck everything up.”


The Disco Biscuits’ trajectory has all the makings of a classic rock-and-roll drama. Brownstein, Gutwillig and founding drummer Sam Altman met at the University of Pennsylvania in the ‘90s and started gigging out under various names with a few different musicians, before Magner, another student at the Ivy League school, joined in to complete their seminal lineup.

The band played their first official show at the UPenn tavern Smokey Joe’s on July 5, 1995, though Brownstein had already quit at that point.

“At Aron’s first rehearsal, we got into a fight, so I quit the band and went to see Phish at Sugarbush in Vermont,” Brownstein admits. “So my first show was that September. I look back on it and, essentially, I have certain mental illnesses that were completely unchecked. I shudder to think about what would have happened if my attitude about mental illness was different then or if somebody was able to get through to me and explain what was actually wrong and help me out.”

As the late ‘90s progressed, the Disco Biscuits emerged as valedictorians on the nascent jam scene, becoming a house band at popular clubs like New York’s Wetlands. Along with contemporaries like The New Deal, STS9 and Lake Trout, they helped fuse electronic music with rock-based improvisation, opening up the jamband palette to include a range of modern, late 20th-century sounds along the way. Their shows advanced the Dead’s long-running model to not only include deep segues and medleys but also inverted and “dyslexic” versions of songs, palindrome setlists and healthy doses of “type two” improvisation each night.

“The beginning of the Biscuits is all about the peaks,” Brownstein says. “A set of Biscuits was just one song into one peak, not even necessarily of the song that we’re coming out of. That’s what drove our growth originally— the pure massiveness of how the sets were.”

The group balanced their love of electronic music and dance culture with carefully composed fugues and Zappa-inspired guitar-heroics, dropping two rock operas along the way, Gutwillig’s “Hot Air Balloon” and Brownstein’s “Chemical Warfare Brigade,” which originated with his Electron project.

But, at times, the musicians seemed to be their own worst enemies. After ringing in the 21st century with an acclaimed show on Dec. 31, 1999, Brownstein parted ways with the band for a several-month period at a pivotal moment in their development. They eventually regrouped and kept building their sound both onstage and in the studio, but then Gutwillig injured himself falling out of an air conditioning shaft after another New Year’s Run a few years later. The band rallied and continued to grow, especially on their Northeast home turf, yet, in 2005, Altman left to become a doctor. Shortly after, some crew members introduced them to Georgia native Aucoin, who officially secured his place in their lineup during a “drum off” concert in Atlantic City, N.J.

As the EDM world exploded in popularity, the Disco Biscuits and their Camp Bisco festival nurtured the careers of future arena stars Pretty Lights and Skrillex. And the quartet helped keep the jamband world steady during a somewhat fallow time following Phish’s 2004 breakup and The Dead’s concurrent period of inactivity.

The group stretched out in the studio with 2010’s Planet Anthem, which brought in various collaborators from the hip-hop world, and even caught Damon Dash’s attention. But things came to a head in 2010 when Gutwillig injured his wrist after a show in Albany, N.Y., forcing the band to tour with some auxiliary musicians while he recovered.

Though the Disco Biscuits never officially broke up or announced a hiatus, they shifted to more of a destination-based model, focusing on festivals, weekend runs and holiday events. Gutwillig moved to the West Coast and dove into the tech world, launching and serving as the CTO for ItsOnMe and playing an early role in the popular music platform Splice. He continued to write songs on his own—while navigating the U.S. government’s approval process as various Las Vegas casinos started using his product—but the band’s output slowed almost to a halt and the guitarist distanced himself from the scene he helped create.

“There was a long period of time when the Biscuits were struggling,” Brownstein says. “It’s hard to hear Jon talk about the years 2010-2019 because all Aron and I wanted was to commit to the Biscuits, but Jon wasn’t there at the time and, basically, broke up the band. That’s how it was mentally for him, and that vibe came through in the music.”

He notes that there were still great shows, citing a particularly hot night at Portland, Maine’s State Theatre, but admits that, especially given the reciprocal energy the band feeds off of with their audience, they could feel the disconnect around them.

“We were never at that level where the crowd would be cheering for three or four minutes after a Saturday show and it was just mayhem,” he explains. “Sometimes you get onstage, and the place erupts before you even play a note. You’re fed that energy from the crowd and then you give it back to them right away.”

