It was their dad's idea.
Seriously, that's how Dan and Matt Wilson finally came around to booking shows together in Minneapolis and Chicago this weekend, 16 years after their band, Trip Shakespeare, packed it in, and seven since they were last onstage together. Their father suggested they do something. Dan's wife came up with that exact something: an acoustic duo concert.
"It honestly never really occurred to us," Matt said, "probably because both of us -- since a young age -- we always wanted to be 'in a band,' like the E Street or Beatles. We've had other bands, just not together."
After his Semisonic went on hiatus in 2001, Dan carved a path as a for-hire songwriter and producer, and he was tied up for several years with his 2008 solo album "Free Life." Said Dan: "My head probably wouldn't have been in it if we'd done this sooner."
Matt said he feels like he has "more to bring to the table now," following last year's acclaimed album by his new group, the Twilight Hours, which he formed with Trip/Semisonic bassist John Munson.
After years of fielding questions about any sibling rivalry, Matt, 46, and Dan, 48, believe these two concerts could provide something of an answer. However, they didn't specify if they're hoping to clear the air -- or settle the score.
ABOUT THAT SIBLING RIVALRY
Dan: Any band dynamic without sibling rivalry is hard enough to keep in peace, and bands sort of become rivalrous anyway. I think doing a duo show will take us down a notch, so it's just the rivalry any two musicians would have onstage together.
Matt: And this has a kind of rebirth feeling to it. So I think the rivalry has sort of bled out of it. But we are human, and we are ambitious in what we do. We got that trait from our dad.
THEY DON'T OFTEN PLAY TOGETHER
Dan: It's mostly just been carols at Christmas time.
Matt: In a lot of ways, I think there was a lot of self-definition going on, so we intentionally haven't gone to each other a lot. But we've worked together on specific call-ups.
Dan: Matt sang on some Semisonic songs and played some keyboard on "Free Life," and I played things on his "Burnt, White & Blue" record. But it's not like McCartney showing up at Lennon's house or jam sessions together.
NOT EXACTLY THE SAME CLOTH
Matt: Growing up, we had Springsteen, Elvis Costello and Police as kind of our common, epic influences. I was a little more into the Velvet Underground, who Dan didn't like, and Dan leaned toward fusion, like Chick Corea.
Dan: Then we had the stuff our parents played, namely the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel. We didn't pick those influences. They were just there.
FAVORITE SONG BY THEIR BROTHER
Matt: My favorite music experiences are always when I feel like I want to cry. "In Another Life," which is a Semisonic song that John sang, was one of those songs. Dan has a few of those. "Act Naturally" is also moving like that.
Dan: My favorite of Matt's right now is "Alone" on the Twilight Hours record. It has the teary kind of feel, too, but it also has something I always like, which is simplicity. It's just a pentatonic scale, three chords, and yet, wow!
WHAT ABOUT MUNSON?
Matt: John's not even getting on the guest list. He's going to have to pay. It's time.