Malpais, the debut of LVC Underground and the return of Greg Loftis tonight at The Waiting Room…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:52 pm January 22, 2013

by Tim McMahan,

Greg Loftis

Greg Loftis

Greg Loftis is something of a local legend. Maybe “local legend” isn’t the right word. How ’bout urban legend?

I first interviewed him in 2006 for my column where Loftis talked about his new band An Iris Pattern as well as his association with Idlewild, Greg Dulli and Tommy Hilfiger (read it here). Shortly thereafter, Loftis’ band became Malpais. And then I lost track of him. He went off somewhere out east I believe. Now he’s back — tonight to be exact, when Malpais headlines a show at The Waiting Room.

Says Loftis via Facebook: “We have been held up rehearsing and make our re-debut at the grand reopening of (The Waiting Room). We are sounding exponentially better than we ever did and have plans to tour, record and release this year.”

But in addition to Malpais, Loftis has a new band with Bret Volk (Underwater Dream Machine) and Nick Carl called LVC Underground. “It is a fantastic harmony-drenched Americana-esque affair with leanings toward Simon and Garfunkel, Ryan Adams, Nick Drake (but sonically denser), The Twilight Singers, The Beach Boys and The Brian Jonestown Massacre!!! In short, it rules.”

You can see LVC Underground’s stage debut tonight as well, as they’re opening at The Waiting Room along with Moses Prey.

While both of those stories are interesting, leave it to Loftis to outdo himself with talk of his solo record, which he says, he’s been recording at Levon Helm’s home studio, “The Barn,” over the last few months and includes contributions from Chris Robinson of the Black Crows, Steve Earle and members of The Band.

Wait, what?

“Steve lives three miles away so it’s kinda cheating,” Loftis explained. “The assistant engineer up there works with the Crows, who did a disc up there. The crazy legends that just pop in and out to say ‘Hi,’ honestly just desensitized me after a while.”

Loftis said Helm had just passed a few weeks before he went up to record, “so it was a divinely spiritual time to be recording at his house. He was most definitely there… I became a REAL singer up there honestly, and I know for CERTAIN I owe that to Levon. I was just terrified to do my first vocal takes and I swear I felt this enormous hand on my back and heard a raspy ‘Relax and sing your song, son’… and I could do no wrong after that. Ripping through 3-5 part harmonies in 1 to 2 takes a piece. Stuff I never in my life could approach doing before. Then singing with those guys around … You get a nod from a Black Crow about your Americana-styled singing and you know you can feel alright about it. They know something about it. That hippy Chris has a set of lungs that just bellow. He has all the gears.”

Loftis said he plans to return to The Barn to mix, overdub and do a couple more songs. But right now, he’s back in Omaha, and specifically, in Benson, and he couldn’t be happier.

“I am just so fantastically happy/excited/euphoric about Benson. BENSON!!! Woo!!! It was our dream before I left that it would live,” Loftis said. “I am so glad it needed not a damn thing from me to grow and come alive!!!… I feel like I left the town that was empty and on the backside of the ‘Saddle Creek national high’… and returned to find this epic, diverse creative wonderland I am sooooo down to get lost in for an extended period of time… at least get a few baby records gestating within Benson’s belly!!! Watch em’ pop out of her in the summer!”

If you think Loftis sounds exciting in print, wait ’til you see and hear him tonight at The Waiting Room. The show is sponsored by Shiner Beers, which means it’s only $3. Starts at 9.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.