Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New Interview: The Millions Return to Lawrence For One Last Blast at the Bottleneck

Readers, if you were hanging around the Bottleneck in the early to mid-90's (and we KNOW that some of you were), you likely have fond memories of Nebraska's The Millions, a major Midwest success story who often frequented our fair city in that era.   The band signed to Polygram and released M Is For Millions in 1991 and the album's first single "Sometimes" rocked the college charts right alongside U2.   They released a follow-up and toured Europe before disbanding in 1995.   However, nostalgia is strong in the rock and roll world, and The Millions have now resurfaced with an unreleased CD and three major summer shows.     Guess what? One of them just happens to be at the Bottleneck on Saturday July 27 with opener The Invisible World.

We had a nice chat with The Millions' Lori, Marty, and Harry.  Join us as they wax nostalgic about 90's LFK and the Paradise Cafe, tell us about touring Europe with Sheryl Crow, and explain what it's like to be back on the road after seventeen years.  Give them a "like" on Facebook over here.


Richard:  We have quite a lot of aging-scenester readers who love to wax nostalgic about earlier eras of Lawrence.  So let’s start off by having you share some memories with us about playing Bottleneck shows in the early 90’s.  And what other Lawrence locations did you like to visit when you were in town?  Favorite bars or restaurants?  Did you ever go to the Paradise CafĂ©? (RIP). 

Lori:  What!? no more blueberry buckwheat pancakes with real maple syrup?!

Harry: The Bottleneck was always a fun place to play because it was close to home and in a really cool town. KJHK was always supportive and the local newspapers loved the Millions.  Our audience kept getting bigger and bigger each time we played the club.  We made a lot of friends in Lawrence and missed seeing them when the band broke up.  The town was a fun place to hang out.  We liked to go to Mass Street Music for guitars and equipment as well as some other cool music shops (no longer in existence).  And yes, The Paradise Cafe was a regular hangout -Lori and I loved their vegetarian food and the atmosphere.  We all loved it!

Chip:  So it seems as if another pesky band called The Millions, with legal ownership of the name, is forcing you to release music these days under the moniker The Millions NE.  Is that annoying as hell?  Are your old fans confused?  And will you be referring to yourselves as “The Millions NE” when you play the upcoming reunion/farewell shows?

Marty: There are actually now a couple of other bands that hijacked our name, or versions of it. It is slightly annoying – just another reason to be irritated with record labels and lawyers. Since we’re playing in our old stomping grounds, we are still just going by The Millions for promotion, since that’s what our old friends know us by. For anything official like the Archive Series CD set that is being released on Randy’s Alternative Music, we add the NE. No big deal...

Richard:  You toured Europe with Sheryl Crow back around ‘93?  Can you tell our readers any Sheryl Crow tales?  Is it true that “all she wanna do is have some fun?”'

Marty: Sheryl and her band were great to tour with – we had some cool shows in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Amsterdam, Ghent and Vienna. They were very gracious - if it was a small stage, they would let us use their equipment. They’d share their more abundant backstage provisions. They even took us to dinner on our last nights on the tour. There were a few times when the audience wanted an encore from us which, as an opener, you usually don’t do. The first time it happened in Frankfurt, we didn’t think we were supposed to do it and started walking off stage. She stopped us and said “What are you guys doing? Get back out there!”

She was very down to earth, but remember, that was when she was just starting to hit it big. The tour was to promote Tuesday Night Music Club. Seems like through all of her success since then, she hasn’t changed much. Which is nice to see.

Richard:  Tell fans what they can expect at The Bottleneck show on the 27th.  Is this likely to be your last-ever Lawrence appearance?  And can you also tell our apathetic young scenester readers why they should consider attending as well?

Harry:  The guys are planning on adorning skimpy Speedo swimwear and nothing else.   Lori will parade around in her dress made out of men's neckties.  She makes these, so if you like what you see feel free to ask her and she'll make you one.  We put on a show without putting on a show –it’s just us up there, stripped down (literally, ha ha!), laying down melodies and rhythms and our own original songs.

Seriously, though, we played Dec. 1st., 2012, for the first time in 17 years, in our hometown of Lincoln, NE to celebrate the release of the album, Poison Fish, that was recorded in 1989 and never released.  We had over 500 people show up and it was so much fun that we wanted to play again, this time for another new album,  "M is for Millions", a two disc CD set including "M is for Millions" material as well as many unreleased songs.  The album will come out in the latter part of July, 2013, so we naturally thought about playing The Bottleneck.  We then called Brett and he made it happen. Thanks Brett! (We were always a favorite of yours, right?!)

We are playing a set of 20 songs, including almost all the songs off our debut album,"M is for Millions".  A few early tunes and a few later ones.  Most of the songs are featured on the new CDs. Our fans will recognize most of the songs with a few unfamiliar ones in the mix. We are definitely looking forward to hanging out in Lawrence and ceremoniously playing The Bottleneck again!

Lori: Great 90's Pop/Rock sounding better than ever!  The songs we will be playing are from an early time of the band.  We were fresh.  These songs are a joy to dust off and breathe life into again. So youngsters, I don't really know why you wouldn't want to check out some time capsule tunes that happen to still be relevant.

New album cover:

The band!

Bottleneck flyer: