As much as I love my LA bands, its time to take a break this week and get the East Coast some action on BBB. Badass Band 75 hails from Brooklyn, New York and will have you reeling in rock n roll goodness. This band is Midnight Spin.
Midnight Spin and BBB have a long history of twitter tag. They came across my feed I am not even sure how long ago, and a few months back they really caught my attention when I saw their quirky video for ‘Neuroin’. They released their newest album ‘Don’t Let Me Sleep’ back in January and Mike (vocals/guitar) reached out to me to let me know that they would be in LA at Hotel Café in late March on tour in support of the album. I was stoked; it’s not nearly often enough that I get to see bands I know of from the East Coast here in my hood. Before they arrived I made sure to really take a complete listen to their new album. Overall, it’s a compilation of just simply well fucking done rock n roll. Sure, some tracks learn more punk with insanely fast paced rhythms, some lean more on the psychedelic side, and some even have guitar that could be considered mildly metal. The bottom line is MS takes the good parts of 90’s rock and puts their own unique, dare I say ‘spin’ on it.
My first choice track is ‘Phantoms’. This track alternates between structured scratchy distortion guitar plunking combined with haunting key melodies and a hard hitting, Smashing Pumpkins-esque chorus, “Times Up, its our arrival. I’m tired of seeing the past come by rolling through the night…” At about 2:45 you get a psychedelic guitar solo that ushers in the ending beautifully. A second choice track would have to be ‘Animal’. I don’t know what it is about this song but it just grabbed me from the first guitar riff. It’s not just the guitar that caught me, it was also the use of multiple vocals in multiple styles in this tune. Its hard to describe, they go from Fred Schneider like funkiness to loud, angry punk vocals (and rhythms) during the chorus. The backing vocals echo these styles in certain parts and just give it that little extra draw. It makes this song feel like the Jekyll-Hyde tune of the album, a 60’s psychedelic tune mixed with straight punk rock. This may sound off-putting but it is absolutely killer.
Midnight Spin is comprised of Mike- Vocals/Guitar, Jim- Guitar/Vocals, Danny- Drums, Ben-Bass, and Jeremy- Keys/Vocals. Their live show blew me away. Sometimes you can hear the energy in an album but still be unsure of how it will be communicated on stage. As in, some bands either sound super energetic on an album and stand there being boring on stage, and some sound super energetic on an album and communicate that perfectly on stage. Midnight Spin is the latter. There was no mistaking the emotion and energy that pulsed from these guys on stage.
New Yorkers, DO NOT MISS Midnight Spin playing JUNE 1st, 2013 at the Gramercy Theatre! Seriously.
The guys from MS took some time to answer questions for BBB, so read on to discover how they met, who thinks auto tune should be illegal and why they need you to stop staring at your goddamn Facebook Newsfeed.
When and why did each of you start playing?
Jim- Traded in my Viola for a guitar in 6th grade.
Jeremy- I started playing piano when I was 6, mostly to have an excuse to hang out more often with my neighbor/childhood friend, whose mom was a piano teacher. I also really liked the artwork on the cover of the beginners’ piano theory book, so I asked my parents if I could start taking lessons.
Dan- I got my first snare drum in the fourth grade… the music teacher was trying to assure our parents that we would receive very proper instruction if we joined the school band, and joked that there would be no cymbals hanging from the ceiling. I glossed over the rest of the day with the image of “cymbals hanging from the ceiling” stuck in my head, and demanded to start playing the drums when I got home.
Mike- I fired it up around age 10 – got a Spanish acoustic Melody from BEST superstore in Rockville, MD. Of course I put steel strings on it because I’m an idiot. I learned Old MacDonald and haven’t looked back.
What kind of music did you listen to growing up? How does that differ from what you listen to now?
Jim- Growing up I listened to whatever was playing in the car while I rode along in the back seat. Fortunately my Dad was really young and liked 90’s Alternative music. Still listen to some of the same albums I was cranking on the discman.
Jeremy- Horribly bad pop music up through 7th grade. I got really into classic rock early on in high school, and haven’t turned back.
Dan- I grew up listening to 90’s rock – grunge and alternative mostly. I’d say it differs in that the music I listen to now mostly isn’t as good.
Mike- I was a big fan of rock radio. Pretty much ran my life from age 9 – 19, but by around then the internet had started taking over. I was also pretty deep into hip-hop in high school. Nowadays I’ll check out Spotify and throw it on the radio function so I can take a band I enjoy and see what else is out there that’s related. Sometimes you find some good stuff, some that I don’t dig as much, but it’s a nice feature.
Which musicians do you admire? Why?
Jim-I admire Bob Marley for being larger than his music, bringing people together, and writing timeless songs that will always put people in a great mood. Tough to accomplish any one of those things as a musician and he did it all.
Jeremy- Anyone who plays their instruments (and plays them well). Seems to have become a lost art form nowadays.
Dan- I think Dave Grohl is the man… I wasn’t a huge fan of the last couple Foo Fighters records, but the guy has been a badass for like 20 years now. I don’t know how he can scream like that night after night. Plus, he’s probably my favorite drummer.
Mike- Win Butler, Kanye West, Eddie Vedder, all just seem like people where music is the dominant force in their life, in an age where celebrity can easily eclipse working on your craft.
How did you guys all meet?
Jim- The internet.
Dan- Mike and I met in 5th grade, and became fast friends. By 7th grade, we were covering Green Day songs in my parents’ basement, and now we tour the country in a van doing what we love. The other 3 guys parachuted into a dumpster outside our practice space.
Mike- Dan and I were grade school classmates, then he went to Dartmouth and met Ben. I met Jer at a party in Maryland and Jim on Craigslist.
Why the name Midnight Spin? Describe your show visually & musically for those who have never been.
