The Raconteurs' upcoming spate of live shows are as surprising for the band, which has been dormant since 2008, as they are for its fans.
"That's how it always comes about with us -- without much planning," bassist Jack Lawrence tells Billboard.com with a laugh. "Something starts stirring the kettle, and all of a sudden we're playing. That's it. We got a couple offers for these festivals, and I think it just felt like the right time to try to get back together and do a few shows and see how we do since we last left off."
The group -- which also includes Jack White, Brendan Benson and Lawrence's Greenhornes bandmate Patrick Keeler -- convened in Nashville last week to start rehearsing for the six fall dates, and Lawrence reports that "it's coming back pretty easy for us. It's been awhile, so definitely there's some dust there, but we're blowing it off and it's coming together so far."
The Raconteurs -- aided by utility man Dean Fertita, who plays with White and Lawrence in the Dead Weather and is also in Queens of the Stone Age -- open up with a Sept. 14 date at White's Third Man Records headquarters in Nashville, followed by a show the next night at nearby Ryman Auditorium. The group will play the inaugural MI Fest in Brooklyn, Mich., on Sept. 17, then return to action at the Voodoo Experience festival on Oct. 30 in New Orleans, the first Orlando Calling festival on Nov. 12 in Florida and the Tabernacle in Atlanta on Nov. 13. Lawrence predicts the performances will include "some different covers than we've done before," as well as some new arrangements for songs from the Raconteurs' two albums -- 2006's "Broken Boy Soldiers" and 2008's "Consolers of the Lonely." The prospects for new original material are uncertain, however.
"It's hard to say," Lawrence explains. "We're all doing other projects, still, so it's hard to tell what's going to happen. We never really plan anything; it just depends on what the mood is with all of us. But if it feels right, by the time we do these shows I'm sure we'll want to do more and we'll make some time for it."
Lawrence and Keeler have been busy with the Greenhornes during the past couple of years, recording and touring to support 2010's "Four Stars," the trio's first new album in eight years. The duo is also headed to Brooklyn in October to back Karen O of th Yeah Yeah Yeah's on her during a six-night residency that will also feature O's bandmates Nick Zinner and Brian Chase. "They're calling it a 'psycho opera,' " Lawrence notes. "It's visual and musical and...I'm still not certain what's all going on. It sounds pretty interesting."