On Oct. 27, 1999, Wes Berggren, the lead guitar player for Tripping Daisy, was found dead in his Dallas apartment after a drug overdose. Less than two months later, the psychedelic-tinged alt-rock group, who had been arguably the most popular band from North Texas throughout most of the '90s as it achieved national success, was done.

Now, almost 18 years after Tripping Daisy's final performance in Fort Worth, lead singer Tim DeLaughter is at least temporarily setting aside the choir robes that accompany his role as leader of the Polyphonic Spree. To the surprise of the many fans who adore Tripping Daisy and even to DeLaughter himself, a modern-day version of the band he once led with Berggren at his side is coming back, for now. 

There's not a more fitting festival for the "I Got a Girl" band to come home to than the annual Texas-focused Homegrown Festival.

"I didn't think I would ever play these songs again," DeLaughter says over the phone during rehearsals for the group's Texas reunion shows. 

"I never thought this would be my band again. When Wes passed, a couple of the guys wanted to keep going, but I didn't think I could keep playing those songs without Wes. I just figured Tripping Daisy was done forever at that point."

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But over the past couple of years, his three children have been digging deeper into dad's recordings. "They started hounding me about playing in Tripping Daisy again," he admits with a chuckle. And after seeing the enthusiastic receptions of other beloved Dallas bands that have recently reunited -- the Toadies, in particular -- DeLaughter thought, "How cool would it be for my kids to see Tripping Daisy like this?"

A lot of people thought it was cool, in fact. With the January announcement Tripping Daisy would headline this year's Homegrown Fest, music fans bought thousands of tickets well before any the rest of the lineup was announced. 

Demand was so high that booking agents added Tripping Daisy reunion shows in Houston, Austin and San Antonio.

Announcing shows and getting ready to perform them are two very different propositions, especially when some Tripping Daisy songs are over 25 years old. DeLaughter admits it's been difficult, if not impossible, to match the level of physical energy he once vibrated with on stage as a twenty-something rock star. 

"I'm going to do my best to be that guy," DeLaughter says of a few decades back. "But I look back at some of the old performances and the high energy they took and I think, Who is that kid?"

Not surprisingly, the holes in this reunited effort were bound to be a little painful. Not only will Berggren be missing from this new lineup, but so will the group's last drummer Ben Curtis, who died in 2013 from lymphoma. Given the brotherly closeness DeLaughter felt with his departed mates, a clash of ghosts and future hopes was inevitable.

Big news: Dallas band Tripping Daisy is reuniting for Homegrown Festival in May

"Rehearsals were pretty basic at first," he says. "It was just hard to sing some of those songs because of the range and high energy. But when we started to play [1992's] 'On the Ground,' tears started rolling down my face and I was overwhelmed with emotion. I wasn't feeling especially nostalgic, but that was a real cathartic experience that made me look at all the Tripping Daisy songs in a new way."

Admitting he had "shut down the Tripping Daisy time" of his life, DeLaughter isn't ready just yet to say whether he will close it up again or keep the band intact after these reunion shows.

"I can't say 'never' about anything anymore," he says. "Because too many things I've said would never happen are happening all the time now. Until I figure anything else out, I just hope people enjoy the songs and have a good time, because that's really the point."

Homegrown Fest features Tripping Daisy, Mutemath, Lower Dens, White Denim and more on Saturday, May 13 at 2 p.m. at Main Street Garden Park, 1902 Main St., Dallas. Details here.

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