Happy Birthday Bill Nershi: Watch 6 Early The String Cheese Incident Videos
Sep 16, 2020
11:08 am PDT
Today marks the 59th birthday of The String Cheese Incident co-founding member Bill Nershi. Billy grew up in New Jersey and first picked up electric guitar but after moving in with his bluegrass-loving brother, Nershi transitioned to acoustic guitar before leaving for Colorado, where he helped put together SCI.
Nershi’s songwriting and love of roots music including bluegrass played a huge role in defining the original sound of The String Cheese Incident. Billy penned such beloved Cheese classics as “Black Clouds,”“Born On The Wrong Planet,”“Texas” and “Jellyfish” that are still staples of the band’s live shows more than 20 years after their debuts.
In honor of Billy’s birthday, check out six fantastic SCI videos from the band’s early days:
Round The Wheel | July 1, 1997
The oldest The String Cheese Incident video in the JBLVA features a performance of “Round The Wheel.” Cheese was filmed performing “Round The Wheel” at the Studio E Recording Studio in Sebastopol, California on July 1, 1997 shortly after keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth joined the band, cementing their classic lineup.
It wasn’t long after The String Cheese Incident formed that they showed off their improvisational prowess. An example can be found in the video above from 1998, which features a 35-minute pairing of “Black Clouds” and “Land’s End.” SCI was joined by multi-instrumentalist Paul McCandless for the bulk of the well-jammed segment. The video was captured during the band’s February 24, 1998 concert at the Sheridan Opera House in Telluride. “Black Clouds” is an original written by Nershi, while “Land’s End” is a Tim O’Brien cover.
On February 27, 1999, The String Cheese Incident performed at the Walk Music Hall in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Both this concert and the following evening at the same venue were filmed and the resulting video was synced with soundboard audio, giving fans a great look at early SCI. “San Jose” served as opener and featured Andrew Barr of The Slip on percussion. Next, “Born On The Wrong Planet” gave way to a tasty jam ahead of “Work” and “The Road Home.” Then, Andrew Barr and his brother, Brad Barr helped out on “Mercy Mercy Mercy” with Andrew sticking around for the “Bigger Isn’t Better” that followed. Cheese closed out the set with a cover of Weather Report’s “Birdland.”
The beginning of The String Cheese Incident’s second set on February 27, 1999 at the Walk Music Hall in Jackson Hole, Wyoming started in special fashion. Fan Chris R. successfully proposed to Leslie F. on-stage as the band provided a soundtrack. The wedding proposal was followed by the pairing of “Suntan” and “Rhythm Of The Road.” Next, The Slip’s Andrew Barr returned for “Rhum ‘n’ Zouc” before band mate Marc Friedman also joined in for a jam on Steely Dan’s “Hey Nineteen” and a romp through “Galactic.” Another highlight of the set was a cover of The Doors’ “L.A. Woman” featuring the bluegrass standard “Salt Creek” within. SCI ended the night with a “How Mountain Girls Can Love” encore.
The String Cheese Incident returned to the Walk Music Hall in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on February 28, 1999 with The Slip aboard as opener. Once again, SCI was joined by members of The Slip throughout the evening. Cheese’s first set began with the debut of the traditional bluegrass number “Cherokee Shuffle” before The Slip guitarist Brad Barr emerged to join the band on a jammed-out rendition of “That’s What Love Will Make You Do.” Andrew Barr then added percussion to a version of “Mouna Bowa” that also featured his brother. A run of “California Rain,” “Blue Bossa” and “On The Road” led into all members of both bands collaborating on “Blackberry Blossom” to end the set.