I come from a pretty strong jazz background, where improvisation is the norm. Kyle has been more into rock his whole life, but a very creative side of rock. And he has this incredible memory... an ability to remember just about everything he, or someone else, plays, even days and weeks later. So he's always got song/jam ideas brewing in his head.
We wanted STN to be more of a "song" band then a "jam" band, and our CD represents that, but I think live it's good to stretch a bit. It gives the audience a chance to hear something brand new, even if they've heard the band several times before, and it gets us both charged up to play our set, and relaxed as well (strange, but true).
Crosstown Traffic is a real jam band... they tend to pick songs (mostly classic rock and jazz standards, played with a hip hop beat) that allow for stretching after the melody has been played. Everyone in that band is a creative soloist, so it's a lot of fun, and you can tell it works with the audience, as they've been together for several years, and people still come down, excited to hear something new and fresh.
Mmmmm... now yer talkin'. I've always liked great song bands. And, I've always liked great jam bands. And, you are kinda like that ole' Saturday Night Live skit:
Actor 1 - "It's a floor polish."
Actor 2 - "No, it's a desert topping."
Narrator- "No, it's both."
You are both. That's what I was thinking, too. But, instead of doing it in different bands, why not have one band that is both? What if a band improvised jams that were also songs... with lyrics, and meaning?