Cole Wallace remembers his stint in Gwen Stacy as "one big good time."
The Indianapolis metalcore band, active for most of the '00s, toured coast to coast and internationally multiple times and released two full-lengths at the height of their genre's popularity.
"The fact we got to meet really cool people, hang out with them constantly and build relationships outside Indiana ... whenever we'd go to a different state we'd have that," Wallace says over beers at a Fountain Square bar. "It was awesome to have that, and we still do. And just the experience overall, getting to do something we all wanted to do and didn't think was possible. We made it happen and worked really hard for it. We got to where we wanted to be."
Alas, as is common with touring musicians, there were bad times too. Like when they had $3,000 stolen out of their van in an L.A. grocery store parking lot. Or when they had to sleep in their van in a Walmart parking lot in Compton when a band member's girlfriend thought they smelled too bad to stay in her apartment.
There were enough setbacks, including numerous lineup changes, that Gwen Stacy called it quits in 2010. They made an already booked show at Rhino's in Bloomington their last that November. Drummer TJ Sego, who founded the band in 2004 with bassist Brent Schindler, had already left six months before. Wallace, their lead vocalist, had been kicked out and replaced by Geoff Jenkins, who ultimately clashed with Schindler.
"And we lived together, so that wasn't very cool," Schindler says. "We just decided we'd rather be friends. The band had definitely run its course."
But after four years of dormancy, Gwen Stacy is getting back together for one more blowout.
The show, 7 p.m. Saturday at the Irving Theater, will include Schindler and Sego along with Wallace back on the mic and guitarists Patrick Meadows and Josh Rickard. Guests include Once Nothing from Pittsburgh, Jenkins' new band Speedgod and Deadera, which includes ex-Gwen Stacy guitarist Matt Strahl in its ranks. Tickets are still available for $10 at the door.
The band raised just over $1,500 through an Indiegogo campaign to help cover expenses, since they're staging the performance themselves. Plans include having a keg, since many of Gwen Stacy's fans are older now.
"We're just making it like a party," Schindler says. "It's more fun to make it an event rather than just, 'Oh, we're playing a show.' It's been a long time. Let's make it a big deal."
Indeed, it's been years since these five have played music together. Those attending Saturday's reunion can expect some deep cuts, including songs from their first EP. Their boilerplate brand of impassioned breakdown metal will be in full force for at least one more evening.
"It'll probably be the longest set we've ever played," Meadows says, adding rehearsals have so far felt natural. "It hasn't been a big effort to make things come together."
Rickard was the one who long agitated for Gwen Stacy to reconvene. Bandmates remember exactly when he texted about doing this gig – 5:48 a.m. on Jan. 11.
"I just wanted one more time to be with my brothers and enjoy the music we hadn't played together in forever," Rickard says.
It's not finally occurring because Gwen Stacy happens to currently be one of the most famous comic book characters (the band chose the name thinking her to be obscure) or that fellow Indy metallers Haste the Day also recently got back together.
"The only reason this whole thing's coming together is because relationships have mended over the years," Schindler says. "It's like why not? It's been a long time."
Adds Meadows, "This will provide closure and cap things off in a nicer way, especially with so many friends playing at the show."
Closure and cap are the operative words. This reunion has been advertised as a one-off performance and has continued as such.
"There hasn't been any talk of having it progress any farther than that," Schindler says.
Even if Gwen Stacy decided to do more, it would have to be delayed. Schindler currently attends school in Minnesota.
"It's been enough stress just finding time to practice, let alone making a new record and touring on it," Wallace says. "We all have lives and jobs now. I guess we'll play this show first and see if anyone gives a shit."