Longtime Denver favorites Opie Gone Bad have broken up after 20 years of playing together.
The band, known for its extensive charity concerts and countless sold-out shows at Herman’s Hideaway and other area venues, is no more, frontman Jake Schroeder told Reverb on Saturday.
Reverb founder Ricardo Baca’s full interview with Schroeder:
Ricardo Baca: Dude, the end of Opie Gone Bad? After 20 years, what brought this on?
Jake Schroeder: It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a few years. I’m definitely in a different place at this point than the other guys in terms of playing music as a career, and it’s not really fair to them to cater to my unavailability, no matter how much fun we have playing together. Here’s the example I use to explain it a little better — I had the opportunity to travel to England and Normandy with some WWII vets over D-Day last year and sing the anthem at a bunch of ceremonies honoring them (like the flag-lowering at Omaha Beach). It’s something that I wouldn’t miss, but at the same time, I put those guys out of work in the busy season for three weeks. And I see more opportunities for myself like that arising in the future. They were really cool and flexible about it, but it’s just not fair in the long-term.
Baca: You guys have had some incredibly busy years — and some less crazy years. When do you think was the band’s craziest, busiest year?
Schroeder: I don’t know — I think 1997-2000 were pretty zany. Any of those years were probably our busiest, and that’s the time we were actually hearing from labels, etc.
Baca: A lot of has changed in Denver’s music community in the last 20 years. Would the Jake of 1993 even recognize Denver now, with the addition of countless more rock clubs and a plethora of bands on respected major and indie labels?
Schroeder: 1993 Jake would have moved here from somewhere else just to be in the thick of things. The scene here is unreal right now. So many unbelievably talented people. But something that I think has stayed the same from the time I started playing professionally in Denver in 1987 (!!!) is that the bands are for the most part really, really kind and helpful to each other. It’s a very collaborative environment. We should be really proud of that.
Baca: What are you going to miss the most about Opie Gone Bad, specifically?
Schroeder: Being with the guys in the band onstage. They are so freaking good that it honestly blew me away every single time I stepped onstage with them.
Baca: I always got the impression that you guys always took pride in being a local band, as in, “We’re from Denver, we’ll play almost all of our gigs in Denver, and we’re OK with that.” Can you talk about that a little.
Schroeder: Well, we’re very proud to be from Denver — to be ingrained in people’s memories as being part of the early days of LoDo, and things like the Avalanche victory parties we got to play. But, we traveled as much as we could. I think we would have preferred to be on the road more when it was an option for us, and we always did well, but it’s a very difficult thing to pull off. That’s why I’m so in awe of bands like (Big Head Todd & the Monsters) and Danielle Ate the Sandwich, etc., who bust their asses for years so they can have a solid base elsewhere. But, yes. We are Denver guys, and we’re very proud of our city and its people.