The Messies - Just Enjoying The Ride
"When I was six, my parents - they bought me a little toy drum, which I destroyed within the week," says Thomas Gallmeier, drummer for Los Angeles-based quartet, The Messies. "I think the drumming just stuck with me from then. My parents were both classical musicians, and it's taken a while for them to come to peace with me being a rock musician.
They've never given up on trying to put me straight and have me get my diplomas and get a real job, but I think they're fine with it now," he adds, laughing.
The Messies were formed in mid-2003 when two kids from Foley, Minnesota, a small farming town with a population of less than 3,000 people, took a leap of faith and moved to Hollywood, California, to pursue their musical dreams. In California, these two Midwestern boys managed to hook up with a kick-ass percussionist from Germany, and voila! - instant magic. The true story of how the quartet of Kelly Kidd (vocals), Russell Crane (guitar), Shane Jordan (bass) and Thomas Gallmeier (percussionist) is, no doubt, much more complicated than that simple scenario, but the end result is this band, The Messies.
And what kind of name is "The Messies"? "I think Kelly was in Texas and was just hanging out with some people, and they got really drunk and they were leaving this bar and someone said, "Where are the messies?" So when he met the rest of us back here in L.A., it kind of reminded him of that scene, and that's where he got the name," explains Gallmeier, who makes his living as a studio musician and drum teacher. "We've always played under this name. This name's just been working for us."
In a world of smug, self-satisfied pop stars, L.A.'s The Messies are a welcome breath of fresh air. The Messies write and perform extremely likeable songs that are as fun to sit and listen to as they are to dance to, without leaving any of that icky "who do these guys think they are?" aural residue in your ears. Even the suggestive-sounding track, "Super Sexy," on their debut CD, Behind Every Scream, is more fun and playful than seductive or sleazy, with Kidd's strong and clear vocals plaintively asking a girl to pay attention to him.
The track, "Scream," is a hilariously bratty take on "speaking your mind," with lyrics about a kid telling his teacher to "bite me" and refusing to do chores around the house. The album is a romp through a slew of slightly superficial relationships destined to go nowhere and trying to enjoy the ride.
But make no mistake-just because the album is catchy, energetic and happy-sounding, this is no adolescent bubblegum pop. While it's obvious that the kids do enjoy The Messies - as evidenced by their endorsement by JoeToga.com, the nation's largest retailer of sorority and fraternity merchandise, as well as their much-lauded performances at Fountain Valley and Westminster High Schools (both in California)- they play even more events aimed at adults.
In 2003, The Messies played for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks during the Stanley Cup playoffs, while the next year, The Messies were chosen to open for the B-52's and the Scissor Sisters during parts of their Southern California tour. Currently, The Messies are being considered for inclusion on the Fox Network's The O.C. soundtracks and have been mentioned in a recent Shape magazine article about the best workout music. They're also being played on XM Radio, while MTV is featuring the band on the Laguna Beach DVD out this spring and asked them to write more for the second season. "...The Messies are in the top tier of unsigned bands out there today!," noted Stryker, KROQ 106.7, Los Angeles.
"We play really high energy, up-tempo stuff, and the CD is almost a little tame compared to what we do live," says Gallmeier about the album.
"I think that when people come to our show, they really dig the high energy and fun on stage. We don't take ourselves too seriously, and just try to create a huge party. Kelly writes really insightful lyrics, but we've got sort of a quirkiness to the whole thing where we don't take what we do too seriously. We just get up there, have a lot of fun, rock out, like I said, high energy, and just really blow people away with our great energy and fun attitudes. We've been doing really well with, you know, younger audiences, but also capturing a more mature audience with the insightful lyrics, thanks to some of the writing."
So how hard is it for The Messies to translate such a high energy, fun stage show into something that can be controlled and processed in a recording studio booth? "That's a good question," says Gallmeier. "Really, the band pretty much started with this CD, and after it came out we started playing the live shows and we were like, 'Wow, we can actually play a lot harder and with a lot more energy than what the CD reflects.' So for this next CD, the one we're working on, we're going to try to take all that energy to the studio with us.
"It's going to be sort of the reverse process that we had on the first album, where it was originally generated in the studio and writing sessions, and then the band got together to perform live. This time, we already know what works and we're just going to throw that down in the sessions and add some really moody and groovy production to it, and it's going to be absolutely great."
Considering how much success they've had with their first completely self-released CD, it's easy to see why they're planning to do things their own way the second time around as well. "I think the band has been finding its style and really the track "Super Sexy" is really sort of more where the second album will start off with, you know? So it's been sort of getting to know each other and each other's personalities and writing styles, and on "Super Sexy" it really all came together.
"It's pretty much the song that everybody prefers on the album. I mean, that's the song that all the radio stations pick and the DJs and our fans. So that's the way the new album will sort of take off from: more like really hard-hitting choruses and more moody in the verses, with loops and electronic sounds ... that I think we'll use more."
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