After 10 years of being a staple in the Baltimore rock and funk scene, The Bridge is breaking up. The band is playing its final show tomorrow night at Rams Head Live! and I talked to lead vocalist and guitarist Cris Jacobs about playing their last show, future projects, and reflecting on the past decade.
What made you guys decide to split up?
At this point in our career and in our lives, things didn’t seem to add up to justify keeping it going. We had a great run that we’re really proud of, but, at the end of the day, we couldn’t sustain ourselves as a band. After 10 years, we didn’t think that rolling the dice again and again was the right way to go. I still want to play music all the time, but priorities in life tend to dictate what you need to do to get by and live the life you want. We would still be doing it if we could make a living off of it. Even after a decade, if we were outside of Baltimore, we were hit or miss, as far as drawing a crowd and making money.
What future projects are you branching out towards?
Well I’m still playing in a lot of different kinds of configurations, like solo stuff and duo stuff. I play with a great bluegrass band, Smooth Kentucky. I also have the Cris Jacobs Band with some great, great musicians. We’ll all be out there playing. I know the other guys are playing with other groups. The drummer Mike is playing in my new band. At this point, we all still want to play, but also make a living. I’d love to play with any one of those guys, any time.
What special things do you have planned for tomorrow night’s show?
We’re playing three sets, with no opening band. So that will be close to four hours of music. We’re going to play as much as we can of our catalog—take you through a loosely chronological evolution of the band. We’ll have former members of the band come out and play. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’ll be throwing some covers in there, but mostly original stuff since it might be the last time a lot of these songs will get played. Plus, Thanksgiving Eve will be our 10-year anniversary. It’s always a good night for people to go out and see each other and that was the inception of the band in 2001. We kind of made the decision we were going hang it up and end it in style.
What have been some of your favorite memories?
Obviously traveling the world and playing music has been amazing. We’ve also had some good times playing a private festival called Black Sheep Family Reunion in Oregon. And then there’s just times hanging in the van, pulling off to the side of the road, and going on hikes. That’s going to be the kind of thing I miss the most.
How has the music scene in Baltimore evolved since you started?
I think it’s evolved in a really positive direction, and I think we might have contributed to that. In our little world, I think we brought a lot of people together to go out and see us and, in turn, to see other local bands. I think maybe we’ve helped stir the scene a little bit. There are a lot of local bands who’ve said they’ve looked up to us, but we were never really the darlings of the Baltimore music media. We were always kind of that hippie jam band playing down at the 8x10. There’s certainly a lot of pace in Baltimore, but we might have been on the outside of that. I’ve come to the conclusion that we were a damn good rock and roll band with no weird factor, so we just couldn’t capture attention. We did it our way, we were always ourselves, and I’m extremely proud of that.
[Image of The Bridge (Cris in brown): courtesy of Alicia Rose]