Happy Anniversary Umphrey’s McGee: Watch Each Member Sing Lead
Jan 21, 2021
1:45 pm PST
Photo by Chad Smith
The original members of Umphrey’s McGee played their first concert under the Umphrey’s McGee moniker 23 years ago today. Bridget McGuire’s Filling Station in South Bend, Indiana hosted the show on January 21, 1998. To celebrate, this edition of the JamBase List compiles videos featuring each member of the group, past and present, handling lead vocals.
Umphrey’s McGee initially consisted of guitarist Brendan Bayliss, drummer Mike Mirro, keyboardist Joel Cummins and bassist Ryan Stasik. Bayliss and Stasik were previously members of Tashi Station, while Cummins and the late Mike Mirro were members of Stomper Bob. Each of the four musicians was attending Notre Dame University at the time Umphrey’s McGee was formed.
Percussionist Andy Farag came aboard by the end of UM’s first year. Then, in 2000, the group recruited guitarist Jake Cinninger from fellow South Bend-based band Ali Baba’s Tahini. Mike Mirro parted ways with Umphrey’s McGee in 2002. The current lineup was solidified with the addition of drummer Kris Myers. Kris’ first full show with UM took place at The Buskirk-Chumley Theater in Bloomington, Indiana on January 23, 2003.
Guitarist Brendan Bayliss fronts the band on such beloved originals as “All In Time,” “2×2,” “In The Kitchen,” “Much Obliged” and “August.” Umphrey’s McGee also takes their name from a distant relative Brendan met at a wedding, Humphries McGee. “All In Time” is the song UM has played most over the past 23 years as per All Things Umphreys. One of the 547 versions performed between 1998 – 2020 opened the second set at The Beacon Theatre in New York City on January 18, 2014.
Ryan Stasik | Can’t Take My Eyes Off You | December 31, 2009
Bassist Ryan Stasik only sings at UM shows on rare occasions. The band’s bio page on their website actually lists “no vocals” next to “bass” for Ryan. An exception came on New Year’s Eve 2009 at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, when Stasik led the group through their one-and-done cover of Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”
While Joel often provides harmony vocals on UM songs, the keyboardist only fronts the group on a handful of tunes. One such number is “No More Tears,” a cover of the title track from Ozzy Osbourne’s 1991 studio album. Umphrey’s McGee debuted their rendition of “No More Tears” on October 30, 2004 in Portland, Oregon. Eighteen additional versions followed including a performance on April 28, 2006 at The Canopy Club in Urbana, Illinois.
Founding drummer Mike Mirro, who died at age 36 in 2014, was a capable vocalist who handled lead vocals on a number of tunes during the band’s early days. Sade’s “No Ordinary Love,” “Freedom” by George Michael and Ike Turner’s “Garbage Man” were just a few of the songs Mirro sang with Umphrey’s McGee. He also provided lead vocals on UM’s covers of War’s “Get Down,” including this version from May 17, 2002 at Schubas Tavern in Chicago.
It’s always a special occasion when Andy Farag steps out from behind his percussion rig to front Umphrey’s McGee. While most of the covers spotlighting “Cousin Eli” are hip-hop numbers, he’s also led the band on Frank Zappa’s “Dirty Love.” UM has played the song from Zappa’s 1973 album, Over-Nite Sensation a total of 34 times. The most recent rendition came on October 18, 2018 at The Canopy Club in Urbana, Illinois.
Jake Cinninger, along with Bayliss, does the majority of singing with Umphrey’s McGee. Cinninger brought many songs originally played by his former band, Ali Baba’s Tahini, to the UM stage. “40’s Theme” dates back to the Ali Baba Tahini days and has been performed by the band more than any other tune besides “All In Time” and “2×2.” Jake showed off his vocal stylings on “40’s Theme” at The Anthem in Washington D.C. on February 15, 2018.
Kris Myers | Nopener (Lounge Version) | February 4, 2017
Kris Myers isn’t just a beast behind the drum kit, he also provides backing vocals on dozens of songs from the UM repertoire and handles lead vocals on a number of covers. Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper,” Metallica’s “…And Justice For All” and “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys are just a few of the covers UM performs featuring Myers on lead vocals. Additionally, he’s the first choice when the band plays Van Halen songs. As for originals, Kris steps to the front of the stage to lead his mates through lounge versions of “Nopener” from time to time, including on February 4, 2017 at The Fillmore in Detroit.