In winter 2018, Columbus band Clubhouse set out on its most ambitious project yet: self-producing a single. But one of the greatest challenges the band faced was its lead singer’s cancer diagnosis.
Clubhouse released “Lucky Soul” on Thursday, the group’s first single since lead singer Max Reichert was diagnosed with stage 2 osteosarcoma in his femur in August 2018. After chemotherapy, surgery and months of physical therapy, Reichert has been cancer-free since April and the band is back and more hopeful than ever.
“This whole last year has been just laying the groundwork for us rolling out and reintroducing ourselves to everyone. Not rebranding, per se, but kind of a different direction,” Reichert said.
The band first formed in 2015, and now consists of lead singer and guitarist Reichert, pianist Michael Berthold, bassist Ben Saulnier, guitarist Ari Blumer, drummer Zak Blumer and new addition Forrest Weihe on keys and production.
Since being declared cancer-free, Reichert has been back on stage. The band played a few festivals over the summer, including WonderBus on Saturday. Reichert said that the metal rod in his leg has limited his ability to move around on stage, but he is as excited as ever to perform.
“We bounced back really quick. It felt so natural, so good to be back up there. I was a little nervous with my leg. Before the diagnosis I would just go crazy up on stage,” Reichert said. “But it’s just the best feeling to be back up there.”
Clubhouse’s new song was mostly produced during Reichert’s chemotherapy treatments, he said. Between his hospital stays, the band members would come over to burn the midnight oil at songwriting sessions.
Zak Blumer said the recording process was done in a home studio the band put together in his apartment, and they finished recording around the time that Reichert finished his chemotherapy.
“The song was one of the easier songs that we’ve written and I think that that’s when you know you’ve got something special — when it comes together quickly,” Blumer said. “And it all happened in this difficult but wild time when Max would come over between chemotherapy sessions and write with us, and it was pretty incredible.”
Self-producing the song was important to the band, Blumer said, because it allowed them total control over their sound and the amount of time and dedication that went into recording. Blumer said each member of the band contributed equally to the writing and recording process.
“Lucky Soul” was produced during an emotional time for the band, Reichert said, and that certainly affected the themes of their music. Still, the band has always been about unwavering optimism.
“We are kinda going at it with this attitude of just positive energy and no expectations,” Reichert said. “We’re just kinda putting out music that we love, and we’re not gonna overthink it, and we’re just gonna enjoy it.”
Reichert credited his band members with helping him through his recovery, and said their support and dedication to songwriting was what kept him going. He said the regular writing and recording sessions gave him a sense of normalcy in an unstable time.
Despite the setbacks, Clubhouse has no intention of slowing down. The band has several more songs in various stages of production, and they have several more releases on the horizon. Still, “Lucky Soul” holds a special place in Blumer’s heart due to the growth of the band members during its production.
“This song really means a lot to us in a lot of different ways. We grew a lot during the timeframe of writing this song, and not just in production abilities or songwriting abilities, but also as people,” Blumer said. “Going through something like this was difficult and it really challenged all of us to support Max through all of it, to remain creative when things seemed bleak or distressing. So, it just feels like a really big accomplishment and a really big moment.”
“Lucky Soul” can be streamed on the band’s website: clubhouseband.com.