Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Finn Riggins finds their way home

Long tour leads rock trio back to Whiskey Jacques’

Express Staff Writer

Finn Riggins will take the stage at Whiskey Jacques’ in Ketchum on Saturday, May 22. Photo by

Lisa Simpson doesn't let marriage get in the way of her music. In fact, she's brought the two together in Finn Riggins, a band that formed in 2006 in Hailey.

Yes, her fierce intellect, distinct voice and blazing guitar have taken her far. Surprised? Well, time marches on and Simpson is rocking to the beat of a Caribbean steel drum. This weekend, she and her bandmates are coming home.

Together with her husband, Eric Gilbert, on keyboards, and Cameron Bouiss playing percussion, Simpson will perform at Whiskey Jacques' in Ketchum on Saturday, May 22, with a special guest set to open the show before the rockers take the stage.

If you are worried that little Lisa has run away from home and ruined her promising future by marrying a rock musician, don't bother calling Homer and Marge in Springfield. This Lisa Simpson is from New Hampshire, and she's no cartoon character. Her live energy is appreciated far and wide.

"We're really excited to be able to play a show back in the valley," Simpson said last week during a phone interview from the band's 15-passenger van on the road between shows in Missoula, Mont., and Moscow, Idaho. The band's trusty steed has kept them rocking and rolling around the country for more than 80 days since their last gig at Whiskey's on Feb. 5.

"We're excited to be back in Idaho today to see a lot of familiar faces and have a good time."

Rolling along Interstate 90, Simpson took some time to talk about the band while her man took the wheel. Finn Riggins has been busy playing gigs from New England to Florida and is now back canvassing the West.

"We had a lot of really fun shows on the East Coast," Simpson said. "We had great shows in New York City, Boston—they are all different from each other. One show in Athens, Ga.—it was just crazy good."

Saturday's performance will include popular songs from the band's two latest albums, "A Soldier, A Saint, An Ocean Explorer" and "Vs. Wilderness." The gig will include songs that are becoming quite popular across the country, such as "Pancakes," "Box Elder," "Wake" and "Dali."

"Normally a rock trio has a guitar, bass and drums," said Simpson, who wields the strings in the band. "We don't have a bass. Eric plays the low-end parts on keyboards. Cameron plays a drum kit and a steel drum that's about 10 to 12 inches deep. It's just how we formed the band. We really enjoy it and our sound is pretty full."

Simpson said that stylistically the band fits the bill as an underground independent rock group. One of the things Simpson said she really loves about the band is that their compositions all have some element of collaboration and that they perform as a unit.

"When you get into the nitty-gritty, we're definitely a little eclectic, but at its face it's definitely rock 'n' roll."

Certainly, fans can expect to enjoy how touring has influenced the band's work, Simpson said.

"It's something that takes it to the next level for me personally. The gig is better because of how we interact together and push each other."

Who knows, they may add a bass someday.

"We'll definitely bring the dance party," Simpson said. "We will play as long as they let us."

Rock on, Lisa Simpson. Bring it on home.

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