A groovy group of dudes with pinnacle vibes, Starship Pilgrims is a psychedelic jam band that sends their listeners on a sonic journey back to the past, with their Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd influenced sound and a twist of modern jam band tones. Currently located in Nashville, Tennessee, Nick Riffle (pictured right), Cole Mellen (pictured center), and Kale Brown (pictured left) are making their unique stamp on the Music City. Although they are all influenced most by legends Phish, Dopapod, and Umphrey’s McGee, each member brings their own style to the table.
Starship Pilgrims formed in the fall of 2016 while members Cole and Nick met as students at Belmont University. Nick, an accomplished guitarist who was requested to play guitar at the funeral of Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band, bonded with Cole over their profound love of jam music. The band found their bassist, Kale, at an Umphrey’s McGee show soon after and they immediately caught each other’s vibrations. The trio’s band name was inspired by Johnny Cash’s song “Highwayman,” where Johnny sings, “I fly a starship across the Universe divide.” The band members now live together in a house, with a full recording studio where they let their subconscious creativity flow freely from their pineal glands to create progressive tunes.
Starship Pilgrims does a seamless job collaborating on songwriting since they’re all on the same wavelength. “Usually one of us will just write something and then bring it to the band and we work on it as a whole,” says Kale. Cole chimes in, “If we’re talking about the bulk of the songs, Nick and I write the majority of them. On the other hand, Kale is our tech genius and handles all of the studio mixing and sound recording.” The musicians find inspiration in whatever they are listening to at the time. Each member draws from their own individual kicks, for example, Cole added, “Our most recent inspiration is from Trey Anastasio of Phish with his timeless shredding of the whammy pedal.”
The band also enjoys covering songs by their favorite bands. Their repertoire includes songs by My Morning Jacket, Pink Floyd, Phish, The Talking Heads, and The Grateful Dead. They always make their covers their own, putting their own spin on all of their renditions. According to the trio, that is the beauty of jam music-infinite possibilities within a jam.
Starship Pilgrims have a lot of goals, with their main one being to sell hit records. They also strive to play as many local, small venue shows as possible by the end of the year, such as The End or Exit/In. When asked about what kind of surprises they have in the works, Nick hints that all hours spent outside of school and work are spent in their home studio. The boys are working on releasing an EP within the next few months.
Each of their shows has been recorded as live albums that are currently available on Bandcamp. Find out more about these rad dudes by looking up “Starship Pilgrims” on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Bandcamp. See social media links below.
Beneath the Snakes
Interviews: Beneath the Snakes
January 20, 2018 - Chicago, Illinois - the Cubby Bear
More to be announced...