When I joined Miss May I, I did exactly what I had done with my other bands. I assessed where the band was when I joined, set some goals, and then did whatever I could to achieve them. However, this band was different than the others, because the band had something interesting about it, something new that I had not had before, a secret weapon if you will. Miss May I had …. a Levi Benton.
In my other bands everything had been mostly me working the business side and figuring things out as I went. Getting shows on favors, buying a PA system to be able to put on shows myself, even making a deal with a local “sports and video games” place called Forever Sports to let me keep bringing shows in even though they hated them, all for a cut of our bands money and a chance to play. With Levi’s design skills I knew we had yet another piece of the puzzle to help us along, which was picking up ground on social media, and spread our little wings.
The bands buzz in Dayton was great, it was the reason I left my old band to join, and the reason Miss May I was asked to play with all the touring acts at the Attic. Our band simply had it’s own fan base, and guaranteed local promoters ticket sales, allowing them to keep the low drawing touring acts happy, and thusly pay them, making their agents happy, and getting the venue more bands and gigs. I was quickly learning this system and knew if we had any chance of branching out we needed to have this ability all over our surrounding area. So I hit the myspace pages hard! I blasted out everything you could, show fliers, bulletins about tunes with players for play counts, REAL counts I will add. It was always my goal to push us into new places, and do it legitimately. I never wanted to be the band who shows up with a reputation for a crowd and the crowd never comes.
As the focused spamming on Myspace slowly kicked in, coupled with Levi’s awesome work on the visual side,the fan numbers, and places the band was wanted grew drastically. My first show with Miss May I was literally a party in someones driveway, before a homecoming dance that 4 of the 5 band members were attending afterwards. 7 people watched us, and by the 6 month mark of Levi and I working hard on the online promotion we had begun playing as far away as 150 miles, and were even getting gas money!
We had even begun networking with signed acts from our area like Woe of Tyrants, who were an unbelievable metal act from close by. We would trade shows at our home venue for gigs at theirs, along with making friends with promoters along the way all throughout Ohio. We even had a van since Jerod’s mom got him one for a xmas gift one year. It was the local band dream.
The gigs were there, the people were starting to show, and it was time to hit the studio for the first time as the band we had become. In 2008 amidst the chaos of multiple members in high school and full time work for myself and BJ, we made the time to write and record 3 songs in Dayton. The songs we wrote were Tides, No Need To Whip A Dead Horse (Porcelain Wings), and Arms of the Messiah. These 3 songs would be the catalyst that helped break us out of being one of the locals, to one of the lead locals. All of the sudden every local metal festival had us near the top, we had our own tee shirts, and had even honed our own unique stage show. We were banned from a few venues for selling too many tickets and inciting “dangerous behavior”, and no longer had to purchase tickets to sell for the chance to play with the touring acts. All is well right? No reason to leave such a great situation …… and again, just like last time, THIS is where it gets complicated!
I’ve been wanting to do some blogging, so I figured I would start with the beginning. I have a habit of talking way way too much and adding too many details so I’ll try to keep this short and sweet!
I get asked how Miss May I came about and how we got started a lot. That question is a little tough for me since I wasn’t there in the beginning ….. let me explain:
In late 2005, just before finishing high school I joined my very first band. This band was a “metalcore” band, something I had never heard of, full of screaming, double bass, and heavily distorted guitars playing breakdowns. I joined the band and did my best to learn the ropes quickly. I became the leader of the group behind the scenes, handling the scheduling, promotion, and direction of the band with my friends, playing as many shows as we could, and having a good time playing small clubs and VFW style places in Ohio. After a bit this wasn’t enough so I left that group and joined another local act with my now best friend, and Berklee student Sawyer Schneider. Sawyer was 15 and a guitar wizard, while I was 18, and business driven. The combination made for a powerful local act that rose very quickly in Dayton, playing with all of the great local bands and eventually …. introducing me to the dudes in Miss May I.
After performing as an opening act for Miss May I at their EP release show at the Gathering Grounds in Dayton in the summer of 2007, I became friends with the then group of 16 year olds. The EP “Vows For A Massacre” was a very dark sounding set of songs with an evil, minor quality that I loved, blended with the riffing style of my favorite metalcore acts. It was only a matter of time before my band, Behold Eternity had hit it’s peak in my eyes, so I began working on my entry into Miss May I.
Before I could seal up a spot in the band I enrolled in community college, as a “just in case” policy. I believe I actually attended 2 classes before I just stopped going. I bugged Levi via myspace, and after a few weeks of messaging, and sending a demo of a song featuring me singing from my very first band, Levi and the guys finally wanted to see if I would be a fit in the band. He actually had to call me on the house phone at my parents house because I didn’t have a cell phone yet. So in the fall of 2007 I officially joined Miss May I for the FIRST time, and we began our ascent of the Ohio music scene, and from there it gets complicated. To be continued!
Also a follow up on my Simon Kenton post: Blue Jacket isn’t the reason the Hockey team is named the Blue Jackets. Blue Jacket was a Shawnee war chief. The Columbus Blue Jackets get their name from the fact that the Union army had a uniform production factory in Columbus. So the Columbus Blue Jackets = Civil War Reference, not a reference to Blue Jacket (or Weyapiersenwah).
I felt the need to clarify this because I love Hockey and Jackets are my team. kthxbye