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LeRoy Fredrick Bach is an American musician, composer, and music producer. He has hosted musical gatherings, fostered musical collaborations, and led bands in Chicago since 1990. Bach is perhaps best known for his work as a multi-instrumentalist in the band Wilco from 1997 through 2004.
Bach was born in Chicago in 1964. He attended high school in Rockford, Ill, and spent two years at Berklee College of Music. From 1986 until 1989 he lived in Champaign, Illinois, then moved to Chicago with founders of the avant-garde silk-screen company Propaganda. Propaganda settled in the Clark and Belmont area and their live-work space became associated with the area's arts and music counterculture.
Bach was a founding member of Five Style, circa 1993. From 1995 until 2010 Bach was an employee of the Rainbo Club in Chicago.
Wilco: 1997 - 2004
Bach began playing with Wilco in 1997, replacing touring steel guitarist Bob Egan. Bach's work with the band began on tours for Mermaid Avenue; the first album he played on was Summerteeth. He contributed extensively to the albums Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost is Born, playing keys, guitar, bass, and saxophone. The group received one Grammy award and two nominations during Bach's tenure with the band.
In January 2004, Wilco announced via their official website that Bach was no longer a member of the group. The statement continued, "We'll all miss working with him and, of course, wish him the best in what comes next." A source close to the band told Billboard that it was Bach's decision to leave the group. He was replaced by multi-instrumentalists Nels Cline and Pat Sansone.
Other musical work: 1991-2007
He has played bass with the Autumn Defense, Liz Phair, Beth Orton, Diane Izzo, Dwain Story, and Vern Tonge. At the turn of the century, Bach maintained a 18-month residency at the Hideout in Chicago, with singing partner Edward Burch.
In 2004 Bach played guitar for Lookingglass Theatre Company's production of The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World. With Sonny Smith, he co-produced and co-arranged Smith's 2006 album, Fruitvale. In 2006 he was also Artist-In-Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts.
Since 2008 Bach has collaborated with artist, musician, and urban planner, Theaster Gates. In 2009, Bach and Gates set to music the poems of slave potter, Dave Drake, which were performed at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Bach is a regular performer with Gates' ensemble, The Black Monks of Mississippi, who have performed at the 2010 Whitney Biennial, the Rubin Museum of Art, the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, and dOCUMENTA (13).
Since 1994 Bach has been a regular collaborator with Chicago poet and songwriter Marvin Tate. Bach was a long-standing member of Tate's D-Settlement, and he produced Tate's album, The Family Swim. They are currently working together on an upcoming album, scheduled for release in 2013.
He played guitar extensively on the 2008 Joan Of Arc album, Boo! Human. He plays Hammond organ on the 2009 Bonnie Prince Billy album, Beware. In May 2011 Bach played guitar at the Playwrights Horizons, New York, in The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World. In May 2012 Bach played guitar with Emily Bergl for a two-week run at the Cafe Carlyle in Manhattan.
In 2011 Bach started Low Tide Dance, with drummer David Hilliard and bassist Matthew Lux. Avery R. Young has also been a frequent collaborator with this project.
Bach performs regularly in Chicago, playing original compositions for solo acoustic guitar.
In December 2012 Bach was announced as artist-in-residence at the University of Chicago, as part of their Arts and Public Life Initiative.
Notes and references
- BMI entry
- Dansby, Andrew. "Leroy Bach Leaves Wilco". RollingStone.com. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- Billboard article: "Update: Wilco Loses Leroy Bach."
- Tangari, Joe (October 1, 2007). "Interview: Iron & Wine". PitchforkMedia. Retrieved 2008-12-24.