Lake Street Dive
The members of Lake Street Dive find themselves on the cusp of stardom, though they insist
they will always be the same people whose stage outfits once consisted of matching sweater
vests. "We realize this could all go away tomorrow," says Rachael Price. "But that won't
change what we do. We want to continue to do this for a long, long time. This is what we
love. We just want to make sure we keep enjoying ourselves."
The four musicians have been performing for nearly a decade after meeting as fellow
students at the New England Conservatory in Boston. The band was handpicked by Minneapolis
trumpet-guitar player Michael Olson and named after an actual neighborhood of seedy bars in
his hometown. Vocalist Rachael Price came from outside Nashville, stand-up bassist Bridget
Kearney was an Iowa native, while drummer Michael Calabrese called Philadelphia home. "I
wasn't only impressed with their musicianship," says Olson, who acquired the nickname
"McDuck" while at the conservatory for his reclusive ways. "They were also a lot of fun
just to hang out with. The first four years of rehearsals were more like glorified dinner
Lake Street Dive has come a long way, but this just could be the start of something even
It took a casually made video that featured the band gathered around a single microphone,
performing a cover of Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," shot on a Brighton, Massachusetts,
street corner to grab the public's attention-its YouTube views now hurtling past one
million. What followed was nothing less than a modern-day music business success story-T
Bone Burnett tapping them to perform on the Another Day, Another Time show at Town
Hall that featured music from and inspired by the Coen brothers' Inside Llewyn
Davis, taped for an upcoming special on Showtime.
And just like that, Lake Street Dive went from playing for a small devoted following, to
selling out venues and planning an initial European tour, with dates on several late-night
TV shows in the offing.
While "I Want You Back," a track from their six-song Fun Machine EP (which
included five covers and an original track), was spreading like wildfire on the internet,
the band had little idea what was happening. They were ensconced at Great North Sound
Society, a recording studio located on an 18th-century farmhouse in Parsonsfield, Maine
(two hours from Boston), with producer-engineer Sam Kassirer-a location so remote, cell
phone reception was spotty and web access non-existent.
"Our musical development has been like Google Earth," explains Olson, "going from the
entire universe to a specific place. That's how we've honed in on our sound. We had the
whole world of music at our fingertips, and we were unsure of what direction to take, but
now we're zeroing in a little closer."
All four members of the band have taken part in the writing on Lake Street Dive's
soon-to-be-released Bad Self Portraits (Signature Sounds Recording), the follow-up
to a self-titled debut and subsequent EP. The Kearney-penned title track is a wry
commentary on how those selfie iPhone photos are just a cover for loneliness, but it could
also refer to the rest of the album, each song a polaroid-like glimpse of a band that is
"Nothing we do is set in stone," says Olson about the band's recording process in the
studio, and that they are, first and foremost, a live outfit. "Songs change when we start
to play them for people. That determines the stylistic direction more than anything else.
When we record a song, that's just a snapshot of where it was at that moment. And it
continues to grow as we perform it."
And as things are rapidly growing for Lake Street Dive, the nine years that they spent
focusing on their musical development has left them with one constant for which to strive.
"We are named in homage to dive bar bands," says Calabrese, "we were, are, and always will
be a dive bar band. Whether we're playing for 10 people or 10,000, we want them to have