On March 6, jam quartet Formula 5 announced that after seven years on the road, they were taking an indefinite hiatus.
“Playing music for all of you has been, and is, the most soulfully rewarding experience we could have ever imagined,” they wrote. “Never in our wildest dreams would we have pictured all this. We thank you, truly, for all the love we have received.”
Formed in Upstate NY – specifically, the Albany/Lake George area – in 2012, Formula 5 had grown out of the same region that birthed established jam acts like moe. as well as newer outfits like Aqueous. Interestingly, in the past year or so, F5 had been making strides in their career: opening for the Disco Biscuits at Albany’s Palace Theatre, debuting new music and announcing their third annual Rock The Dock festival.
Yet, according to keyboardist Matt Richards, the grind of the road became too much.
“You’re away from home so often,” he explains. “You’re away from your family, your loved ones. You’re away from another source of income. And after a couple years, that definitely takes a toll on you.”
Calling his Albany home, Richards dives deeper into why Formula 5 are taking a break and confirms that the split is nothing but amicable.
“I would grab beers with all of them,” he laughs. “I love them, and they all feel the same way.”
Can you give an abridged version of Formula 5 formed?
So, Greg Marek, our drummer met our original bassist Bill Shada in line getting tickets for Phish at Times Union Center in 2009. So, they start playing music together, and they brought Mike McDonald onboard as the original keyboardist, and soon they brought Joe Davis on as guitarist. Over time, it led to both Mike and Bill leaving – starting families and pursuing other life goals – and brought me and James Woods, our current bassist, onto the team.
That was 2016. I’m the newest member of the band, and we started playing shows just us four in January 2016. But in June or July of 2015 was when I first started playing with them behind the scenes, studying the songs, studying the music.
How and when did the conversations about taking a touring hiatus start?
These conversations started coming up around late November. We just got back from Colorado, and then we just performed at the Palace Theatre opening up for the Disco Biscuits. The conversation came up because we’ve been doing it for a couple years now, and just felt that we accomplished a lot more than we ever thought we would. It was a great feeling, but it kind of felt that we needed a break and we deserve to take some time off, and pursue other goals for now both within music and personal life goals.
Speaking of the Palace, some people were surprised that you were taking a hiatus because you had debuted new music at that gig, and just released that show as a live record. Did you know about the hiatus when you played the Palace?
No, that came up after.