Photo by Matthew Robbins

I’ve been a fan of Spencer Albee, 45, since the days of Rustic Overtones, when I saw that band at the Waterville Opera House in the late 90s, with Albee on keyboards. A band leader, singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Albee is one of the hardest-working artists in Maine. Since 1995, he’s toured internationally, signed multiple recording and publishing deals, and has worked with such artists as David Bowie and Imogen Heap in addition to various luminaries in his native Portland. Completing his status of self-made renaissance man is his podcast, “Spencer Explores The Universe.” I recently chatted with him about his current activities and his near future.

Q: During the pandemic, did you get into live-streaming to any great depth?
Albee: I did it a couple of times and realized that it was something I really didn’t want to do.

Q: So what have you been up to lately?
Albee: I’ve just been running to keep up, honestly. I started a record in May of last year and put it out in November, and then started another record, which I’m still in the throes of that one, and will be putting out a single in the coming weeks. It’s been basically getting the bands that I’m in together, between The Walrus doing the Beatles’ thing and also my own band, which is the band playing in Waterville.  This past week was like finals week because both of the bands had their first shows.

Q: You’ve been doing the Beatles thing for quite some time, correct?
Albee: Yeah, but we change the show every year, and between COVID and life changes, we had a bit of a line-up switch. So we had to kind of start from square one a little bit. We had to go back and get the new people caught up.

Q: About your July 23 performance at the Waterville Rocks! concert series…is this with the new band?
Albee: Well, it’s new and it’s not, in that I basically have three-fourths of As Fast As back together. Zach Jones on guitar and harmonies, Andrew Hodgkins on drums, and Alex Millan — she plays bass and sings. Then there’s a fellow named Jeff Badger, musically known as Custardpaws & Mr. Freezy, who’ll be there too, on guitar and vocals. I’ve spent some time getting this kind of newish band all on the same page. This will be the group that, moving forward, I’ll be employing to play my shows.

Q: Two working bands, writing new material, and all the other music-related things you do… Where do you get the energy?
Albee: I’m either blessed or cursed with the horsepower of someone in his 20s. I’m a doer and a worker, that’s all. I’m always thinking of ideas, and when I start them I want to see them to completion. If I’d had better time management in my 20s, I could have been doing it for longer, but it took until now to figure that out. It’s all just people skills, leadership skills — it kind of comes with experience and time. And I seem to be surrounded by excellent people. That’s really the key.

Q: Is there anything you’d like me to pass on to the readers?
Albee: Beyond my excitement to play for real, live human beings? In the before times, you had “I’m really excited about this show because there’s a new album out!” or “This is the last show before I go off the road!” But this [time] it’s “I’m just really excited to play a concert for people!” I’d love to see as many people as possible come out and have a good time in Waterville. I’ve always loved playing there, and have a very fond memory of the Opera House.

Lucky Clark has spent more than 50 years writing about music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected].

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