A year ago I was shouting for joy, but not as loud as six days ago.
But first, some backstory.
Nine years ago today was a cold, dark day as Five Iron Frenzy hung up their hats, and the pants that belonged to their dads, playing their very last show in Denver Colorado. It was a emotional, powerful concert, ending with this impassioned rendition of Every New Day:
And it looked like that was how the story ended.
The members of the band went their separate ways, while their fans picked up the pieces and passed it on, continuing to spread their music through word of mouth.
One of the people who learned about them this way was me…but that’s a story for another post.
Cut to about a year and a half ago.
A mysterious timer showed up on the site FiveIronFrenzy.com. This timer was ticking down to Five Iron Frenzy day, the eighth anniversary of their last show.
Buzz began to buzz buzzingly. What madness was this?
What some fans did not realize is that after FIF’s registration of the domain name expired, a loyal fan purchased the domain name to keep it from squatters and spammers, and set up a fan site for Five Iron. He had set up the timer to commemorate the anniversary, and perhaps reorganize the site.
And perhaps no buzz would have been buzzed, except that one of the members of the band was, later the same day, misquoted as saying that the band was getting back together.
Embarrassed at people’s speculations, the owner of the fan site informed the members of the band, and wanted to get their approval of a public apology for the misunderstanding.
But the band started talking about something else entirely…
A few weeks before the timer counted down, a series of online scavenger hunts began appearing on the site and blogs of some of the members. People searched for Reese’s blue comb, and some found posters, pictures, and Zombie Brad.
On Nov. 22, 2011, the timer ticked over to 0. And…
For a little while, anyway. Nothing on the internet is perfect.
But for those who continued to wait and check and refresh and wait and check and refresh, we eventually found…this brand new song.
And a message on the now-official Five Iron Frenzy site. They wanted to create new music. But to do that, they needed funding. So they announced that they were starting a Kickstarter project, auctioning off pre-orders of CDs, signed posters, personalized silly songs, golf dates, guitar lessons, and wedgies for varying donation prices.
If they could raise $30,000 in two months, they would go ahead with the CD, and maybe even do some touring if there was money left over. And they just barely made the $30,000…
in 56 minutes.
The band was blown away by this massive show of support. By the end of the project, they had raised over $200,000.
To show his gratitude, Reese made a video to say thanks, and also ate some mayonnaise:
And after several months of touring, they finally made it to the Midwest last week, where I saw them live in concert…something I never thought would happen. I even got a picture with Reese, lead singer and songwriter.
It was amazing to tell someone who had more impact on my faith during my college years than possibly anyone else still living about how his songwriting had affected my life. I’ll be posting a more personal story about Five Iron Frenzy’s effect on my faith, my philosophy, and my life. But I wanted to at least get this out for Five Iron Frenzy day.
And I wanted to say thanks to the band on this Thanksgiving night. Thank you for your energy, passion, honesty, openness, and humility. Keep up the good work.