STRIPPED DOWN with George Maurer and Special Guest: Nathan Nesje

Sunday, May 7th, 7:30 PM
Main Stage
$19 Advance, $22 Door


STRIPPED DOWN with George Maurer and Special Guest: Nathan Nesje

STRIPPED DOWN with George Maurer
With Special Guest:


Sunday, May 7, 7:30 PM
Main Stage
$19 Advance, $22 Door

They started by making beautiful parodies together and morphed into one of St. Cloud’s favorite bands, Collective Unconscious.

 Now, Collective vocalist/rhythm guitarist Nathan Nesje and pianist/host extraordinaire George Maurer will take the stage au deux for the November installment of Maurer’s “Stripped Down” series.

 Nesje will play some tunes and tell some stories from his musical past, which includes a lot of choir and musical theater, plenty of piano and copious exposure to vocally driven groups like the Beatles and Beach Boys. “It’s almost like I had an autopilot track to be a vocalist from my early youth,” he says.

 And of course, he’ll have some tales to share from 15-plus years with Collective Unconscious, plus his musical youth in Stillwater. “There’s a couple of particularly interesting stories when some of those influences came together simultaneously.”

 Nesje and Maurer met in the late 1990s  when Maurer joined the Shake A Hamster Band, the merry band of punsters who write and record song parodies for KVSC 88.1-FM’s annual 50-hour trivia contest.  Nesje was the original Hamster, eventually joined by Muggsy Lauer, then Jeff Engholm and then Maurer. They formed Collective Unconscious in 2000 to perform Engholm’s solo release, “Summit Climb.”

 “I got to grow my hair out and be a guy in a band again in my 30s, and it just kind of went on from there, all the Collective stuff,” says Nesje, an IT specialist by day.

 Collective went on to perform show after sold-out show of  their live renditions of classic rock albums like The Beatles’ “Abbey Road,” The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Déjá Vu and joined forces with the Fabulous Armadillos for the “Takin’ It to the Limit” Eagles extravaganza and “Takin’ It to the Streets” Doobie Brothers tribute.

 Nesje sets Collective Unconscious’s tempo on his rhythm guitar and contributes the low end of the vocal harmonies for which he, Lauer and Engholm are known. “Jeff is on the thinner buzz, Muggsy threads the middle and I give it the fat bottom,” he says.

 Maurer, a Minneapolis-based pianist, composer and producer, launched “Stripped Down” in October 2015 as a venue for letting Pioneer Place audiences get to know their favorite musicians in an intimate setting. Next up: Mary Jane Alm in December.