True believer

By MATT ASHARE  |  June 4, 2007

“That’s just our own competitive psyches,” says Corrigan. “And that’s the cool thing: we come from that perspective, all three of us, where we’re always trying to be better. I feel like I’m not a conventional drummer. None of us knows who’s the lead singer. But when we come together, we’re a whole. I mean, three brothers want to be separate individuals. But they are still brothers. So in a way, we really haven’t broken up because, in a way, it goes on.”

Those are the words of a band who passed on signing a fat contract because it didn’t “feel right.” Corrigan continues, “I think what took precedence was that the success of the band couldn’t make us stay together just because we were successful. We wanted to stay together because it felt right. And it just didn’t for those last couple of years.”

“Looking back on it now,” Heimbold weighs in, “it was probably a healthier thing that we decided to stop playing together, because I don’t think events like ‘Dispatch: Zimbabwe’ would have happened. I think if we had gone to a major label, if we had gone that route, we would have broken up and maybe it could have been over — over for good.”

Not that there weren’t plenty of people advising them to cash in. “It was kind of a divided camp,” Corrigan recalls. “There were a lot of people on the outside who were telling us, ‘Maybe you should just fake it. Maybe you should sign the big record deal. You guys have earned it.’ If we had done that, I think all of us would have this weird bad feeling associated with the decision, there would be this tarnish on what was a beautiful thing and started in a really simple way.”

If Heimbold’s words don’t resonate with the same romanticism as Corrigan’s, that could be because, working solo under the name Pete Francis (his first and middle names), he actually did go the major-label route, releasing Untold in 2003 on Hollywood. The experience brought him more in line with Corrigan’s way of thinking, though for purely pragmatic reasons. “I found that my arms were a little too tied. And it took too long to make decisions. Although it took a long time to make decisions with the three of us in Dispatch, it wasn’t nearly as long as that.”

While Corrigan moved on from Dispatch to do his own indie thing under the name Braddigan, Urmston started the more overtly political band State Radio, first releasing an EP on the local Fenway label and then, in 2006, signing to Nettwerk for the full-length Us Against the Crown. And for a time, it appeared that Dispatch were indeed done. But the three friends kept in touch. And as conditions in Zimbabwe continued to worsen, even Heimbold was drawn to the idea of reuniting for “Dispatch: Zimbabwe.”

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