Ken Stringfellow, leader of '90s power-pop innovators the Posies and latter-day member of both REM and Big Star, has played all manner of stages throughout his storied career. But this week he embarks on a low-key Florida solo tour with local Tierney Tough of the Pauses for some of his most purposely intimate shows yet. This includes a potluck show at Lil Indies. What does he have in store for us?
Orlando Weekly: How did this mini-tour come together?
Ken Stringfellow: I'd been in touch with the Pauses about doing something together and they said, "You have to come to Florida, one of you, all of you. I think people will really dig it." I'm game, I'm going to be in the state this summer, I've never done any solo shows in Florida and it would be great to have a knowledgeable guide.
So these are your first Florida solo shows?
I can only say that the Posies' Florida visits have been few and far between. We had some very weird experiences in Florida in our early days. We played a radio festival on July 4, 1993, in the Tampa area on a bill with Great White and Winger. And we survived. I don't know if anyone even liked us! But we survived and that was enough for us.
What do you have planned for these shows?
We have a lot in common musically and I'm too fidgety to just sit and watch, so I'm sure I will implicate myself into Tierney's set much more than she wants. And there are a few duets that I want to do in my set. A solo show is a wonderful thing for me, because I can just improvise and do whatever I feel like, and that's really the only place I can do that in my musical life. I love that about these shows. Every other show you kind of have to have a set list. A solo show, it really doesn't matter, I don't even have to finish a song if I don't want to!
Or just try out new ideas ...
When you are completely at ease and feeling good, as a musician you have this possibility to tap into a kind of power source/cosmic internet. It's something that musicians will often talk about, where you have the feeling, "I'm not even the one doing this, there's something way bigger going through me." And sometimes that can happen. And because it's so open, I think the solo show has the greatest chance for that kind of moment. I'm not promising anything!