A mighty comeback for Senators singer

November 15, 2007|By Sam Sessa | Sam Sessa,Sun reporter

Last year, Landis Expandis felt creatively drained.

After about 20 years as the lead singer and drummer for the local funk rock group All Mighty Senators, he was running low on subject matter for lyrics.

"I couldn't come up with anything, and the stuff I did come up with was very sophomoric," said Expandis, whose real last name is McCord. "I didn't know anything else to write about."

Then came Expandis' bout with pneumonia, which left his kidneys permanently operating at only 10 percent. He underwent dialysis and received a kidney transplant in late July.

Now, a revitalized Expandis has a stockpile of songs ready for the rest of the band. The full band will be back on stage Saturday at the Recher Theatre. And this time next year, they may have an album of new material, Expandis said.

"I've had a lot of experiences this year socially and physically," he said. "Now the lyrics are just moving."

The Senators started practicing once a week last month, after Expandis had recovered his stamina. Since then, they have discovered fresh nuances in some of their old songs, said guitarist and singer Warren Boes.

"It's been cool to take a new look at songs we've played hundreds of times," Boes said.

In the two decades they've been together, the Senators have toured the country plenty, playing with acts such as Busta Rhymes and O.A.R. They've also released more than 15 albums.

Even though the group seriously scaled back its touring schedule in 2006 to focus on family life and nonmusical jobs, it still played on a regular basis until Expandis became ill this year.

"I'm not a particularly religious person, but being in the band and having gigs was going to church for me," Boes said. "Then all that stopped."

Instead of performing, the band came together to help support Expandis. During the time he was on dialysis, Expandis had little energy and napped often. Boes -- and Expandis himself -- feared the worst.

"I was coming to terms with it -- with my own chapter being over," Expandis said.

But now, at 43 with a new kidney, Expandis has a renewed outlook on his life -- both physically and musically.

"Now that I feel that I've been spared, there must be a reason for it," he said. "I think this might be the most exciting chapter of all of them."

sam.sessa@baltsun.com

All Mighty Senators, the Kelly Bell Band and Jah Works perform Saturday as part of City Paper and Record & Tape Traders' 30th Anniversary Party. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10; $13 for those younger than 21. The Recher Theatre is at 512 York Road in Towson. Call 410-337-7178 or go to rechertheatre.com.

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