The following is a mini interview of generic questions that we posed to all bands that wanted to answer:
The Tragedy of Mariam Interview - (Mike Bennett, guitar)
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1. How did you get your band name? The Tragedy of Mariam is actually a play written by Elizabeth Cary. As badass as it would be to say that we picked the name because we are all feminists and this is the first work by a woman published under her own name; it’s actually because we just thought the name was very cool. When 5 guys come together to make a band, naming it is a huge part of the initial rush. We really just couldn’t decide on a name until we saw the book sitting on the shelf.
2. How did this band get started?
Nate (bass) and I (guitar) started playing a few years ago. At the time, I literally JUST bought a guitar because I wanted to learn, and Nate played drums. He came into the video store I worked at and saw me practicing guitar behind a counter (Employee of the Month right here) and asked me to start a band. We found a group of guys (who actually knew what they were doing) and jammed once in awhile. By the time the other guys decided to leave, I had become good enough to start taking it serious. Nate and I found our other guitar player on some local community musician website, and found a dude who could actually play the drums. Since officially naming ourselves TTOM, we’ve been through 1 vocalist and 2 drummers. I can now say fairly confidently that the current line up is now the permanent line up.
3. What bands are you influenced by?
Everyone in this band will tell you different things. I always find questions like these hard to answer, because I feel like it becomes just naming bands that everyone listens to. In the sense of what bands influence the way we write music, I think a safe list would probably include; Foo Fighters, blink -182, Matchbook Romance, Finch, and Mayday Parade. Although our drummer would cut me if I didn’t say Cannibal Corpse, Metallica, and Slipknot.
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would it be and why?
I’d love to tour with bands that not only I could learn a shitload from, but also bands I would love to stand beside the stage and just watch them every night. Muse, the Foo, and blink would be my big 3. Then it would definitely be Jimmy Eat World, The Gaslight Anthem, Brand New, The Starting Line, and Alexisonfire. I’d LOVE to tour with Jay-Z and KISS as well.
5. If you were a furry, what animal would you be? Why that animal?
I’m not really into this whole furry fandom thing, so I’d have to say a cat. That way, I could have a badass excuse for sleeping all day and getting attention without working for it.
6. Why should people listen to your band?
Because we’re making music! That’s the point of it. I think we’re worth listening to just to see if you dig it. Being completely biased, I think we have a unique sound. Unfortunately, our new sound isn’t represented that well on our myspace. We’ve taken a new direction musically, and we really believe in our new sound. If you check out the myspace and like it, then just wait until you hear the non-pop-punk stuff.
7. If you were chosen to be in Guitar Hero/Rock Band, what song would you want in the game? How hard do you think it would be to five-star on expert?
I would have to say a song we have with the working title “poolmonkey”. It’s very punchy with some sweet guitar fills. The singer will have fun with it and the drummer will sweat their ass off. I’m assuming it’d be a challenge to get a 5-star on it on Rock Band, on GH it’d be easier because I can barely play my instrument.
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
I would totally make it a drawn out speech that everyone is silently begging for it to end. Actually no, I’d thank my mom first and foremost (she still travels to all of our shows, and has hardly missed any), my buddy’s family who lets us jam at their house, and God for creating all opportunities.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
This question will be answered from the perspective of really knowing shit about the industry. I’d lower the cost of everything. Recording, producing, mixing, mastering, printing, etc. I think if the costs for everything were lowered, then albums could be sold for less money, making it less likely for people to download music illegally. Also, I’d want more tours with a crazy diversity of music. I’m talking shows with metal, punk, rock, hip-hop. I think people would be into music they’d never expect to like if they just got exposed to it properly.
10. Memorable tour experience?
We did a tour that ended in Montreal, Quebec. Coming from Windsor, Ontario, we had about an 11 hour drive home. Not really knowing much about booking shows, and being broke as hell, we were playing shows and only asking for enough money to pay for gas to the next city. If you are doing that, then it’s probably wise to book at least one or two shows to break up the 11 hour drive home in an old beater van that eats gas. You would think. So we played the show in Montreal and only had $70 at the end of it. We added up our gas receipts and realized we were going to need about 300 extra dollars to get home. We decided to drive downtown Montreal and play acoustic in the streets to make money to get home. We found an alcove at the Hugo store on Crescent Street (bar district) and literally played from 10pm – 4am. We had three acoustic guitars going, our bass player banging against the wall with a hard hat for percussion, and a buddy using a megaphone to attract people. Not shitting you at all, we had that whole section of the street shut down in 20 minutes. The sidewalk was crowded, people were watching us from the other side of the street, people were getting out of their cars and dancing in the street. We even had cab drivers and people across the street throwing money at us. It was the best crowd reaction we had gotten the whole tour haha. By 4am, we had made enough money to get home; we literally raised 300 dollars playing random acoustic covers. It was the lowest and highest point of musical life. Lowest because I’ve never actually had to beg for money before, and highest because I will NEVER forget it, and because we met our goal. Whenever I hear the songs we kept playing that night, like What I Got or Drift Away, I have to laugh.
11. What does AP.net mean to you?
It’s the promised land man. Really it is. Not only does it give me ALL the information on the bands I love, but it can single-handedly make or break a career. I’m totally not even kidding. The amount of pull this site has on whether people dig a band or hate a band is unreal. If you read through the comments and discussions objectively, it’s very clear. I really think this site is one of the main reasons this entire genre of music is so tightly knit. People interact with each other and the bands they like all the time. There’s really no other reason why whenever I see a band, I feel like I already know them personally, just by interacting with them on this site. It really breaks down that wall that used to exist between artists and their fans. It’s a machine man, this site is a true monster.
12. What is your favorite song to play?
Of our own, I’d say “So Much for 110%”. To cover, I’d say “Everlong”. On the acoustic guitar, definitely “Drift Away”.
13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
Vegas baby, Vegas. I love that city. Mostly because whenever I’m not in band mode, I love looking money and going out clubbing. It’s seriously a huge secret side of me. HAHA. There’s really no way to make it sound cool either. I also get a new tattoo every time I visit the city, so it’s cool in that sense too.
14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
My mom used to listen to 50s music A LOT, as well as Dr. Hook, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cat Stevens, and any and all Motown, so that’s always a big trigger for me. When it comes to my own choice in music, bands like blink -182, the Offspring, Green Day, the Wallflowers, Counting Crows, and the Mighty, Mighty Bosstones.
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
I’d want to be able to turn invisible, or have x-ray vision, because I’m a pervert apparently.
16. Do you feel that your band has "made it"?
Locally, yes. In general, no. I don’t think we’ve even cracked the surface yet. I can only hope one day we’ll be playing across North America.
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
Besides the weekend clubbing thing, I’d probably say the fact that I’m a massive nerd. I love school. I have 2 university degrees.
18. What's your favorite holiday?
Christmas. Family, food, and snow; what’s not to love?
19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Volunteer at different organizations. I’m a volunteer addict. I volunteer at like 6 different places.
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
I can throw up on command. I can read people really, really well. And I’m shockingly good at driving around in reverse.
Reading this made me really love this guy. He seemed much nicer and his answers were much better than most of these interviews. I'd give his band a shot just because I like him so much. 1997 could use a lesson.