The other members continued to perform with a mix of side-projects and super jams. The group also circled back to the Dead world, with Magner helping form Billy & The Kids, Brownstein jamming with Bob Weir and both Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann joining the Biscuits onstage. (It should also be noted that Brownstein is a co-founder of the nonprofit organization HeadCount.)

Eventually, however, Gutwillig began to miss playing music full time and, in 2019, the Disco Biscuits announced in a post that “set break is over.”

“Even when the band was not really that functional, I was still writing all the time, just not as a job,” Gutwillig says. “So I ended up stockpiling music. And then there was a moment when I had a lot of music that I wanted to play, and I wanted to play it at Red Rocks. I didn’t want to play it in somebody’s backyard for 10 people. I wanted to do it the way the Biscuits can do it.”

Once known as a prolific musician, with albums of unreleased material to his credit, he told his bandmates that he not only wanted to return to playing more shows, but also completely reseed their songbook.

“Jon committed himself, creatively, to coming up with a whole new set of music,” Brownstein says. “I had a hard time at first imagining how, this far into our career, we were gonna come up with enough new music that we would be able to achieve his stated goal, which was to be a completely new band that wasn’t playing our old music. I don’t know how much of that was hyperbole at the time, but he was actually able to manifest it.”

“We were due for a new catalog,” Aucoin says. “I love ‘Above the Waves,’ but we’ve played it so many times and now we had all these new songs to throw into the rotation. It made it more exciting when we did play ‘Above the Waves.’”

As Gutwillig prepared to welcome his first child, he invited Magner out to work on some early ideas.

“My relationship with Jon was not in a good place, and he was sitting on some new material, which included ‘Running into the Night,’” Magner says of a songwriting trip to the West Coast, referencing a new favorite they debuted in 2019. “He brought me out to LA, I stayed with him for a few nights, we worked during the day, and we brought these songs a couple steps forward. That’s what needed to happen before bringing them to the band. That was the beginning stages of us collaborating, and it also speaks volumes for Jon. Reaching out to me and asking if I wanted to come out to LA was a gesture that I wanted to respond positively to. It was a little uncomfortable because our relationship, at the time, was attached to the fact that we were in this band together for 20-some-odd years. That was the only commonality at that point. But when I went out there, I could see the anxiety he felt about becoming a dad, with all the unknowns that go along with that. And it set things back on a path of what our relationship could be. Before that, I don’t think either of us were aware of that or willing to do the work to ensure that’s something that we could repair.”

They started debuting new material in 2019 and had approximately 80 shows lined up for 2020. Yet, just as they prepared to jump back into life as a full-time touring act, the pandemic threw another wrench into their—and everyone else’s—plans. However, the four players remained committed to their stated mission, using the forced break to improve as musicians.

“Jon and I started practicing with a metronome, and I was teaching, and it’s like, ‘Practice what you preach,’” Brownstein says, mentioning that Oteil Burbridge gifted him a bass and provided him with some musical advice that helped alter his approach.

“The reason it was slightly easier for us to pick up the pieces and rise from the ashes is because we never officially broke up or announced a hiatus,” Magner says. “As opposed to going through all of the announcements—and, believe me, we had all of those conversations internally—we never took that one last step that bands do and broke up. So, arguably, it did become slightly easier to put the pieces back together when we were all emotionally able to do that. The community was there, continuing to come to shows and continuing to be as voracious as Bisco has always been. So the hyperbole of that is this bubble of positivity that we’re in. But we believe it because positivity begets positivity. And I would imagine that the antithesis of that would be true as well.”


In August 2021, the Disco Biscuits played two socially distanced gigs in Swanzey, N.H., during the pandemic. Friedman attended the shows, unknowingly beginning the group’s next era.

It turned out to be the perfect storm. With COVID restrictions still in place, the backstage scene was nonexistent, and Friedman ended up having some rare solo hang time with the band members.

At that point, Gutwillig had written a bunch of music but, as a new dad playing in an electronic-leaning rock band, he was struggling with where to focus his songwriting efforts. Friedman had a unique perspective on the band’s rollercoaster career. A longtime fan with over 400 shows under his belt, he first saw the group in the early 2000s and eventually befriended the musicians and worked with them on their business side for a time. He had his own falling out with the band for a time but patched things up and, in Swanzey, pitched Gutwillig the concept for a “space opera.”

Gutwillig liked what he heard and continued batting around ideas with the Colorado-based Friedman after they both returned home. They started outlining the musical suite’s full story and central themes, and brought in Magner and Austin producer Derek “Cloudchord” VanScoten to start crafting a set of new material. After pausing to work on some new music for a 40th birthday party for their mutual friend Steve Martocci—who founded tech companies GroupMe, Blade and Splice—they jumped into what would become Revolution in Motion at full speed in 2022.

