Mike Huberty Lead Vocals, Bass, Synths
Ben Jaeger Guitars, Piano, Vocals
Wendy Lynn Staats Drums, Vocals, Violin
Here’s some quotes about the band from Mike Huberty…
A little history...
Ben (Jaeger, guitarist) and I started the band in junior high school in the early 90s. We were really influenced by the great guitar bands like Iron Maiden and Van Halen. We wanted to write songs that had grand epic themes but that also could be fun and relatable, that you could sing along to. Then we really gelled with Wendy Lynn Staats (our drummer) in college over great alternative bands like Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer. We all wanted to make music with a real visceral edge, sounds that you could feel deeply with strong guitars and big choruses, but tracks that also meant something. Songs that told a story of something that we believed. We just kept on developing from that and assimilated more of punk rock into the sound and lately we’ve been fascinated with how to integrate more electronic sounds into what we create.
And we never, ever want to sacrifice hooks. Sometimes you listen to an album that everyone told you is awesome and it takes 10 listens to appreciate it. That’s cool but we love pop music and the feeling of everyone in the room singing along to a song, to feel the words and melody so much that they want to sing themselves. Even when we get experimental, we stick to the pop structure because we hope that at the end of 4 minutes, people will understand the message we’re trying to deliver and those hooks will make them remember it, even when we’re dealing in some more esoteric metaphors.
Latest string of EPs…
Instead of albums, we started last Fall with a series of EPs, number one so that we could get more music out with less amount of time between new songs, but also because we want the freedom to evolve. We started working with a producer out of the Milwaukee area, Eric LaBrosse (THE HEROES LIE and MARASHINO), who has a real knack of being able to discover that emotional energy inside the songs and help translate that into sound without sacrificing any of the hookiness that we’re looking for. And working with a few songs at a time, we can try a bunch of different things. We’re well into our second decade of performing together and have played nearly a thousand shows all over the country, we never want to repeat what we’ve already done. It’s all about bringing something new to the table with each release. And by bringing the schedule down to a new release every few months, we’re able to experiment and have more fun.
In 2008, we released a new song and music video every month for a year (eventually compiled on the album, Singularity.) That was awesome, but it was a really intense schedule. It was a great way to experiment and keep our audience engaged constantly, but sometimes with the deadlines we couldn’t make it an awesome product, this is about keeping that going, but on a timeline where we can ensure that each release is the best that we can deliver.
We go with a lot of fantastic or science fiction themes because sci-fi is something we all love, but it’s also a quick way to establish a connection with the audience. It’s imagery that a lot of our listeners understand. We can use these metaphors to hook people into using them to discover a truth about ourselves. Arthuriana, (which is the study of King Arthur and Arthuriana legends), our first in this series of EPs, was about the obsessions that we allow ourselves to distract us from the things that hurt. Archaeopteryx (the first discovered winged dinosaur, the missing link between dinos and modern birds) was about the generation gap and the struggle to find your own identity.
The new release, Dangerous Times, is about good people doing things they know are wrong, associating with toxic people, and the balancing act that comes with looking the other way and sacrificing a little bit of your morality. It’s a savage precipice and it’s easy to lose your footing.
These are heady themes and the trick is to make them accessible with hooks. To make something beautiful out of something painful or when it’s something joyous (like partying on one of our new tracks, “In Vino Veritas”) to amplify that emotion. Even when something is deadly serious, we try to find the humor in tragedy, because that’s how you cope, that’s what music can do.
We’re always looking for a story hook, something that makes us different, something to stand out. The truth is, that we’re basically three well-adjusted people who play nice songs. Nobody’s ever been an addict, we don’t even argue that much (but we certainly can disagree!) But that’s not a story, the story is that we’ve stuck through the past 18 years of performing together because we love illuminating truths about the human existence, we love poking holes in artifices, and fighting to discover the emotions evoked through music that bring us all together. We just love getting into our van and driving into a town and playing for a room full of maniacs.