Monday, December 3, 2012

Our Interview With Joplin MO's Me Like Bees: "I can already feel your readership's cold, discerning stare."

We like bands with unusual names and Joplin, Missouri's Me Like Bees certainly qualifies.  The indie-rock four-piece also has a distinctive lead singer in Luke Sheafer.   They are bringing their tunes to the Granada this Thursday (Dec. 6), opening up for their fellow Joplin, MO wunderkind Never Shout Never.   We were pleased to chat with Luke and drummer Tim Cote prior to the show.

Check them out via Facebook here , follow them on Twitter @melikebees , and enjoy this interview which ranges from Sam Jackson's Pulp Fiction Bible-quotin' to the notion of "slant rhyme" to the devastation of the Joplin tornado to the possibility of an all-out orgy breaking out at Thursday's show because it falls on Stop Day Eve, a night notorious for its end-of-semester decadence.

Looks like Thursday's show is an early one (doors at 6:00, see the flyer below), so be punctual and we promise you will like these Bees!

Chip:  I like odd band names, and Me Like Bees seems...a little silly.  Like a Tarzan quote or something.  Tell us the origin story of the band name.

Luke: Well, you know, it’s not meant to be silly. It should literally read “Me, Like Bees”. Or Me, as in Bees. But the comma doesn’t look good. At any rate, Pete just blurted it out because we were entering a Battle of the Bands competition like you do when your band isn’t any good and you’re just starting out (no offense to any band out there...just commenting on the fact that we weren’t any good) and we had to come up with a name. Turns out, there is this epic Bible verse in the Psalms that sounds like something Samuel L. Jackson would say in the movie Pulp Fiction. It goes “They swarmed around me like bees; they blazed against me like a crackling fire. But I destroyed them all with the authority of the LORD.” No big deal, really. So the name just kind of stuck after that. There were a couple occasions where we sat down and said “Okay, if we’re going to change it, now is the time”. And we just never did. I was all for calling us Up, Up and the Away Team. Couldn’t get any of these saps to sign off on that one. That name is trademarked so don’t steal it! Jk. But seriously…

Richard:   Your singing style has been described as a cross between Isaac Brock (of Modest Mouse) and Jack White.  Could you describe it using two different and more obscure references to please our scenester readership.

Luke: Oof. I can already feel your readership's cold, discerning stare. I’m going to elect to punt and say it’s a cross between Meatloaf and a fifth grader who just got his lunch money taken. Kind of intensely whiny.

Chip:   On the song “Good Machine,” you rhyme “drive” with “self-amortize,” which I think is what Emily Dickinson would call “slant rhyme," but then again I don't understand poetry.  Also, I had to look up “self-amortize!”  What’s your favorite lyric that you’ve ever written.

Luke: I had never heard it called a slant rhyme. I think I’ve heard it called an approximate rhyme or an imperfect rhyme. Anyhow, I’m often lazy with rhyme schemes. I sort of just rhyme when I feel like it,or if I inadvertently remember to. Here are a couple lines that rhyme that I really like from a song that will be on our new album The Ides.  The song is called "Pneumonia":

“Burn brighter
If you can’t fix the house that you were born into
Then put a match to work and see what fire can do”

Also from that same song…

“Now when it comes to gallows humor it’s a slippery slope
You see, you never ask a hangman to show you the ropes
I know you meant it as a ‘ha ha ha’
You just might end up with a twiney collar” 

That entire song is just a word spew. It is eight and a half minutes long and contains a half -novel’s worth of lyrics. I spent a ton of time writing for just that one song and it’s easily my favorite song off the record. 

Richard:  We’re usually not serious on this blog, but it needs to be said that your song “Naked Trees” is a really moving work about the Joplin tornado.  Could you tell us a little about that song, its imagery, and your own experiences with the tornado. 

Luke: The music for the song was almost entirely written months before the tornado. I sort of struggled with what to write about and didn’t have any direction for it before the tornado. What’s strange is that the chorus was written before the tornado, the part that says “le loup, le loup, le loup”. After coming down from the shock of that time, the song really wrote itself in about an hour. The imagery really derived from the chorus that I had already written. I just sort of adapted the story of the Big Bad Wolf to what happened in Joplin. Personally, that whole weekend just sucked. I had a death in the family the day before the tornado, and then spent several days not knowing if many of my friends were still alive (they all were, thank God.) Everyone who lives in Joplin was in shock for weeks. I don’t really know how to describe that whole time in any sort of catch-all answer. We were all sort of messed up by it, especially those who lost family and friends, but the community has grown very close since then.
Chip:   I hear that you spent a weekend touring with those Denver oddballs FaceMan, who did a great interview with us recently  [read it  here ]. Could you tell us a wacky tale about your weekend with those characters?

Tim: Steve may or may not have been responsible for a pool of Bud Light right in front of the stage.   Me and Dean shared a special moment with our hatred for 311. 
Luke: I don’t know about a wacky tale. I was pretty sick that whole weekend. I didn’t have any fun. They were really cool guys for sure though. One of the guy’s dads was hanging out and drinking all weekend. That was pretty funny.

Chip:  Your show at the Granada happens to fall on “Stop Day Eve,” the last day of classes at KU this semester, a night in which the young scholars take to the streets for an all-out evening of debauchery that may well culminate in a dance-floor orgy at your show.  Are you guys cool with that?  Also, leave us with a blurb that convinces our readers that they MUST attend your show?

Luke: Are we cool with a dance-floor orgy happening during our show? Doesn’t matter. There is no way to stop that kind of event once it gets rolling. I might wear some safety goggles or something. Not about to contract something that I didn’t mean to, anyhow.

Tim:  There's a dance floor? What amenities! 

And here's a picture of the band making fun of Luke until he cries a little!

Concert flyer:

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