“At first, Jon was talking about working with a lyricist, but I backed into that role with him,” Friedman says. “Jon’s a great lyricist himself and he had a trust with me—I could take his critical feedback. If he doesn’t like a lyric, I’m gonna give him 10 others to choose from. The process healed some things that we needed to heal to be successful partners in the future.”

Friedman’s storyline, and the focused nature of a narrative project, appealed to Gutwillig for several reasons.

“When the pandemic hit, the political swell of the country was super engulfing to all of the arts,” Gutwillig says, mentioning that he didn’t feel like it was his place to comment directly on that strange and impactful time or write “diss tracks.” “There’s an argument to be made that it takes the timelessness out of your songs, and you create this momentary thing. So I was like, ‘What am I gonna write about in a world that has drastically changed?’ I had been in that situation before. When I wrote ‘Hot Air Balloon,’ I had a bunch of music. We were living outside of Philadelphia, the whole band in this house. I didn’t want to write an album about living in a house with my band. And I was going through a lot of early-young-man romantic stuff. I didn’t want to talk directly about the people that I was in the romances with, but I wanted to talk about my feelings and my experiences, so I created these characters.”

He also took a cue from some of the sessions he sat in on when he was living in LA during the Disco Biscuits’ lost years.

“I would go into studios and consistently be the least talented but most famous person in the room,” he says. “I learned a lot from those guys about how to work in groups in the studio. We’ve separated into what people do best. It’s like, ‘I know Magner can handle that or Brownie’s got this.’”

Though the Disco Biscuits have written in all sorts of ways, for most of his career, Gutwillig preferred the romanticized idea of an artist working alone on his guitar. “I used to really enjoy writing at 3 or 4 a.m., when I was young and a total insomniac,” he says. “I’d be the only person up and I had this theory that, if I didn’t get anything by 5 or 6 a.m., I’m not going to bed. It’s a different approach—and a lot lonelier. This way is just as productive and way more fun. When you can sit with your friends, it just becomes an awesome experience.”

Friedman, who has taken some improv comedy classes, says that Gutwillig has long liked to play a game he likens to “Yes, And…,” both in casual conversations and more formal creative sessions.

“Jon will throw out an absurd idea to someone, then see how they react and if they’ll play along,” he says. “And whatever the other person says, you accept it and you figure out a way to build on that. And that’s really become the ethos of the band over the last two and a half years.”

“One of the most rewarding aspects that came out of these writing sessions is this real appreciation and understanding for the value of collaboration and the things that it could bring,” Magner says. “We all have our limitations when it comes to music, but we didn’t put all this pressure on ourselves. Jon has a very coder mentality and looks at life through that lens—he’s even brought some of that mentality into the band, looking at things under the tech lens of, ‘OK, we’re gonna try this out, then we’ll debug it and move it onto this phase, and then we’ll debug that. And then we’ll ship it.’ But, for these writing sessions, he began to crack a code that he may have been looking for.”

The musicians also say that having Friedman—an outside voice with a deep knowledge and understanding of the band’s history—in the room helped keep them on track and ease any tensions that had emerged in the past.

“I’m successful with these guys because they’re all my best friends, not just one of them,” Friedman says. “Sometimes, if they have an argument, they’re all calling me to talk about it. They know that I’ll listen to them and that I’m not going to make them look bad in front of the other person. I’m always gonna reflect back to them the best version of their bandmate that I can. And hopefully, over time, those arguments have gotten less and less, and they’ve started to look at each other differently.”

“Joey really helped us move the ball down field—he has the executive functioning skills that we, as individual musicians, might not have and a band does not lend itself to,” Magner says. “He works in software and has the corporate skill set to get everybody on the same page.”

Magner, who has developed a close creative partnership with Gutwillig, pauses to think back on an early number they worked on together, a classically informed bit from their 1996 debut, Encephalous Crime.

“The very first time that it was the two of us sitting down creatively was for ‘The Devil’s Waltz,’” he reminisces. “He had this beautiful melody. He was at an early stage in his career, and I was at a very early stage in my development as a creative, and we figured out what those chords are. We moved those harmonies around in such a beautiful way. It’s a fantastic arrangement.”

