Lake Street Dive find themselves on the cusp of stardom, though they insist they will always be the same people whose stage outfits once consisted of matching sweater vests. "We realize this could all go away tomorrow," says Rachael Price. "But that won't change what we do. We want to continue to do this for a long, long time. This is what we love. We just want to make sure we keep enjoying ourselves."
Lake Street Dive have been performing for nearly a decade after meeting as fellow students at the New England Conservatory in Boston. The band was hand picked by Minneapolis trumpet/guitar player Mike Olson and named after an actual neighborhood of seedy bars in his hometown. Vocalist Rachael Price came from outside Nashville, Tennessee, stand-up bassist Bridget Kearney was an Iowa native, while drummer Mike Calabrese called Philadelphia home. "I wasn't only impressed with their musicianship," says Olson, who acquired the nickname "McDuck" while at the conservatory for his reclusive ways. "They were also a lot of fun just to hang out with. The first four years of rehearsals were more like glorified dinner parties." Lake Street Dive has come a long way, but this just could be the start of something even bigger.
It took a casually made video featuring the band gathered around a single mic, performing a cover of Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," shot on a Brighton, Massachusetts, street corner to grab the public's attention‚ its YouTube views now hurtling past a million views. What followed was nothing less than a modern-day music business success story‚ Bone Burnett tapping them to perform on the Another Day, Another Time show at Town Hall featuring music from and inspired by the Coen brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis, taped for an upcoming special on Showtime. The New Yorker raved of their Town Hall performance: "I can't imagine then, that Lake Street Dive quartet led by an amazing young singer, Rachael Price‚ won't be getting some air time soon." Rolling Stone called the band "unexpected showstoppers," while Hollywood Reporter noted the group "delivered one of the show's best moments with the swinging 'You Go Down Smooth,' with stirring vocals by lead singer Rachael Price." The New York Daily News was similarly enthused, saying Lake Street Dive "was the evening's wild card," and noting Price "has the
soulful howl of a young Etta James."
And just like that, Lake Street Dive went from playing for a small devoted following, to selling out venues and planning an initial European tour, with dates on several late-night TV shows in the offing.
While "I Want You Back," a track from their six-song Fun Machine EP, which included five covers and an original track, was spreading like wildfire on the Internet, the band had little idea what was happening. They were ensconced at Great North Sound Society, a recording studio located on an 18th century farmhouse in Parsonsfield, Maine, two hours from Boston, with producer/engineer Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter) a location so remote, cell phone reception was spotty and web access non-existent. The new album, Bad Self Portraits, which is being released by the Northampton, Massachusetts indie label Signature Sounds Recording as the follow-up to a selftitled debut and subsequent EP, is a microcosm of Lake Street Dive's evolution of the band from "a weird alt-country jazz group to a pop-soul juggernaut, that turns '60s."