Some of the most interesting, impactful artists are the ones few people know, who either weren’t around long enough to make a dent or just weren’t meant for bigger recognition. During its brief run in the mid- to late ’90s, Austin band Mineral released a pair of albums and toured relentlessly, playing small punk clubs and sharing bills with like-minded bands such as Jimmy Eat World, the Promise Ring, Christie Front Drive, and others who’d make up emo’s second wave. By the time Mineral released EndSerenading in 1998, the follow-up to 1997’s The Power of Failing, the band was done, and its members scattered to other projects. Yet it would leave a powerful legacy that transcended its small but devoted fan base. And it has apparently grown, judging by the response to Mineral’s reunion tour tied to the 20th anniversary of the band’s debut. They kick off this weekend in New York with a three sold-out shows and continue on and off in the U.S. and Europe through early next year. Before the band played its first show, Entertainment Weekly talked to singer-guitarist Chris Simpson about appreciating/cringing at his old songs and what revisiting them could mean for the future.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What precipitated these shows?
CHRIS SIMPSON: A good friend of ours has been sort of hounding me and Jeremy [Gomez, bassist] for a while like, “You guys should really do some Mineral shows,” and we finally just started actually thinking about it. I remember when I realized that it would be 20 years from this year that we started the band, it sort of made me start to open my mind to like, “If we did this, this would be the time.” So yeah, it’s been a very long process so far, and I can’t believe that we haven’t played a note for anyone yet. [Laughs.] The whole thing isn’t even real yet.
Going back to these songs, what has struck you about them?
I have been surprised with the ease with which I’ve been able to connect with them emotionally for how old they are. But things are cyclical in life, and sometimes, in middle of life anyway, people tend to start looking back at themselves 20 years ago. It’s like you’re finally old enough to reflect back at an experience at this time. So I’ve been surprised in general that they’ve been as easy to connect with. But musically, they have been a beast. It’s just been so much work to get it all back together as far as guitar parts and guitar sounds. That’s been the primary labor.