The final version of the opera, dubbed Revolution in Motion, contains all the hallmarks of the Biscuits’ best work: soaring guitar lines, techno beats, hashtag-friendly lyrics, melodic compositional epics, robotic drumming, keyboard ear candy and bopping bass. Core tracks like “Twisted in the Road,” “Another Plan of Attack,” “One Chance to Save the World” and the closing tune, “To Be Continued…”—Friedman’s nod to the first Back to the Future’s ending tease—already feel fully embedded into their canon.

Though Brownstein and Aucoin remained in the loop during the proceedings and recorded their parts, the bassist’s busy schedule and commitments to the fan-engagement community golive.ly, which he launched and ran during the pandemic, prevented him from being there from the start.

“I got myself into this situation where I was working a full-time job and too busy to go out to Jon’s house and participate in the first half of making the album,” he says, while noting his initial reaction to the storyline. “We’re all laughing at the idea of the Disco Biscuits starring in their own space opera. It’s so absurd but so obviously great. It’s meta—us being in the story and the music being at the crux of the story.”

Brownstein, who writes the band’s setlists, is quick to point out that, as soon as they started adding their new material into rotation, their fans began requesting those songs—a rarity for any band that has been together for three decades. It took him a second to wrap his head around “The Deal,” but figured out the “Biscuits peak” once he played it live.

Friedman also saw a spark in his friends, using his years in the crowd to push them toward ideas that he knew would resonate with the audience.

“Fans started responding really positively to the new music right away,” Friedman says. “The band put so much work into Planet Anthem and it’s a great album, but it felt different for them. This is similar to that, but it feels like the Disco Biscuits. We had these breakthroughs in the studio where I was witnessing these moments that I knew would become moments at Biscuits shows. I’d get chills.”


On March 29, the Disco Biscuits debuted their new space opera in its entirety during a high-profile show at New York’s Webster Hall. The evening featured enhanced visuals and special guests. Just as impressively, the next night, the quartet played a sold-out show in Buffalo, N.Y., that boasted a hefty dose of “post-set-break” material without repeating a single number from the previous gig.

Friedman confirms that they have already written almost a record’s worth of tunes since finishing the rock opera. For Revolution in Motion tracks “The Wormhole,” “Times Square” and “To Be Continued…,” the band crafted new material based on archival live jams. And they have continued that method during their recent sessions. Friedman has even scoured Phantasy Tour and other community sites looking for key versions of songs.

“We started mining those moments and turning them into songs,” Magner says. “It’s lightning in a bottle that can’t happen unless all of the pieces of the puzzle are there—there’s a good vibe in the audience, everyone’s in a good mood and we’re playing well. Things like that don’t happen when you’re spending thousands of dollars a day in the studio and someone says, ‘Hey, jam!’”

Brownstein has also been a key contributor to the new material. “For the rock opera, he gave us his instant feedback, but these new songs have really been a band effort,” Friedman says. “The first day he was on the piano, Jon was on the drums—it instantly felt so good.”

The creative process has also started to feed itself. At first, Friedman was recommending jams dating back to 2008— in addition to some tasty recent moments of improv—to build their material. But, as a testament to how much their music has developed during the past five years, new tunes like “Ring the Doorbell Twice” and “Dino Baby” stem from 2023 live highlights. As of late, the musicians have even been using their talkback mics onstage to mark passages that they could potentially use for future tunes in real time.

As they near the 30th anniversary of their first show, the quartet is also committed to returning to the road at full force. They recently headlined their longest West Coast tour in over a decade, reconnecting with old fans who have moved across the country and introducing their music to potential new ones. In July, they will stage their 2nd-annual BISCOLAND festival, which will feature multiple Biscuits sets, including an appearance by their electronic alter-ego project, TractorBeam. Their new music continues to be both varied and familiar; Aucoin is particularly excited to work on a new drum-and-bass track Gutwillig recently composed. Brownstein says that lately, when they have stepped off the stage—whether at an intimate show in Montana or a favorite East Coast haunt—those band-feeding cheers have returned.

In addition to the Revolution in Motion material and the new Biscuits songs that have followed, Gutwillig and Magner have been writing a theatrical adaptation of “Hot Air Balloon,” The Very Moon. Playwright Nicholas Schmidle pitched Gutwillig the idea a few years ago and they have been workshopping the production in different formats. The project has also led to some new ideas that they have since brought back to the Disco Biscuits, like the beloved “Falling.”

“It was the pandemic, so we were all doing crazy things and seeing what sticks,” Magner says with a laugh. “Jerry Seinfeld wrote a movie about Pop-Tarts.”

