Tim DeLaughter (far left) with Tripping Daisy. He's back playing guitar live after 15 years singing with Polyphonic Spree.
Tim DeLaughter (far left) with Tripping Daisy. He's back playing guitar live after 15 years singing with Polyphonic Spree.
via Tripping Daisy on Facebook

Emotions Run High for Tim DeLaughter As He Revisits Tripping Daisy Songs

Tripping Daisy play Club Dada on Thursday, May 11 and Homegrown Festival on Saturday, May 13

By now you've heard that after 18 years apart, Tripping Daisy are reuniting for six shows this year: the first at Club Dada this Thursday, and the second at Homegrown Fest on Saturday. But why now? Frontman Tim DeLaughter says it comes down to his kids.

“If it didn’t happen now, it was never, ever gonna happen. My kids and their friends have been listening to Tripping Daisy and they never got to see Tripping Daisy. I think it has a lot to do with them – why I decided to go ahead and go for it.”

The decision to reunite for Homegrown wasn't spur-of-the-moment. “I’ve thought of it before, but I wasn’t ready,” DeLaughter says. “For whatever reason, the planets aligned and it felt like something that I wanted to do. I just kind of jumped in and went for it. Before we knew it, it was happening.”

Tripping Daisy's last show was in 1999 at Fort Worth’s Melodica Festival. They disbanded a short time later, due to the death of guitarist Wes Berggren. Although DeLaughter achieved even greater fame with his next and current project, the Polyphonic Spree, plenty of people have held out hope that Tripping Daisy would someday reform.

“I’ve missed Tripping Daisy since the day it was done,” DeLaughter says. “I love that band. I’ve loved it from afar. A lot of those memories shaped my life, all those good times. It was an amazing time for me.”

In Polyphonic Spree, DeLaughter primarily sings. Now he's getting back to playing guitar live for Tripping Daisy. Joining him are bassist Mark Pirro, guitarist Philip Karnats and drummer Bryan Wakeland, all of whom played with the band during its original incarnation. New additions for the reunion lineup are guitarist Nick Earl, who is also a member of the Spree, and keyboardist Brandon Curtis.

Curtis is best known for his work with UFOFU, Secret Machines, Interpol and Cosmicide. His brother Ben played in Tripping Daisy’s last lineup, as well as UFOFU and Secret Machines. Ben died in 2013, and DeLaughter felt it was right to honor him by bringing Brandon into the project.

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“We’re friends,” he says. “The sentiment was right. I love Brandon as a musician. I’ve been a fan of his from the get-go. The fact he is Ben’s brother kind of tied it all together. He was more than happy to jump onboard.”

DeLaughter won’t divulge exactly which songs the six-piece will perform this week, but he promises that all four of their main LPs – Bill, I Am an Elastic Firecracker, Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb and Tripping Daisy – will be represented.

“I think people are going to be happy,” he says. “Of course, we can’t do everything. It’d be a freakin’ four-hour set. We’re definitely going to do our best to do a little bit from each era/record.”

Tripping Daisy were still headed upward in the late '90s. They were off their former label, Island Records, and excited by the prospect of creative freedom. But Berggren’s death put a stop to it all. “It was really hard at that point,” DeLaughter says. “I think we were getting ready to go. We were at the height of our creativity at that point. We were running on all eight cylinders. It was really a new time for us. We were exploring and we were able to articulate, our musicianship had become better, working together as a team so much better. There’s just no telling where we could have gone. I just miss those times. Of course I miss Wes. It still doesn’t seem real.”

Practicing the Tripping Daisy material this year has been like reconnecting with an old friend.

“I didn’t know how this was going to affect me or the other guys once we got together and started playing,” DeLaughter says. “When we first started rehearsing and jamming, I didn’t think anything about it. And then we were doing ‘On the Ground’ and it got overwhelming. Tears started coming down my face. It all came up at once. And then I started smiling again. I’m excited about playing this again.”

After the shows at Club Dada and Homegrown Festival, Tripping Daisy will play Houston, Waco, San Antonio and Austin. They will play Richardson later in the summer. It's unclear whether there's more to come after that.

“It’s a matter of everybody’s schedule,” DeLaughter says. “There’s definitely a place for Tripping Daisy and Polyphonic and my family. You never know. I don’t say never anymore. I never thought this was going to happen. Yet here I am doing it. Anything’s possible.”

Tripping Daisy, 9 p.m. Thursday, May 11, Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., $50, prekindle.com, and 8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 13, Homegrown Fest, Main Street Garden Park, 1902 Main St., $50 and up, homegrownfest.com.

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