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Interview with Misery Lane
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
My dad tried to get me into playing when I was young, but I was more about sports then and didn’t want it. I wish I had. It wasn’t till I was 18 and in the Marine Corps that I really got into learning. There can be periods of downtime in the military, and I used that time to teach myself to play. I have never had a lesson I just play what I feel and what I learned from books and magazines like Guitar World. Of course, all this was before the internet. If I would have had YouTube back then I would be a phenom now. LOL. I believe music would have found me no matter what. It’s a calling. Just like being a Marine. It’s not something you can just turn on and off.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When I’m not playing, I’m usually spending time with the wife and kids. They are my world. I also like to write poetry, essays, novels, etc. I’m a published author. My book “Asylum” is available for download on Amazon. I think life’s experiences, both good and bad, influence the music and the mood of the day is the fuel for that creativity.
How long has your band been around?
The band started back in October of 2020. We have all been in music for years, but this crazy thing called Misery Lane is still young.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We are based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The beautiful thing about the Michigan music scene is that there are quite a few local bands and every one of them brings something unique and we strive to add our little piece to that puzzle.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
The name came to me one day when I was driving around for work. I was in a rural part of Michigan with a lot of dirt roads and the sign on one of them was handwritten and it just said Misery. I added lane and the name was born. I think the idea of a “Misery Lane” is something everyone can identify with because we have all spent time on our own Misery Lane.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
I can think of two that really stand out. The first was the day I got married. We got married before a show right around Halloween, so it was a costume wedding and I got to combine the things I love. My love for my wife and my love for music. I got to share the experience with some other local band friends, and it turned out to be a great show. My wife and I still look back fondly of the pics from that show which you can see on our Facebook or on the website miserylane.com The second would be in a previous band. We were in a battle of the bands and part of the requirement was we had to cover a song of our choosing. We picked While My Guitar Gently Weeps by the Beetles but instead of doing the same old bland cover, I changed it to be a heavier rhythm with a music stop right before the solo and then boom a blazing solo in your face which dropped right back into the song. One of the judges said before we played, he thought to himself that we shouldn’t have picked that song because it’s one you just don’t mess with but after we played, he said that my changes just blew him away and he was thoroughly impressed. That always makes you feel good as a musician.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
My favorite place to play in Michigan would be the Music Factory in Battle Creek. The owner Jeff Harris is a friend, and he officiated my wedding at his venue that I mentioned in the previous questions. He is good at balancing the use of local talent and bringing in touring acts. Smaller bands get a chance to play in front of people that they might not be able to normally. I would love to play at Harpo’s or the Machine Shop. Bucket list venues.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Any line up. Hmmm. I’ll go with living performers. Misery Lane opens. Then Killswitch Engage, followed by Bullet for My Valentine, then Slipknot with Metallica rounding out the night.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
The biggest advice I could give would be don’t quit. Quitting is easy. Music is not. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. If it were then everyone would do it. Something I would tell my younger self is never lose the passion.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
I don’t think I would go back in time and give myself any advice because if I did then it would change all the experiences, good and bad, that I have had and isn’t that the real meaning of life….to live.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
All our songs mean something. You Are Not Alone is just trying to let people know exactly what the title says. True Colors is about seeing the real side of people. Behind the Mask is about the masks we wear every day. Where Did You Go, I wrote after my fiancé died several years ago, but the song with the most meaning now is One Red Balloon. My wife is a huge horror fan, especially Pennywise the clown, so I wrote her a poem from the view of Pennywise. The idea behind it was what if Pennywise fell in love and instead of roses he just gave One Red Balloon. I turned that poem into the song.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
My favorite songs to play live would be True Colors, Liar and Just Go Away. They are a lot of fun on guitar, and I like to put on a show. One Red Balloon is our most often requested song.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
I write most of the music and lyrics for the band so let’s say I will write the “skeleton” of the song and then send it out to the guys and see what they think. Do they like it? Does it sound like us? Is it something they want to work with? From there everyone will add their little piece or idea and the song is made. Currently I mix and master all music for the band because having that done can be expensive.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Our messages I believe are things that everyone can relate to. Whether it be something angry, sad, questioning, whatever. What we won’t do is bring politics or religion into the music. No matter where personal beliefs fall in either category its too easy to isolate fans and we want to bring people together not divide them anymore than they already are.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Disagreements are just part of being in a band. A good friend once said it’s harder to be in a band than it is to be married. At least when you’re married it’s just two people’s opinions going at each other. A band is usually 4-5 people and if they all don’t agree on something it can really hold up progress trying to get everyone to agree. I believe that’s one of the main reasons the guys let me write the “bones” of the music so that there is less to argue about.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We are currently working on music for the third album so keep an eye out for that. Hoping to have that done and out by March/April of next year. I guess the biggest thing we have coming up now is that we are opening for Drowning Pool Aug 13 at the Diesel in New Baltimore, MI. That should be a great show!