Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer are not particularly nostalgic people. But right now, they’re happily celebrating the past with expanded reissues of three of key Posies albums — 1990’s Dear 23 (June 5, from which the unreleased demo version of “Golden Blunders” is premiering exclusively below), 1993’s Frosting On The Beater (Aug. 3) and 1996’s Amazing Grace (Oct. 28). The duo is using a PledgeMusic pre-order campaign to pay for the licensing fees for those recordings, offering perks such as Auer’s old stage clothing, private shows, music lessons, guitars and more.
And the Posies are taking the Frosting On The Beater lineup on the road this year, kicking off May 18 in Victoria, B.C., and playing in Europe during the last summer and fall.
“The episodic nature of our band is helpful for one thing — it keeps the feeling fairly fresh,” Stringfellow — who, like Auer, now resides in France — tells Billboard. “I think if we had been doing this for 30 contiguous years it might feel like it’s been a long time. But each time it changes a bit, a different lineup or something, and we’ve had time away from each other for years at a time. So it always feels like a fresh start, which is why we keep doing this.”
Auer adds that, “It’s all relative, really. To be honest, I don’t think 30 years is such a big deal anymore; 40 is the new 30, 50 is the new 40, that’s the progression of things. Plus, I made, mixed and recorded our very first recording (1988’s Failure) when I was 17 years old, and that’s the record that got us everything from this point on. So you can say it’s our 30th anniversary but we got an early start.”
Stringfellow calls the three titles being reissued “the prime moment” of the Posies’ career. All were recorded for David Geffen’s DGC Records, and Frosting On The Beater in particular featured “Flavor Of The Month,” which Stringellow and Auer re-recorded as “Voyage Of The Astronauts” for Bill Nye The Science Guy, and “Coming Right Along,” which appeared in The Basketball Diaries film soundtrack. All three have been remastered from the original master tapes and feature unreleased bonus tracks.
“What’s amazing is how much you forget, really,” Auer says. “Even if they’re well archived and documented, you discover things that were mislabeled, discover versions of songs you don’t remember recording — not just me, but Ken as well. It’s kind of bizarre because one would think one has a better grip on one’s memory than that. I had no idea there would be so much stuff to unearth.” Stringfellow agrees that “there were a few things we’d forgotten about, just versions of songs that were quite good. There were a lot of great finds.”
The “Golden Blunders” demo, meanwhile, has its own history in the Posies’ story. The song was recorded after Failure but before Dear 23 and was among those submitted to the now defunct SBK Records, which was wooing the Posies before DGC. “(SBK) was really dragging their feet,” Auer remembers. “We did like five, six demos and we never got a response back. Then lo and behold Gary Gersh arrived at the moment when this other label was just not coming through with their end of the deal and signed us to DGC — which we were super happy about, as one might imagine.”
Stringfellow and Auer are also happy about getting the Frosting On The Beater lineup, with original drummer Mike Musburger and bassist Dave Fox (“The people who helped us make what is arguably our most popular record,” according to Auer), together for the upcoming world tour. “We’re not just going to play Frosting On The Beater; We’ll do songs from all of the eras,” Stringfellow promises. “But it will be nice to revert to our two guitars, bass and drums lineups and base as much of it as we can on that rather than my keyboard focus that came along later.” After this, however, the duo plans to return to what Stringfellow calls “the modern Pixies” with plans for more new music to follow 2016’s Solid States.
“Going backwards is something I’ve always been reluctant to do,” Stringfellow says, “But a 30th anniversary is a pretty good milestone, so I’m comfortable with it. I know it has an end date, so that makes it easier to do and enjoy it and then get back to creating new music, ’cause that’s what we really love to do most.”