A band doesn't spend more than 20 years together, nearly all of them without the support of a major record label, without learning to pool its resources.
So when Watershed bass player/singer Joe Oestreich found out last year that Lyons Press would be releasing his book ''Hitless Wonder: A Life in Minor League Rock and Roll'' this week, the band decided release its new album, ''Brick and Mortar,'' at the same time.
Guitar player/singer Colin Gawel said, ''We could have gotten it out earlier, but once Joe got a release date, it was 'Let not overthink this. Let's kick up as big of a cloud as we can'.''
''Brick and Mortar'' is filled with tightly constructed, hook-filled power pop songs that make singing along an involuntary response. It's the kind of music that that Gawel and Oestreich have been making together since they were teenagers.
Those songs attracted the attention of Epic Records in the mid-'90s, which released Watershed's ''Twister'' in 1995. Despite the fact that ''How Do You Feel'' from that album should have been one of the biggest rock radio hits of that year, Epic dropped the band before it could release a second album.
That's the point when most bands disintegrate, its members either abandoning music entirely or splintering off into solo projects or other groups.
WHO: Watershed and The Cry
WHEN: 10 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Cedar's Lounge, 23 N. Hazel St., Youngstown
HOW MUCH: $5
Watershed perseveres, releasing several albums for the indie Idol Records and touring when they can around day jobs (Oestreich teaches creative writing at Coastal Carolina University / Gawel owns a coffeehouse in Columbus). And in addition to Watershed gigs, Gawel and Oestreich play the occasional show as part of the Buckeye Nation punk band The Dead Schembechlers.
''Brick and Mortar,'' released on Curry House Records, is the band's first studio album in about six years.
''After 20 years nonstop, we wanted to do some different things, so we took a break,'' Gawel said. ''Joe worked on his writing, and I worked on a solo career. We needed to repair some of the damage the last 20 years have done.''
When they were ready to record, they essentially cleared 10 days on their schedules and lived in the studio. The addition of Joe Peppercorn on guitar and keyboards brought a third songwriter into the band (which also features Dave Masica on drums), and his keyboard riffs are prominently featured on such songs as ''Little Mistakes'' and ''Manifesto (What I Like to Do).''
''Joe is an incredible organ player,'' Gawel said. ''But live, we're still a guitar band.''
The band has booked a month of shows to promote the book and ''Brick and Mortar,'' including a concert Saturday at Cedar's Lounge. The last couple of times that Watershed played the Mahoning Valley, it was as an opening act for The Clarks, but Gawel said this will be their first headlining show in Youngstown in several years.
But the area has been a frequent stop for the band in the past. Gawel said he vividly remembers writing ''Lonely Bones'' from his 2009 solo EP in the sticker-covered dressing room at Cedar's Lounge. And one of the final perks from Epic Records before the label dropped the band was an invitation to come to Youngstown and see Bruce Springsteen's solo show in 1996 at Stambaugh Auditorium (he got to have a conversation with Springsteen over beers in his dressing room, a story he tells on his website, www.colingawel.com).
Gawel hinted that Watershed may be entering a more active phase, which could mean more area shows.
''We're always realistic, but we did buy a van,'' he said. ''We haven't done that for awhile. We'd been renting ... We love doing it, and if we're kicking up enough dust and people are enjoying it, there's no reason we can't be getting to places as close as Cedar's once or twice year.''