Jeremy- No reason in particular; the name won out by default. Visually: lots of hair and sweat. Musically: will make you bob your head, shake your ass, and chug your beer.
Dan- Our keyboard player was pretty hammered one time, around midnight, and was actually talked into playing a real life-or-death game of Russian Roulette with a pistol. How could you not name your band after that?? (Spoiler: he ended up not blowing his head off)
Mike- Just seemed to fit. We play loud, fast rock, with some nice detours to affect the pace of the show. We get the crowd engaged because we really want them throwing as much energy and volume at us as possible, it helps us be the best we can. It’s much easier to turn your head off and just be the performance when the audience is attentive and yelling and not checking their News Feed.
How does your creative process typically work?
Jeremy- Our songwriting is a true collaborative – some members more involved with instrumentation, some more with lyrics/melody.
Dan- Haha all I know is that I got locked in my room for a week last time, until I finished writing the lyrics to one of our songs. Let’s just say our creativity comes in fits and starts.
Mike- We typically start with riffs and jams and make them into melodic pieces and flesh out instrumentation, and eventually look for a good part to make a chorus sound nice. We’re pretty pop-oriented in a songwriting sense, because we want the songs to stick with you. Although I have a feeling our next output won’t necessarily be looking for the immediate payoff, we may do a bit more wandering.
What do you think you biggest break or greatest opportunity has been in your career so far?
Jim- SXSW, and the respect and coverage from Consequence of Sound. Great people, great website.
Jeremy- Biggest break: our tour van’s windshield, when Mike uncontrollably kangaroo-kicked through it while laughing at an inside joke. Greatest opportunity: June 1, NYC’s Gramercy Theatre w/Filligar, The 4onthefloor, & Country Mice.
Dan- I try to see every new day as our potentially biggest opportunity. It works occasionally… positivity and all that.
Mike- Our next show – playing Gramercy Theatre on June 1st in NYC. Its gonna be big.
What has been the biggest challenge for you so far?
Jim- Balancing the limited income a band makes with the extreme cost of living in NYC.
Jeremy- Eating healthy while on the road.
Dan- Not crapping my pants, duh.
Mike- Not having a job, at all.
What are you working on now, and what can we expect from you the rest of this year?
Jim- Music Videos for two tracks off the album, and new music as well as Summer/Fall touring and our eyes set on a trip to Europe.
Jeremy-We’re working on a few new song ideas, but mostly booking out our spring/summer/fall schedules. Rest of the year will consist of lots of touring.
Dan- Touring and more touring – that’s all we’re thinking about. We just spent two years writing, recording, and releasing our first full-length album, and it’s time for people to hear it. Our goal is 100+ shows, and we’re about halfway there. Also, the road is a blast.
Mike- Promoting this Gramercy show, and going on a college tour in the fall. This summer will be dedicated to writing, music videos, and more writing.
Why should people listen to your band? What makes you unique? If your band had a slogan, what would it be?
Jeremy- We work our asses off and create a sound unlike any other current rock band – staying true to our classic rock/early 90s influences, but with a modern feel. Slogan: “It’s all in the hips.”
Dan- People should listen to us because rock’s not totally dead… it’s just been napping and twitching for a while. We’re not indie rock, or garage rock, or hardcore, or emo, or folk-rock. We’re just loud, and have guitars and drums, and play with passion… in 2013, that’s pretty unique.
Mike- People should listen to us because we rehearse, a lot, and it shows. We’ve got catchy-ass songs that win awards and hearts. We’re a great time live, especially if you are among a crowd that has given themselves over to the experience of being part of a rock concert. Our slogan would be, “Have a good time, all the time.”
If you had the opportunity to change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Jim- Artist’s receiving a greater portion of their online streaming. Everything is free nowadays, so getting more than a fraction of a cent per play on Spotify would be a step in the right direction.
Jeremy- Make the distribution, sale, and use of auto-tune illegal.
Dan- We DO have the opportunity to change the music industry, even just a little bit, and we work at it constantly. Give us a listen.
Mike- More Bieber.
One song you never get tired of.
Jim- Erotic City by Prince
Jeremy- Foo Fighters – “White Limo”
Dan- Go – Pearl Jam
Mike- Jumping Jack Flash- The Rolling Stones
What is the best live show you have ever gone to?
Dan- Oooh tough one – as a kid, crowd surfing to Green Day in 1998 while Tre Cool lit his drums on fire was pretty incredible. Being a kid rules.
Mike- Pearl Jam, MSG night 2, May 2010.
Favorite things to do NOT musically related.
Jeremy- Gamble and watch sports.
Dan- Snowboarding, reading National Geographic, going new places, spooning.
Mike- The outdoors, video games, movies.
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be?
Jim- I think I’d want to be Kramer. He lives in NYC, never has a real job, has a hot tub in his apartment, has great style, cool friends, and always lands on his feet.
Dan- Hobbes, the tiger.
Mike- Pinocchio, once he drinks beer and turns into a donkey. Our band would be all of those donkeys.
What kind of jobs did you have before (or currently) you were in the music industry?
Jim- I paint rich people’s apartments.
Jeremy- Financial analyst. A real snooze, but pays the bills.
Dan- I once was hired to survey the irrigation system at the National Zoo. Oh man – they gave me a key that could turn on ALL the sprinklers in the park. I caused absolute mayhem there, all summer long.
Mike- We were trash men, worked at Best Buy, painted houses, waited tables, plenty of weird stuff.
If you ran Badass Bands Blog, what is one band you would feature? (Exempting yourselves of course.)
Jim- The Demos
Dan- The Chelsea Clintons.
Mike- I enjoyed seeing Ketchy Shuby in New Orleans. Throw them some love.
Find Midnight Spin Here: