I don’t need a lot of words to tell you how I feel about The Love Me Nots…I love this band and everything they do, I rate them high on my list of all time garage bands, how high, alongside The Detroit Cobras that’s how high. I could never do a critical review of them, it would just be full of words like love, cool. awesome, rad, kickass and so on. I am thrilled to just be a small part of this and I hope you enjoy the music and the interview as much as I do…..
For those not that familiar with the origins of The Love Me Nots, can you tell us the story of how you all met .
Michael: Jay and I were playing together in a band called The Sonic Thrills, a great but dysfunctional band that couldn’t build any momentum because
none of us wanted to handle the business side of music. We’d get our shit together, get some people involved to help us out, and implode shortly
thereafter, this happened frequently over an eight year period and during one of the downturns, I decided to put a side project together. I searched for
a local female singers because I was really into Boss Hog at the time and came across Nicole’s band at the time, Blue Fur. I went to see her band a few
days later and fell in love with her voice and stage presence, so I hit her up about doing a band. She wasn’t available at first, but after a few months I
got a call that she was ready to make some music. We played briefly with my long time friend PC on bass and drummer Phil Rhodes from the Gin
Blossoms and when that fell apart, Nicole and I asked ourselves, “what would be the ultimate lineup?” the answer was Christina and Jay. Christina was
playing bass for The Madcaps, and was known for being a great musician and badass in general. Jay and I have been friends for years, and we really
connect musically, so I asked him if he wanted to do a side project with me. He declined at first, but when I told him we were going after Christina, he
said “get her, and I’m in.” The Love Me Nots are born.
You have mentioned The Animals as a big influence on the band , what made the Animals stand out so much?
Michael: That voice! Eric Burdon is, in my mind, the greatest white R&B singer of that era, nobody can touch him. Hilton Valentine and Alan Price were
spectacular as well, the voice, the fuzz, the organ, it all just worked. There were a lot of great, raw garage bands of the time that I love too, but the
songs and sounds of The Animals were a huge part of the sound of the original LMN.
Nicole: It’s hard as a keyboard player to find inspiration. At least it is for me. Keyboard players always just sound and look so…static and still and
serious. So when I first heard Alan Price’s blues riffs on the jaguar organ, layered with Burdon’s voice, I was instantly transfixed. A lightbulb went off in
my head. We bought an old farfisa organ on ebay and never looked back.
How has the sound of The Love Me Nots changed from The 1st Album to the new album that comes out in November?
Michael: The first two albums In Back & White and Detroit were the original lineup, they were made in under five days each from tracking to mixing and
mastering by Jim Diamond of Ghetto Recorders in Detroit. The were basically recorded live and were very raw sounding, but at the same time, really
cohesive. We rehearsed the hell out of those songs and went to Detroit ready to knock the tracking out in two days. They’re our most “Garage” spirited
records and the ones the fans seem to gravitate to most. Upsidedown Insideout saw the addition of drummers Vince Ramirez and Bob Hoag and
bassist Kyle Rose Stokes. The band was heading in a more pop direction at this point and with the addition of the new gang, the sound changed. The
album was recorded by Jim Diamond at Bob Hoag’s Flying Blanket Recorders in Mesa AZ, and that also contributed to a different outcome sound-wise.
For The Demon and the Devotee, Jay returned on drums. We had grown quite a bit musically and wanted to make a more polished, pop based record.
There’s still lots of fuzz and chaos, but the songwriting was being influenced pretty heavily by the bands Nic and I were listening to at the time and
some electronic elements were starting to creep in.
Nicole: We’ve played a lot, toured a lot, written a lot, scrapped a lot of songs, and recorded a lot of different styles since we first met. There are so
many ideas swirling in our heads all the time. LMN took a little break in the past couple of years and writing these songs kind of felt like coming home
again. Back to the cozy, noisy, hot garage. It feels really really good.
What is the name of the new album and can you tell us a little something about the songs that will be on the album?
Michael: The new album is called SUCKER and is a return to the original lineup and sound that launched LMN. SUCKER was recorded and mixed by
Bob Hoag, and mastered by Jim Diamond, and is our first album that wasn’t tracked with Jim, but between the mixing and mastering, I think we
captured the spirit of the old LMN sound.
Nicole: Some of the songs were written awhile back, some were even written originally for other projects and sounds, but most of the songs on this
record came to us like a microburst in the few months before we started recording. The songs are a bit snarkier than the ones on the last record. A
little rougher. In a good way.
You have worked with Jim Diamond before , can you tell us a little about what it’s like to work with him , what’s the process look like from idea to record?
Michael: Working with Jim is always great, we’ve really come to trust his ideas and ear. Jim’s studio is a fabulous disaster! It’s a very comfortable room
that allows you to relax and not be intimidated by what you’d find in a typical high end studio. Ghetto Recorders is aptly named for sure, it’s currently
housed in a former Detroit war zone and it looks like it, but if you want to record in a room with a magical sound and work with a guy that leans
toward a more raw, vintage sound, Ghetto is the place.
