Episode 126: Umphrey’s McGee’s Brendan Bayliss

Episode 126 of The JamBase Podcast, a partner of the Osiris Media Network, features an interview with Umphrey’s McGee guitarist Brendan Bayliss. JamBase’s Andy Kahn recently interviewed Bayliss to discuss the band’s new studio album, Asking For A Friend, which will be released on July 1.

Bayliss’ interview took place over a video call almost one year to the day from when he last appeared on The JamBase Podcast to discuss his cover of Phish’s “Twist” for our Cluster Flies project. Since then, the band completed recording Asking For A Friend that features 14 new original songs and only one of which, the single “I Don’t Know What I Want,” has been played live. Bayliss explained why the band took that approach and how they are preparing to bring the other new tunes to the live stage.

Much of the interview focused on Bayliss’ songwriting process, and how it has evolved since he started writing songs back in the 1990s. He discussed how his songwriting was influenced by the Wine Not? weekly livestreams he performed from home throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The guitarist talked about the unfamiliar experience of writing the album track “Escape Plan,” which came from an online auction for a fan who won the chance to collaborate on a new original song.

Bayliss was also asked about being compelled to write “Fenced In,” in response to the tragic killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. The song uses a particular expletive for the first time in any Umphrey’s original and Bayliss talked about the decision to leave it in the song, even if it offended his mom.

The interview covered the recording sessions that were held for Asking For A Friend, which took place in Chicago, Nashville and at guitarist Jake Cinninger’s home studio in Michigan. Bayliss described enjoying the less stressful process of recording his vocal parts at home.

He also talked about Umphrey’s recent trip to Iceland, which turns out was as incredible as it looked. Bayliss mentioned the band might have another destination event in the works. There was also an attempt to get Bayliss to commit to recording an album of new music with his frequent partner on stage, Jennifer Hartswick of the Trey Anastasio Band.

This episode is sponsored by Section 119. Section 119 offers a diverse range of quality Grateful Dead, Donut pattern, David Bowie, Pink Floyd and other music related apparel. JamBase is honoring the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead’s historic Europe 72 tour with a retrospective look back at each of 22 performances that took place between April 7 and May 26 in partnership with Section 119. Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Grateful Dead ’72 European tour with Section 119’s Limited Edition Hoodies. Section 119 dug deep into the archive of the Grateful Dead to build 22 unique hoodies with the actual amazing artwork from each show of the tour. Only 72 pieces inspired by each show will be sold.

Stream Episode 126 of The JamBase Podcast via all major podcast services including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Google Podcast.