One long-running indie rock band is looking forwards and back at the same time. The Athens-based group Five Eight has been around since the late 1980s and they're getting ready to release a new album. They're also the subject of a documentary about their history and return to one ill-fated record.
The new album is “Songs for Saint Jude,” named for the patron saint of lost causes.
“That’s what we decided for ourselves as a good description of us as well as a lot of the folks we’re singing about,” lead singer Mike Mantione says.
In 2015, the group remixed and remastered their 1994 album “Weirdo,” long considered a fan favorite, but one whose recording was fraught with illness, inter-band strife and record label interference. The result was an album far removed from the one the band wanted to put out.
“It was an emotional scar for the band,” Mantione says. “And [drummer Patrick Ferguson] was like ‘we need to fix this.’ Having all four of us in the studio at the same time with [album producer] David Barbe, listening to the mixes getting cleaned up and returned to their original state was probably one of the most moving experiences I’ve ever had in a recording studio.”
Documentarian Marc Pilvinsky is capturing that experience and the larger story of the band in “Weirdo: The Story of Five Eight,” a short version of which can be viewed online.
“The interviews are super confessional,” Pilvinsky says. “And there’s certainly a lot of drama to be wrought from this story. And there’s so much more story to this band.”
Five Eight's album "Weirdo" was reissued by Chicken Ranch Records in 2015. That label will also be releasing "Songs For St. Jude" this spring. Pilvinsky says the documentary “Weirdo” should be ready for release in early 2018. You can keep up with the progress of that project on Facebook.