Andy Smith is the leader of ME TIME. He is also one of XL427's biggest fans. Andy Ingram and Andy Smith shared a chat and here is the result. We want to re-run this fun interview in advance of Andy Smith's solo slot at Communivale 2015.
AI: Andy, you are known in Dayton for the many bands you have fronted or spent time in, ANDREW + THE PRETTY PUNCHERS, KINK ELK, and DEAR FAWN. So what brought you to start another band with ME TIME?
AS: Well, I didn't know I was known for being in a bunch of different bands. There was something different going on with each one. ANDREW + THE PRETTY PUNCHERS faded out as quickly as it faded in. It was my first time singing for people and kind of my introduction to music. As the story goes, I got drunk one night at J. Alan's downtown. When I overheard the bartender complaining that they had a band cancel for the upcoming Saturday show, I told him that I'd play it, even though I didn't have a band. I called some of my closet friends and, sure enough, that Saturday we played as Andrew and the Pretty Punchers. We just kept playing after that because we clicked so well. We stopped playing because of life. My cousin Kevin, who played lead guitar, was getting married. My buddy Greg (rhythm guitar, piano) was in school at OSU, and Josh, on bass, was going to be moving to Brooklyn. KING ELK also just kind of ran it's course. I was getting pretty rotten drunk all the time, and it just wasn't an enjoyable situation after a while. DEAR FAWN was fun as shit for me, but that was Tifani's (Tanaka) baby and she wanted to be less rocking. And I can't drum very well. So I started ME TIME as a recording project with some guys from my previous efforts and, like the rest of the bands, it just sort of snowballed. We've hit a hot streak. Basically the long and short of it is, I can't shut up. No matter what happens with the people I'm playing with I can't stop writing songs. I love everybody I've played with over the years, but I just can't stop when I don't have a band. I keep writing and I've been fortunate enough to be able to find great friends to keep playing with me.
AI: Me Time Vol.1 releases soon. Who recorded and played on the album? And who is playing live with you?
AS: Me Time Vol. 1 is being released May 10 at Canal Public House in Dayton. The main ME TIME band is me (songs/ singing/ guitar), Kyle Melton (lead guitar), Josh Wickersham (bass), and Elliot Ward (drums). Tyler Bellinger (KING ELK, BABE ALERT) played some organ and piano. Kent Montgomery (THE NEW OLD FASHIONED) sang harmonies with me. And Derl Robbins (MOTEL BEDS) played the guitar solo on "Baby, It's Me" and mixed and mastered the EP. The initial recordings were done by Kyle in his basement that he refers to as The Whole. When we play live it's Kyle, Josh, Elliot, and myself.
AI: Your songwriting has always had a 50's-style aesthetic to it. Me Time seems to make that more obvious with the structure, guitar tones, and way more reverb than I remember. Is there a certain reason for that style?
AS: I love that you hear that 50's aesthetic. There is a reason for it- that's where my heart is. If I had it my way I would be Del Shannon or Curtis Mayfield fronting The Impressions. Melody is everything to me, with passion being a close second. Those old love songs, from Motown, Stax, and even the bubblegum stuff, just move me like nothing else. Now along the way I've picked up a love for folk, country, and indie rock, but that 50's/early-60's influence has never left. I mean seriously, listen to Lou Christie sing "Lightnin' Strikes" and try not to get goosebumps on the chorus. That shit is hot. Huge chorus! Mad Passion! (Side note: Del Shannon is one of my Top 3 most underrated songwriters of all time. He has 15 songs I'm mad I didn't write.)
AI: Who is releasing Me Time Vol.1 and what hopes do you have for it?
AS: Gas Daddy Go is releasing the ME TIME EP. It's a no brainer. I play with Kyle. Don (Thrasher) is the best dude ever. They do good work. I just hope people dig it and sing it to themselves when they wake up in the morning and think "why is this in my head?" while they're brushing their teeth. The week after the release show, May 10, we're going back to The Whole to do another EP and a possible 7" single. This year will be my busiest year of recording and performing.