The Good Life, Courtesy of Saddle Creek Records
Members of The Good Life are, from left, Ryan Fox, Tim Kasher, Roger Lewis and Stefanie Drootin. (Courtesy photo/Saddle Creek Records) The Good Life, Courtesy of Saddl

Tim Kasher is still trying to make that record. After six years, three full-length albums and an EP with The Good Life, the mellower of his two bands (the other being Cursive), Kasher hasn’t done it yet.

Now, he’s not saying the band’s work isn’t good music, but in his head there’s a melodramatic promised land of sorts, and The Good Life isn’t there yet.

Maybe it never will be.

“I think with The Good Life, my impression of it is that we’re still kind of chasing down this concept, or this idea of a record that we’ve been trying to achieve since ‘Black Out,’” Kasher said. “We keep taking stabs at it. I don’t really know what the ideal is and I probably never will, and it’s probably better than way.”

Nevertheless, the band will try again. Yes, it’s been over a year since The Good Life last played together. No, the band didn’t break up. Yes, they almost quit for good. No, Kasher isn’t working solely on Cursive now.

Amidst all the tabloid-esque rumors surrounding the band, The Good Life survives. The group — Kasher, guitarist/instrumentalist Ryan Fox, bassist Stefanie Drootin and drummer Roger Lewis — last played in December 2005, but took a break while Kasher focused his energy on Cursive and “Happy Hollow” in 2006 (which also was preceded by rumors that Cursive would break up soon).

Now the band is returning to the stage for a three-night litmus test of new material, with two Omaha shows bookending a performance tonight at Knickerbockers, 901 O St.

After that, Kasher’s “side project” returns to the studio for a new album tentatively set for release next fall.

“We’re just finishing writing and we’re recording in January, and over these three shows, we hope we can get a feel for it,” Kasher said. “At least we can pressure ourselves to play the songs well live and muster some kind of feedback as to which songs work better for people.”

The Good Life hasn’t performed in Lincoln in almost three years. It’s a fact Kasher lamented, given the fact he used to be so connected with the scene when he lived in the city in the mid-’90s.

But Kasher calls himself a member of a different generation of musicians — that of Mercy Rule and Sideshow — and he’s lost contact with the newer crowd.

“I feel kind of bad and I feel a little out of touch with Lincoln,” he said. “Omaha and Lincoln used to have totally different scenes but we all kind of worked together.”

It’s been hard to keep up, Kasher said, but he will play with the Mercy Rule reincarnation Domestica tonight and is looking forward to reconnecting with the generation he worked with.

The two bands will play wildly different sets. Simply put, Domestica is loud — The Good Life is not.

That’s a conscious decision on Kasher’s part. He makes an effort to keep the punk-rocking Cursive and pop-rocking The Good Life different.

With its sad, lamenting melodies and heart-felt pop tunes, The Good Life has always made music for the lonely drunk and the drunken loner. While the band’s music can be energetic, it’s rarely out of control, and that’s not going to change with a new record — that record still needs that kind of music, according to Kasher.

“Even as I’ve been working on these songs, we continue recognizing when they get out of hand and get a little wilder, and we have a tendency to hold them back,” he said. “We feel the subtleties are what the songs are about.”

It’s a challenge at times to manage two bands at once, and Kasher said that’s the reason his bands take such long hiatuses. He likes to focus on one band at a time.

For fans of Cursive, that doesn’t necessarily mean the band will disappear again soon, but it will mean his attention will shift as he tries to write and record an entirely different project.

Kasher said he’ll probably start and end 2007 with The Good Life. But no matter the group, he said, he’s writing for albums instead of bands or singles.

“The last handful of records I’ve done for both bands, I’ve started the process of writing specifically for a record,” he said. “Over some given year I was writing songs for (2004’s) ‘Album of the Year.’ And some of them probably could be Cursive songs, and some Cursive songs could be Good Life, but I didn’t really worry about it, as long as it fit the record.”

In Cursive, Kasher said, he’s always strived for dynamically different records. With The Good Life — and its upcoming album — the music remains constant in style and form, because of that nagging feeling about achieving his idea.

So will this new record finally be that record?

“We’ll never know,” Kasher said. “Maybe what I’m hoping eventually is we can become content with what we’ve done and then move on into something else.”

Reach Joel Gehringer at 473-7254 or jgehringer@journalstar.com.

If you go

What: The Good Life, Domestica, The Golden Age

Where: Knickerbockers, 901 O St.

When: 9 p.m. Friday

Admission: $8, 18 and older

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