Indecision decides: 20 more years if they can stay alive

David Ibbeken's the one in the red shirt.
PUBLICITY PHOTO

What better way to end a Friday's season then with an epic Charlottesville musical institution? For members of the nearly twenty-five-year-old Indecision, the opportunity to play the year's final Friday's After Five is a most appropriate gig.

"We've had a few times where we've opened the season, so it's cool that we're the ones closing it down," says guitarist David Ibbeken.

Firmly entrenched in the history of the Charlottesville music scene, Indecision is truly a home-town band, originally formed of two Western Albemarle High School graduates and two Charlottesville High School graduates. The first gig as a full band was in 1984, making Indecision one of the longest-running bands in town.

"Being able to stay friends is the key," says Ibbeken of the band's longevity. "If you can't get along with each other, you can't play together."

Growing into their niche as a band under the wings of early 80s Charlottesville dance rock bands, such as the Casuals and Skip Castro, Indecision– often playing with the likes of Phish, the Neville Brothers, and Widespread Panic– took over the town's musical reigns later that decade.

"When they ran their course," says Ibbeken, "we were just getting started, so we picked up the torch and carried on."

As a regular on the local music scene, Indecision comes from a generation where live music was a staple, rather than a luxury, but Ibbeken worries about the future of live and local.

"In the late 80s and 90s, college-aged groups tended to come out and see live music," he says. "Today, my perception is that the drinking age makes it a hassle."

Despite the age and experience of the rockers, Indecision has managed to stay on the forefront of technological advances with a full-fledged Facebook page, participation in various downloading sites, and music on live music sites. But it's still about live music.

"As a musician, if you continue to play, you'll get better at what you do," Ibbeken says. "One of the reasons we continue to play is because people still enjoy it– we're as good as we've ever been."

After performing at 2003's Bonnaroo ("it's what I thought Woodstock would have been," Ibbeken muses), Indecision has hit the small-music festival scene up and down the East Coast. Recently selling out a show in Charleston, SC, and generating the usual buzz around its annual Friday's performance, Indecision shows no signs of slowing.

"It's been a long, fun ride," says Ibbeken. "Hopefully, if everyone can stay alive for the next twenty years, we can play twenty more years together."

Indecision performs at Fridays After Five on 9/12. The Mark Miller Band opens.