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By David Rolland
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Six years after Americana-rock quartet Legends of Rodeo's original lineup last took the stage, the Lake Worth quartet is re-forming thanks, in part, to beer.
It all began to take shape last year, when singer/guitarist John Ralston settled back to his hometown of Lake Worth to work on a new solo record. Drummer Jeff Snow, who had just left Ralston's solo touring band six months prior, began stopping by Ralston's house to work on songs. Gradually, guitarist Nathan Jezek and bassist Steven Eschelman joined in. "Every time we got together and the beer started flowing, we'd start playing the old Legends of Rodeo stuff," says Snow.
At one of these Miller High Life-fueled jam sessions, TheHoneyComb/Propaganda promoter Steve Rullman dropped by and suggested a reunion show. None of the guys had considered re-forming, according to Snow. Ralston was busy mixing a record and shopping for a new label after fleeing independent Vagrant last year; Snow and Jezek were recording with their band, Invisible Music; and bassist Steven Eschelman had eased into family life.
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"We were all busy," says Snow. "I don't think anyone really was going to do [a reunion] until I finally called Steve and said 'Give me a date and I'll tell the guys they have to show up.' "
Snow says that schedule conflicts aside, putting this gig together was relatively simple. The band members, who came of age in the mid-'90s alongside Boca Raton's Dashboard Confessional and Coral Springs' New Found Glory, had no bad blood among them at the end of their run. "We were a band for a long time [eight years], and at the time when John's solo record [Needle Bed] started to take off, it seemed like the band had run its course."
As for any hopes that this reunion will ignite the four-piece to get back into the studio and record a follow-up to its 2002 Bieler Bros. Records (subsidiary of now-defunct MCA) debut Thousand Friday Nights? "The idea has come up," Snow responds. When Legends of Rodeo disbanded, it was right in the middle of recording "the record that never was," as Snow calls it. "We've talked about the idea of maybe rerecording that at some point, but John is very much in full swing with his solo career."
Something new is coming out of what could turn out to be a one-off show, though. The first 100 paying customers at the July 10 concert will receive a copy of a rarities disc featuring material culled from iPods filled with unreleased tracks — way more music than they ever had the liberty of putting out.
Additionally, Snow says that the crowd will be pleased with the song selection for Saturday's show: "When we are putting together the set list, it is more about what we think our fans want to hear as opposed to what we really want to play.
"The four of us hang out together every single week. Instead of drinking High Life and watching football, this is an excuse to put out these songs."