With The Good Life scheduled to tour
through this winter and beyond, and with no plans for Cursive in
the immediate future, word began surfacing that Cursive's hiatus
had become permanent. Kasher was quick to dispel the rumors.
"I love those guys too much to not do it anymore," he
said of Cursive. "Right now I feel good about getting away
from it and just working on different stuff. I guess what's gotten
harrowing about the rumors is that we refuse to say when we'll do
it again; it seems too loose-ended. Saying 'We'll get back together
a year from now' is too much of a deadline for us. One of these
days we'll get back together."
Kasher said the pressure to follow-up on the success of Cursive's
last CD, the highly acclaimed The Ugly Organ, is another
reason for his reluctance to move forward with his other band.
"I want to preserve what we've worked on for so long,"
he said. "When I write another Cursive record, I want to make
sure I really believe in it. I don't what the cloud over my head
where I second-guess my motivation."
In fact, Kasher doesn't want listeners to think that anything he
does is motivated by money, fearing the perception that he's been
corrupted by "money wrapped in songwriting." That said,
no one is more interested in his bands' success than Kasher, who
eagerly seeks out the latest Soundscan numbers as soon as they're
available. Despite that, he sees songwriting and commerce as two
very different worlds.
"I consider the practice of songwriting to be fragile, and
I don't want it to become corroded by money," he said. "Anything
to do with money will ruin it."
It's that attitude that many believe has kept Cursive and The Good
Life firmly planted inside the artist-friendly confines of Saddle
Creek Records instead of on a major label. Kasher knows that his
personal ethics would be an ill fit in a world where commerce always
"I don't even worry about that," he said of major label
dreams. "When it comes to songwriting, I would never compromise.
If I was signed to a major label, I would let them sue me before
that would happen. I would wait tables before allowing something
to compromise my credibility as a songwriter."
And, he added, he knows that a decision such as putting Cursive
on hiatus would never be tolerated by a major. "The hammer
would come down," he said.
Instead, Kasher's happier doing business with friends. "The
way I see it, major labels represent the temptation of job security.
Saddle Creek has done so well that at this point in my life I wouldn't
consider leaving them. I'm fortunate to be involved in an independent
business with friends that are also independent."
Being independent also means being able to do personal projects.
After The Good Life finishes a tour of Japan in early November,
Kasher plans to continue work on a project with singer-songwriter
Todd Grant. A local legend of sorts, Grant released Strangled
Soul on -Ismist Records in 1995. He went on to front Lincoln
band Compost before dropping out of the music scene altogether.
"Todd's a good friend and a role model," Kasher said.
"Roger (Lewis) and I have been working on this for a while,
and we plan on putting some stuff together in the studio in November
or December. It's Todd's songs with me and bass and Roger on drums.
I'm pretty excited about it. A lot of people are just happy to see
But other than the Grant project, Kasher said he'll be spending
most of his off-tour time just chilling at his apartment. Known
as an insatiable road warrior, Kasher has become somewhat comfortable
with life off the road.
"Roger and I were saying how excited we are to come back home
and just go to the grocery story and stock the refrigerator,"
he said. "I look forward to just having an apartment and being
able to watch an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm while I
watch pasta boiling."
An abridged version of this article was published
in The Omaha Reader Oct. 20, 2004. Copyright © 2004 Tim McMahan.
All rights reserved.
Photos by Bryce Bridges.