Les Schwab Amphitheater opens the last month of the summer with Wilco, an alternative rock band, on August 8.Wilco is based in Chicago, Illinois and formed in 1994 by the remaining members of alternative country group Uncle Tupelo following singer Jay Farrar‘s departure. Wilco’s lineup changed frequently during its first decade, with only singer Jeff Tweedy and bassist John Stirratt remaining from the original incarnation.
Since early 2004, the lineup has been unchanged, consisting of Tweedy, Stirratt, guitarist Nels Cline, multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone, keyboard player Mikael Jorgensen, and drummer Glenn Kotche. Wilco has released nine studio albums, a live double album, and four collaborations: three with Billy Bragg and one with The Minus 5.
Wilco’s music has been inspired by a wide variety of artists and styles, including Bill Fay, The Beatles and Television, and has in turn influenced music by a number of modern alternative rock acts. The band continued in the alternative country of Uncle Tupelo on its debut album A.M. (1995), but has since introduced more experimental aspects to their music, including elements of alternative rock and classic pop. Wilco’s musical style has evolved from a 1990s country rock sound to a current “eclectic indie rock collective that touches on many eras and genres.”
Wilco garnered media attention for its fourth album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002), and the controversy surrounding it. After the recording sessions were complete, Reprise Records rejected the album and dismissed Wilco from the label. As part of a buy-out deal, Reprise gave Wilco the rights to the album for free. After streaming Foxtrot on its website, Wilco sold the album to Nonesuch Records in 2002. Both record labels are subsidiaries of Warner Music Group, leading one critic to say the album showed “how screwed up the music business is in the early twenty-first century.”
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is Wilco’s most successful release to date, selling over 670,000 copies.
The Les Schwab Line-Up:
August 8 Wilco
September 4 Weird Al Yankovic
September 6 Bend Harper & Innocent Criminals