At Magner’s suggestion, the band has started spicing up their songs with often location-specific samples. When they were struggling to think of a clip for Aspen, Colo., Aucoin recommended a few lines from Dumb and Dumber. The drummer says that open-minded mentality is permeating throughout the band.

“It’s brought us closer,” he says, noting that this is the first time his six-year-old daughter has experienced his life as a full-time touring musician. “The brotherhood and positivity is the best it’s been since I’ve been in the band.”

Despite the Biscuits’ packed schedule, Brownstein has remained busy outside the band, too. Both he and Gutwillig have been ramping up their solo electronic/ DJ sets and he’s also launched The Brownstein Family Band with his college-age son Zach, and Eggy’s Dani Battat and Jake Brownstein (no relation). He notes his own mental-health journey, saying that he started taking medication this past October.

“It’s a big difference being medicated onstage versus being unmedicated and needing medication or self-medicated, which leads to even bigger problems,” he says. “Self-medication ends up exacerbating whatever your initial issue was. If you have anxiety, you can self-medicate, but then the next week your anxiety is gonna be even worse than it was before you self-medicated. I can see so clearly that the partying was fueled by the need to have a certain amount of the right chemicals in order to be able to do my job. I couldn’t stand onstage and get through three and a half hours without enough dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin—all of the brain chemicals. And when those are in deficiency, if something goes wrong, it feels like the end of the world. You’d get to the show, and you’d be like, ‘I need something to even get me out right now,’ and then you would party all night. But I was struggling. I wasn’t having fun. I was having moments of humiliation, shame or fury—all these different emotions—because someone onstage was not doing what I expected them to do. But being medicated under a doctor’s care gives you the proper chemicals that you need. You’re up there totally lucid and sober. It’s so great being able to get onstage and realize how great things are and that we are all better musicians now.”

He pauses and notes a few coverlines from past times the Disco Biscuits were featured in this magazine.

“The heartache, the ‘agony and the ecstasy,’ ‘breaking bones’—it was a result of self-medicating,” he says. “It broke us multiple times—it turned into a massive party and that’s what happened in ‘99 and we broke up. That’s what happened in 2004 and we broke up. That’s what happened in 2010 and we broke up. It was one time after another of everybody self-medicating and then the whole thing self-destructing. I have a hopeful optimism that, this time around, the band is wise enough, experienced enough and mature enough to handle our own psyche in a way that’s going to set us up for success in the long term.”

Gutwillig is already eying the next Disco Biscuits album and promises it will be “the fastest turnaround time in the history of the band.” He hopes to release that project early next year and shorten the lag between LPs even more after that.

“Jon is one of my favorite guitar players,” Brownstein says. “And I feel fortunate that I get to be in a band with one of the greatest guitarists/songwriters/ vocalists that I’ve come across in my life as a jamband fan. He’s among the best there is, and some people haven’t figured that out yet. But what is exciting is that this pile of new songs is going to be the gateway. It’s the opportunity that we’ve needed for many years for the floodgates to open. Barber describes it as being with the music at any given moment, almost like this Buddhist approach. Everybody is in complete acceptance mode—in terms of where we are, what we’re doing. And if I want it to be different, the only thing that I can do is change what I’m doing. And sometimes changing what I’m doing will influence what the rest of the band is doing. We have a free-flowing conversation between band members.”

“My philosophy on life is living in the moment and letting things be,” Magner says. “I don’t want to go back, dissect and think about what I could have done better, this ‘woe is me’ mentality. We all have learned an incredible amount of emotional maturity—individually—that has led to significantly better relationships with each other, and that plays a role in where our career is now. It might be that we are approaching 50 or are already 50, but we’re as excited about what we’re doing as we were when we were in our 20s. That’s not to say that we haven’t felt this way since we were in our 20s, but the difference is that, collectively, everybody in the band feels that way, whereas in the past, maybe one individual was more motivated to do things and another individual was more motivated to check out what else life has to offer.”

“Coding is really fun—it’s like a giant Wordle that you get stuck in for five years. It’s a huge puzzle,” Gutwillig says. “It’s great but it’s also a job like any other. Music is a special thing where you get to be wildly creative on a regular basis. We’re probably gonna write five new songs this week—five songs that didn’t exist as of last week. I was pretty good at computer programming, but still, at the end of the day, you’re a worker bee, slaving for the man just like everybody else. The way I look at it is that, if I ever made a ton of money and I absolutely never needed to work again, I’d still want to make music.”