In 1995, it was unbeknownst to Pete Francis that within 12 years his band Dispatch would evolve from playing clubs near Middlebury College in Vermont to selling out Madison Square Garden for three nights. Dispatch, the indie jam band comprised of Francis, Chadwick Stokes and Brad Corrigan, is often considered the biggest band you’ve never heard of, with their supposed farewell concert at the Hatch Shell in Boston drawing in over 100,000 people.

Francis, aside from Dispatch, is devoted to his solo project, dubbed the “Dragon Crest Collective” named after his in-home studio in Connecticut. The project enlists Danny Golden, Paul Maddison and Kenny Shaw in a project that is the perfect mix of Francis’ indie roots and various stylings of hip hop. The Dragon Crest Collective recently put out an album that assumed the name of “Vol. 1” and features numbers such as the delightfully silly “Grandmaz” and the rhythmically forceful “King Kong.”

The Dragon Crest, Francis’ “laboratory” of sorts, allows Francis to record in his home and collaborate with local musicians such as the Funky Dawgz Brass Band, who provided horns for “Vol. 1.” As well as local musicians, Francis uses the studio as a practice space for Dispatch and a writing environment where he can bounce ideas off his band members. “I think ideas are always sort of coming and you want to be there to catch them” said Francis. “I’m working on music all day long.”

Songwriting has been integral in Francis’ music career and he describes his songwriting style as usually centering around one line and building up from there. When it comes to writing with other musicians, especially Dispatch, Francis said that the writing styles differ significantly but come together harmoniously. “Chad, sometimes, he’ll write four different possible verses for one verse and I’m like, I’m just trying to get through the verse,” said Francis. “And Brad, with his writing, he has some awesome melodic ideas and things that are musically very interesting.”

Admirable about Dispatch aside from their collaborative songwriting capabilities is their raw energy displayed during live performances. Francis said that “there is a natural energy that builds, hopefully it is reciprocated by the audience and then it becomes like a cyclone of energy and like everyone is touching it.” Dispatch heavily relies on audience interaction and involvement in their music and also in their charity work outside the music.

Both of these elements will come together for one time only this year in New York as Dispatch launches “Dispatch: Hunger,” a series of concerts that are meant to raise awareness of hunger in America. Dispatch will take the stage at the legendary Madison Square Garden on July 10 and 11 with special guests John Butler Trio and Dr. Dog. Also joining the band is the Funky Dawg Brass Band, who will play roughly two to three songs per night. “We really wanted to bring our fans together for something that we could all feel was truly ‘Dispatch,’” said Francis.

This, however, is not the first time that Funky Dawgz has taken the stage with Dispatch. The band guested at Dispatch’s performance at the 2014 Gathering of the Vibes festival in Bridgeport, Conn. with an explosive cover of “The General” and a rendition of New Orleans’ jazz staples. “We transplanted the sound of the New Orleans and just brought it to the Northeast as best as we possibly could,” said Tommy Weeks, saxophone player for the Funky Dawgz Brass Band. “Horns are coming back.”

When it comes to the future of his career, Francis is constantly working on material, both on the homefront and with Dispatch. In April, Francis said that the band recorded their first piece of music for the follow-up to 2012’s “Circles Around the Sun,” recorded in Melbourne and featuring Francis on drums, Corrigan on bass and Stokes on piano for a reggae number. A new album and tour are expected in 2016, stated Francis.

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