Slippy LaRue’s last waltz

Republished from MOVE Magazine


Tacked on the wall of the Slippy LaRue rehearsal room in Andy Launder and Brandon Sanborn’s house is a noise violation ticket. “Playing a musical instrumental so as to be heard more than 100 feet (after) 11 p.m.,” the ticket reads.

“We played rock, paper, scissors to see who got to pay for the ticket,” said Launder, the band’s guitarist. “Brandon lost.”

Launder and Sanborn, along with drummer Devin Kemp, had to move the trio’s practice room from the larger, window-filled room down the hall from their current, cramped space.

Plastered on the walls of the room, next to the proudly displayed ticket, are dozens of Slippy LaRue newspaper features and posters for past shows at Mojo’s and The Blue Note. The local jam band adds its final poster to the collection Saturday night when it plays its farewell concert at The Blue Note.

The band is calling it quits after three and a half years because bassist Sanborn is moving to Los Angeles to live with his sister.

“We decided that there was no Slippy LaRue without Brandon,” Launder said. “So that was the end of the band.”

The band is ending on amiable terms.

“That’s what’s great – we’re not ending on any ill will or anything,” Sanborn said. “That’s what made it so hard to make the move.”

The band will be leaving behind a devoted fanbase. Slippy LaRue had such a large following the group could get booked at The Blue Note or Mojo’s whenever it wanted, Launder said. The fans spoke out on Facebook via the band’s event page for Saturday’s concert.

“I learned so much from you guys and found who I am and where I belong,” Kirsten Duncan wrote on the event’s wall. “You guys even helped me realize what I want to do with my life. I can’t thank you enough for the amazing experiences.”

As a reward for their loyalty, fans won’t have to pay for the concert Saturday.

“We really wanted to make it free, just to get all of our friends out and celebrate rather than sit and mope about the end of the band,” Launder said.

The trio believes its “improv dance music” doesn’t need vocals to get the job done, and fans seem to agree.

“If people are dancing, they’re not going to be, necessarily, worried about listening to the lyrics,” Launder said. “I think they just want to come out and have a good time and dance to the music.”

When in need of a “voice,” the band turns to Launder’s guitar and its effects that can produce the sounds of a saxophone or a sitar.

“Devin and I hold down a pretty good pocket,” Sanborn “We’ve gotten a pretty good chemistry over the past years, and Andy, I guess in a sense, sings.”

The band’s local success has earned it shows in places like Colorado and Chicago, as well as performances at Summer Camp Music Festival. Slippy LaRue toured to improved turnouts this March. The band calls that tour its best.

“I think we’re ending on a high note,” Launder said. “You always want to do that if you’re in showmanship.”

That high note will sound for the final time Saturday at Slippy LaRue’s Last Waltz!! with For the Irony and HODJ.

“I’m sure it’ll be a little emotional on Saturday, playing for the last time in front of everyone,” Launder said. “I think it’ll be the exclamation note from the last three-point-five years.”




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