The last days of Dispatch

Christine Beaderstadt

Lawrentian Photo Editor Christine Beaderstadt was lucky enough to see the last concert of the rock band Dispatch last summer. Here is part one of her coverage of the concert and exclusive interview with the band.

After making amazing music for nearly a decade, indie rock band Dispatch gave their final performance in Boston on July 31, 2004. Their fast electric guitar harmonized with rhythmic drum beats and melodic voices created a unique sound that instantly captivated the already energized crowd. As Chad, Pete, and Brad ran on stage and began to play their first song, “Here We Go,” fans went wild, jumping up and down and singing along. The band drew an unexpected crowd of 110,000 fans. Some were so desperate that they climbed trees in order to get a decent view of the stage. Streets were closed off and thousands spent the day across the Charles River so that they could at least hear the final performance.

Why has Dispatch remained such a success? What is it about this band that attracts so much attention and has kept people listening? What is their appeal? Perhaps why Dispatch has attracted so many various fans from around the globe (literally: people came from as far away as Australia and Brazil) is because each member brings a unique and irreplaceable element that magically coincides with one another, like pieces to a puzzle, producing something that the world has never heard before. Each song is different from the last. For the encore, they began with their most popular song, “The General,” and segued into Bob Marley’s “Stir It Up,” a reinvented version that became their own.

Each album, while still staying true to their distinctive sound, sounds different from the last. Their most extensive and honest record has to be “Who Are We Living For.” Several tracks consist of radical jam sessions. Band member Brad Corrigan comments, “It’s my favorite album. Wow, what we did in that studio was amazing.” Their musical weave of rock, funk, and reggae is what makes Dispatch’s music so remarkable.

Perhaps Dispatch’s music will continue to thrive because their songs are incredibly diverse. There is a song for nearly every mood. They extend their barriers and stretch the limits beyond the conceptualized borders of mainstream rock. They are a band that is not afraid of not conforming to one popular musical genre. Ultimately, this is why they wish to continue their music careers separately. They have made Dispatch music, now they want to explore other musical avenues, each on their own.

Proof of this fearlessness was tested in 2002, when Dispatch began to grab the attention of more well-known record labels. Growing even more popular, the guys played more rigorously than ever, tirelessly touring and promoting their music. According to Corrigan, “It wasn’t fun anymore. That’s when we knew we had to stop for a while. Because we weren’t loving it.”

Almost intuitively knowing that their music wouldn’t fade despite their choice to slow down at the height of their success, the band took a break. Fame is not what they are after. Music is their passion. They create what they love, and share it with others.