Nicole: To Bob’s credit, there is nothing easy about recording a band that has always worked only with the same guy since the band began! Not to
mention that he is also the drums with us in LMN and our other side projects regularly. So he had a lot of ideas of his own about what he wanted the
new LMN record to sound like, plus he had to work with all of our ideas that had been building up over the past couple of years. Then you bring
Christina back into the mix and fly Jay in from Brooklyn and… well let’s just say Bob put it all into his magic blender and came out with something
we’re all really psyched about.
How have you managed to juggle your work outside of the band and for those who are new to The Love Me Nots can you tell us a little about those professions you have managed to be successful in while you lived the dream of rock n rollers at night.
Michael: I did graphic design for years and finally got fed up with the corporate world so I’m a full time employee of Atomic A Go Go Records,
handyman and “soccer dad”.
Nicole: Except that neither of our kids play soccer. Whatever. I’m still holding down my full-time job as a judge at a city court on the outskirts of
Phoenix. Michael and I are also busy with session playing, raising twin teenagers, writing and recording with two rock side projects (which is like
having two more adorable but noisy kids), and trying to keep up an old house. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Life is incredibly rich right now. Not
in a financial sense of course – it’s still the music biz.
Why do you think you’re so big in Europe and how is playing in Europe different then playing in the States?
Michael: There seem to be a lot more fans of music being played by humans in Europe than in the USA, they’re also not burned out on “Rock music”
and really appreciate when a band comes to town and guts it out for them. The fans, the venues, the sound, the food, all contribute to making touring
Europe something we really look forward to.
Nicole: We owe virtually all of our European exposure to our label in Paris, Bad Reputation Records. They treat us so well. We were so lucky to find each
Jay: I walked right by a busload of French tourists the other day and none of them seemed to recognize me. Even after I told them who I was. So, I
don’t think I’m as big in Europe as I used to be.
For all the kids out there who are playing their hearts out to 10 people a night what kind of advice can you give them?
Michael: Keep working on songwriting and getting good sounds. Keep playing to 10 people until it’s 100 then 100,000 if you’re lucky. I imagine very few
people want to play to 10 people a night, but it still happens to us once in a while. Do it till your head tells you to do something else, you may find you
like living without huge debt and emotional stress.
Nicole: Just pretend that every one of those 10 people in the room is going to post your show on youtube right after the set. Play like you’re playing to
one million views. All the time. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Bonus: you’ll become a better musician in half the time if you keep
pushing yourself as hard as you can.
Jay: Try to play venues that hold more than 10 people.
Christina: play for yourself and enjoy it no matter how many people are watching. Isn’t that why you play music? For your enjoyment.
Who are some of the current bands that you would like to tour with and that you find yourself listening to?
Michael: Nick Cave.
Nicole: Ty Segall. The Strypes. Fitz and The Tantrums. Sleeper Agent. Leopold and His Fiction.
Christina: Nick Cave, Black Belles, Chain and the Gang, Pink Mountaintops, Black Angels, Holly Golightly.
What does your tour look like in the fall and winter and please tell me you plan on visiting us in Florida.
Nicole: We’d love to get to Florida, we haven’t toured there yet! So far the Fall tour dates that are coming together are in the southwest and the
northeast. Probably because three of us are in the Southwest and Jay and our manager are in the Northeast! But we are always, always looking to get
to new places. You never know what locations will crop up on our calendar. Really hoping to get to Japan one day.
Jay: There’s a good chance we’ll be living there soon in a retirement community.
For each of you , could you tell us three albums that you have worn out the grooves on.
Michael: Oh man, that would take forever, off the top of my head lately:
Die Antwoord – Donker Mag
The Bob Seger System – Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man
Alicia Keys – Girl On Fire
Nicole: Sleigh Bells – Treats, The Makers – Howl, The Ettes – Shake The Dust
Jay: Eric Dolphy – Out To Lunch, Sparks – Kimono My House, Eugene McDaniels – Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse
Gun Club, Fire of Love
Nick Cave-No More Shall We Part
The Cramps— all of them! The Make-Up-destination Love
The energy of the Love Me Nots is out of this world , how do you do that night in and night out?
Michael: Playing with Nicole, Christina and Jay does that for me, and a little Tequila doesn’t hurt.
Nicole: How do we do it? How does everyone else NOT do it? Life is short, you better turn it up and dance around while you can.
Jay: By having Bob fill in for me when the band plays 10 person capacity venues. And using holograms.
Christina: Nicole said it all.
What are a few of The Love Me Nots songs that you love to play live and why?
Michael: I like the loud ones.
Nicole: Broken, because I like to watch the reactions of people who haven’t heard us before when they hear it. They think it’s going to be just another
slow blues drone and, well, it isn’t. And the songs off the new album, because performing new tunes is always a deliciously challenging, nerve-
wracking, potential train wreck. Especially after that tequila Michael mentioned.
Jay: Broken is also one of my favs. I actually prefer our slow jams live. It’s great to have all of that space between the notes. It gives us the opportunity
to improv and play off of each other. And I love hearing Nicole sing these songs. She totally owns them.
You can stream these via Spotify….
you can/should pre-order the new Album “Sucker right now…
Pre-Order Sucker, Atomic A Go-Go
and you can follow/keep up/Like The Love Me Nots…
thanks to The Love Me Nots for taking the time to talk with us!!!!