L to R: Gerrit Weimers, William Cashion, Sam Herring. Photo by Tom Hines
There’s a moment in “Road Dawgs,” a short film about Future Islands shot by Jay Buim in 2014, where vocalist Sam Herring tells a terrifying story about the physical toll of being in a touring band. He passed out in an airport before catching a plane to Barcelona for Primavera Sound. Medics revived him, he caught his plane, and the band played the festival. But he still punctuates the story with a sobering thought: “I thought I was gonna die.”
Future Islands have played more than a thousand shows in their 11 years as a band. That’s a lot of shows. Nearly 100 a year, in fact, in which time they’ve committed fully to seeing each one through, playing through illness, injuries, and what must be a massive pile of sweat-soaked clothes. They’re not a band that holds anything back, particularly Herring, whose animated, spontaneous, chest-beating theatrics have become the stuff of legend. As they add another 100 shows to the tally in 2017, Future Islands are intent on keeping that commitment.
“We’re coming up on 1,100 shows. And in that time, we’ve only canceled five shows, playing through sickness, injury, malaise, devastating sadness, heartbreak,” says Herring in a phone interview from Ireland. “Playing through those things, when you’re in those moments and you think you’re gonna lose your mind, the show is the thing that helps it all. You end up going out on stage and playing and getting a better sense of who you are and what your purpose is. It’s like a marathon runner continuing on through sheer force of will. But then you play... Sign In to Keep Reading