Over the past 10 years, in one incarnation or another, Yorba Linda natives the Henry Clay People have played to fans across the country. In June, the group released Twenty-Five for the Rest of Our Lives, which contained some of the most introspective songs of their career. As they get set to return to LA's the Satellite—the site of some their favorite shows—for a December residency, the band are at a pivotal point. After these shows, longtime drummer Eric Scott is leaving, and the rest will be taking time off to ponder their future. We caught up with brothers Joey and Andy Siara, who explained their position.
After last doing a residency at the Satellite in 2009, why did you decide to revisit it at this point in your career?
Joey Siara: Having been on the road a lot, outside of a couple of secret shows here and there, we've gotten away from some of the stuff we've loved such as playing these free shows. It's a monumental fork-in-the-road moment that's causing us to be sentimental.
Isn't it a little early to say the glory years of the band are over?
Joey Siara: I don't know. We're definitely at a crossroads right now. I think everyone in the band feels that inner buzz, that "Is this it?" It's definitely a weird moment for the band, and there's something cool about not knowing what's going to happen to us next. I think because of that, we are that much more dedicated to making these December shows count and matter and have all the sentimental value they should have.
So does this mean the band are going to split, or do you just need time to refresh and recharge the batteries?
Joey Siara: I think we need time to refresh and recharge, but in that time, I think there's a possibility we're going to come to the conclusion that this is it. I'm reluctant to say that because I don't have any reason to walk away. I've enjoyed playing very much, but part of the problem we've told ourselves is when the band stops being fun, we have to bow out.
Andy Siara: I think the same thing. I think our spirits have been crushed by the music industry by large after this last record. We poured everything into it, and we stand by it, but only a few people heard it.
Joey Siara: I disagree with that. I don't think our spirits were crushed by the last record. I don't think we ever foresaw the record as being lauded or called historic by people. I think our expectations were pretty reasonable. But at the same time, you put a lot of effort into something, you want to stand by that product and look back in 20 years and be like, "I'm proud of this and want to preserve it."
Do people know this could be your Last Waltz moment?
Joey Siara: Actually, very few people that know our band know what's going on. People out there have heard us say we don't know how long the band are going to be for, and there are some people who will take this with a grain of salt. And maybe they should.
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Andy Siara: But we are losing our drummer, whom Joey has been playing with for 18 years and me for 10. That's a very real thing and something we never truly dealt with on that level before.
Joey Siara: It's one of those questions, like "Can the Henry Clay People go on without Eric?" We tried before, and it was pretty hard, and I don't know if I'm willing to try it. It's like making a pizza without flour.
This article appeared in print as "Is This the End of the Henry Clay People? December's Satellite residency could be the Last Waltz for the OC-bred band."