Last summer, The Gorgeous Hussies, an Ogden-based rock trio, were all set to hit the road for a major Northwestern tour, complete with light show and other sundry stage spectacle. The night before they were to leave town, drummer Ryan Smith injured his back.
"Two herniated discs," said Jordan Olsen, guitarist and singer for the band. "So we had to cancel the majority of the shows, and lost some momentum."
By the time the band got back at it in the fall of 2010, they felt as though they were at a crossroads.
Said Olsen: "Do we get up and go, or call it good? And we'd decided we'd had a pretty good run. We'd done four records, a DVD and toured a lot. Our sound had matured. We decided it was time to move on to the next thing."
The next thing turned out to be a jam band called Wafer -- an extension of the direction the Hussies had been moving. Wafer had a trial run one night last September, at The Sand Trap bar in Ogden. Another band had canceled and the Hussies were called on for a last-minute fill-in.
"We talked and said, 'Let's show up without a set list, and just jam for two or three hours,' " said Olsen. "Now usually, this is a disaster. But we did it -- and it was fantastic. It was so good, we decided to do a full-on jam band, a six-piece, in the vein of Phish or moe. or Umphry's McGee."
At first, said Olsen, they thought the jam band would be a side project to the main band.
"But as we went on, we decided that Wafer is the direction we were headed."
Not only was the overall sound morphing, Smith took a new job, which required a move to Provo.
"We are going out as friends, with great memories," said Olsen. "No one is upset, which is good. And luckily, we have these final two shows for The Gorgeous Hussies. We decided to do them both in Ogden -- a 21-and-over show and an all-ages show. We have two distinct crowds, and don't want to leave anyone out."
Wafer will included Hussies Olsen and John Chatelain, who is moving from bass to keyboards. They are also adding Mike Crandel, formerly of The Velvetones, on bass; Jamie Olsen, formerly of The Hard Hearted, on guitar; Byron Hall on drums; and Jeff DeWitt, formerly of Fry Sauce, on hand percussion.
"It's like herding cats, but it is so great," said Olsen. "This is the setup I have longed for, for 10 years. You never feel like, 'Ah, I wish we had keys here, or a sweet conga --now I got it."
Olsen and Chatelain will do double-time tonight, opening for Hot Buttered Rum at the State Room in Salt Lake City with Wafer, and then running back to Ogden to play the farewell show as the Hussies at Brewskis.
Said Olsen: " So that will be a crazy night for us -- but totally worth it."
Listen to "Good to Go"