1) For the sake of the argument, let's say that a very young viewer stumbles upon this blog for the first time and doesn't know who Muck And The Mires are: what would you tell him about the band to introduce the various members and also your body of work?
I’d say “Where have you been man?! We’ve been touring all over the world for like 20 years!” After shaming them, I’d proceed to let them know “Muck and the Mires have taken what the Beatles were doing at the Star Club in Hamburg and transported it to the stage of CBGBs. We’ve released 110 songs. Google us” Cause the one benefit of naming your band “Muck and the Mires” is you are guaranteed to be the first thing that comes up in a Google search.
2) About the newly released album, "Greetings from Muckingham Palace", what can you tell about the recording process? Was this a "live" in the studio recording or a track by track recording with lots of overdubs? What was Jim Diamond input in this recording?
We always record the band live and then overdub vocals and any additional tracks. It’s one of things that attracted us to Jim Diamond as this was his preferred method of recording. We’re a tight, loud rockin’ outfit and it's much harder to capture that energy when we are not all playing in the same room. The pandemic forced us to make some concessions when we recorded our EP “Take Me Back To Planet Earth” earlier this year, but Muckingham Palace was recorded before the pandemic and, after several delays, has now finally been released. We used to record at Jim’s legendary Ghetto Recorders studio in Detroit, but since it had closed, and Jim was living in France, it was more cost effective to fly him to Boston then for four of us to fly to France or try to cram in a recording session in the middle of a tour. And as a bonus, Jim got to experience one of our famous Nor’easter snow storms. We got stuck together in the studio for the entire weekend and never got show him around town.
3)As far as the recordings of this latest album are concerned, did you use the nowadays digital recording technology or do you still keep on working with analog machines in analog studios?
Both. We recorded the live band to 16-track tape and then transferred to digital for the overdubs. The best of both worlds! We rehearsed quite a bit for the sessions because there is little room for error when recording to tape. And there was not a lot of tape; the supply had run dry at the time and we had to use a reel of used tape for the session.
4) What is your favorite topic/topic that comes easily when you write a new song?
Love songs are always the easiest which is probably why there are so many out there. Just look at how many times people rhyme “heart” and “apart”, or my pet peeve, “girl” and “world” which don’t even rhyme. We’ve got quite a few songs that cover the topic, but we always try to put some effort into our lyrics whether it's the juxtaposition of of soon/late in “Too soon to fall in love, too late to turn back now” or using inside rhymes inspired by the great songwriters of the 20's and 30's. And while several of the songs on the new record are about girls, I am not sure that “Mint Condition” or “Messed Up Mary “ can really be classified as love songs. I don’t see anyone picking those as their wedding song. Although “Sunny Feeling” might make a good wedding song. It's a lot better than that stupid Ed Sheeran tune everyone was getting married to a couple of years ago.
5) To what kind of music did you listen to as teenagers and does it still influence your today work? What were your favorite bands as a teenager? Name 3 bands that you consider still have a influence on your own work today.
That’s easy. The Crickets, The Beatles and The Ramones.
6) Do you have a new video on youtube featuring a track from the LP??
Yes. We’ve gone a little video crazy during the pandemic. Since we are unable to tour, we decided the best way for us to be seen was to create music videos. We’ve done videos for half of the songs on the album; “Too Soon To Fall In Love”, “Cupid’s Not a Friend of Mine”, I’m Your Man”, “Strange Waves”, “Break It All” and “Sunny Feeling”.
7) Are there any artists in The USA today you consider yourself close to, musically speaking?
I don’t hear anything that sounds close to us on US radio. But we live close by to Aerosmith, The Barbarians and the band Boston!
8) You Started out with the Voodoo Dolls in the early nineties. Do you think it was easier to be in a
rock'n'roll band way back in the 90's than it is now?
9) You are the main composer in the band. For a new song, do you come at the rehearsal with a full demo with lyrics and music all worked out or is everybody involved in one way or another?
Muck and the Mires started as home demos I made which eventually got released on AMP records in Canada and Soundflat Records in Germany. So the live band was formed after the record came out and I’ve stuck with the process of recording demos of songs. When we worked with Kim Fowley I had sent him my home demos of 12 songs for our “Hypnotic” album. But when we got out to California to record, I discovered my package sitting on his kitchen table unopened. When we got to the studio, he reached out and handed me an acoustic guitar and said “Forget those demos…now play me your 12 BEST songs.” I’d get through maybe 10 seconds of a song and he’d yell “STOP! Next…” or “YES!” If he liked it. And he was right. We ended up replacing half the songs and ended up with a much better record thanks to him. Although, he initially vetoed the song “Hamburg Time” after hearing only 10 seconds of me muddling through it. I protested and enlisted the rest of the band to join in with me, and that performance secured its place on the album. So the moral of the story is, a demo can sometimes sell the song better than just the lone songwriter. And this also helps underscore the reason I surround myself with people who are better players than me. As flattering as it is when the band sticks to the demo version , it’s equally rewarding to watch the songs evolve and come to life as we play them and collaborate.
10) Since many years now you are DIRTY WATER recording artists. Is this the label that suits Muck And The Mires the best? And if so, why?
Indie record labels are like bands. They have their own followings and style and personalities. When Dirty Water and Muck met by chance at the roulette table of the Gold Coast Casino in Las Vegas it was definitely a gamble that paid off big for us. We hit it off right away in terms of musical tastes, sense of humor and work ethic.
11) What are the plans for 2021 as far as Muck And The Mires are concerned?
We are really hoping that 2021 sees a return to live music cause we are SO ready to hit the road.
12) Anything you wanna add?
Buy our new album. Buy our old albums. Don’t be like that kid in question one and wait five more years to discover us!
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