A Letter To UM

As many of you may know, we’ve recently begun experimenting with semi-private events, an idea hatched during our Death By Stereo pre-order campaign. These curveballs experiences are aimed at those of you who have given so much to us over the years…tireless support, unbridled enthusiasm and passionate advocacy. This year’s “Bill Graham For A Day” show was another smashing success and you raised the bar for all of us here in the UM family with your incredibly thoughtful gift. We wanted to make sure all of you got the chance to see it and learn a bit more about it.

The thousands of pictures that make up this mosaic are not pictures of us, but rather of you. As it should be. Hanging proudly above UM HQ, it serves as a daily reminder of why we do what we do.

Rather than more of our words however, we wanted to share some of yours. This is a letter penned by Jim Murray “on behalf of the UM Nation” and it’s a testament to caliber and character of so many of you. We’ll keep doing what we do, you keep doing the same.

To the Umphreys McGee organization:

Where to start?

We know that you keep calling us the best fans in the business, and most humbly we accept, but the fact remains that nothing of this entire experience would be remotely possible without the groundwork that you all continue to lay before us, inside and outside of the music. Umphrey’s McGee is an organization built on energy and class synthesized with hard work and a forward-thinking intensity that stands as an archetype for the way that things can and should be done by a rock band—especially in an industry that has traditionally been engineered by inconsistency and batshit craziness.

So there’s that.

Which explains how easy it is for us to reach into our wallets to get in the vans—or on the planes, trains, and taxis to make these great destination shows. We come for the music first, of course, but so much more. Adventures. FRIENDS. Letting our hair down and creating wonderful new memories. And over the years now, the adventures seem to get better as they go hand in hand with reunions and new connections made. And in between bouts of rest, of course, the party continues to rage.
Such great music and such a wonderful community, then, led me to start reflecting as we approached UMBowl in April. The relationship of band and its fans is a scripted one, in terms of creation and consumption. These are our roles, and for the most part, we are happy to play them. But why not flip that on its head for once, I thought, and what better weekend than on home turf in Chicago? The thinking was simple: as fans, what could we collaborate on together to create something to give back to the band?The answer, as it turned out, required some patience. Brainstorming commenced. The logistics of living everywhere around the country were definitely limiting, but the ideas flowed to varying degrees of success. It really was a matter of settling on something we all felt we could contribute to and be a part of—and something that could be coordinated between long distances.

Jeremy Cobb ultimately threw out the idea of a mosaic, which was quickly agreed upon as a realistic possibility. The hope was that we could all share pictures from tour—pictures with friends, pictures with band members, pictures taken of places throughout this great country. It was a hell of an idea, but could we accomplish it in time?

Jeremy became the driving force behind the project, springing into action. He coordinated with the masses regarding the mission, contacted the mosaic company for quotes, collected funds, and set up and managed a Dropbox account for us to share our memories. Without his efforts, the mosaic simply wouldn’t have been created.

The next step in the process was framing and delivery. How do we get this to Chicago, framed, and to Lincoln Hall in one pristine piece? Thanks here goes to Bill Graham—er, Nick Morales, who surely had enough on his plate at that moment than to tackle another chore. But Nick did as he usually does, with cause and conviction, and things were in place to present to the band.

There was another hero in the process: Jenna Gorman, who threw forth the idea of presenting a gift to Nick for all of his efforts. Jenna coordinated a second mass list to collect additional funds, and we were ultimately able to present Nick with a thousand dollar Southwest gift card for future touring.
The mosaic that we present to this organization represents a synergy between the band and its fans. Without the music, we would never have been able to experience all of the things that the photos represent, along with never meeting these people that we are fortunate enough call friends and now in many cases make up such important parts of our lives. In turn, it symbolizes the passion and commitment on our part to support the music and spread the word to help the band continue to establish a foothold on the consciousness of music lovers around the world.

I speak for many of us out here, some that made it to Chicago and some who did not, when I say that the mosaic project is the least we can do to offer our appreciation. We will continue to show up, we will continue to support, we will continue to rage. We will continue to appreciate, and we will never take all of this for granted.

We all look forward to the future with Umphreys McGee, and we wish you all health, wealth, and happiness as a band and as individuals in the days and months and years to come. We sincerely hope you enjoy the mosaic. See you on the road!

On behalf of UM Nation,
Jim Murray

What purpose have you thought of? Where is this distilled from?
Necessitates a contract, appetites apply.

Hanging at UM HQ