On Saturday, the band – made of Dave Matthews Band bassist Stefan Lessard, Barenaked Ladies lead Ed Robertson, Guster lead Adam Gardner and Spymob drummer Eric Fawcett – plays a free show in Vail as part of the annual Vail Snow Daze.
It will be their first show in almost two years and the first one outside.
“We feel fortunate to get together as often as we do. We all love it,” Gardner said.
In the past, the band has had guests on stage that include actor Jason Biggs and Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider. In Vail, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready and members of O.A.R. are scheduled to join Yukon Kornelius.
“Even we’re surprised sometimes who gets involved,” Gardner said.
The band’s first show in 2008 in Vermont helped raise money for food banks and also benefited Gardner’s environmental group Reverb. Lessard described that show as an experiment, with the group not knowing each other that well.
“All of us were really surprised how much fun we were having on stage,” Gardner said. “All of us agreed it was the most fun we’d had in at least a decade in music, including in our own bands, because there was no pressure. It was purely for fun.
“I remember looking across the stage at Jason Biggs from `American Pie’ and Dee Snider thinking, `What are these people doing on the same stage with me?’ All of us still have that giddiness about it. It translates on stage,” he said.
“It was a massive party up there,” Lessard added. “We started realizing, `This is so easy and we’re having a great time.’ It was a moment.
“We were always searching to get back to that place. As a musician, you get locked into your own gig, your own bubble. ... To be able, in your off time, to experience music and have fun on stage like you did before you got locked into the larger bands you’re in now, it’s therapy in a way. It reminds you why you play music,” Lessard said. “The conversations you have with people, whether you know them or not, you can still talk to them in music.”
Band members were arriving in Vail early to ski and snowboard in the days before the show. And Gardner’s band, Guster, is set to perform Thursday for Vail Snow Daze.
The door is still open for more guests to join Yukon Kornelius, with not many prerequisites for someone to get involved.
“If they take it too seriously, they’re probably not a good fit for Yukon,” Lessard said.
Gardner quipped, “I thought the goal was to get everyone possible from every band so we could be the strongest cover band of all time.”
“That’s the dream,” Lessard said, not missing a beat. “There’s goals.”