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- Posted on Mar 15th 2010 1:30PM by Meghan Galewski
How did Star & Micey form?
Me and Josh [Cosby] grew up together; we've known each other since we were 14 or 15 years old, and we've been best friends for 11 or 12 years now. When we were about 17 or 18, Josh began writing songs and I always helped him out with the arrangements. We'd always have a drummer, but our drummers would constantly quit, so it would always go back and forth [between being active or being on a hiatus].
Josh met Nick Redmond in a bar in Memphis, and it turned out Nick was an engineer at Ardent Studios. Josh gave him a burned CD of 24 songs, but they were songs he wrote, they weren't Star & Micey songs yet. Over time, Nick brought us to Ardent to work with producer/engineer Cary Weather, and Cary really liked it so he pitched it to the studios. At this time, we had no ambitions, we had no idea what we were doing and then Ardent gave us permission to fully record three songs. After those three songs, Ardent ended up signing us to their label and giving us permission to record the whole label. Our drummer ended up quitting during the recording of the album, and as we started to introduce percussion instruments, it ended up developing into this thing where we split up the percussion between the three of us. Nick put down most of the guitar work on the album and slowly but surely he started creeping his way into the band -- in a good way -- and he's very innovative and smart and has a lot of good ideas. Nick pretty much joined the band while we still had a drummer, but after the drummer quit, he stuck with it.
Describe your sound in your own words.
It's as if the Violent Femmes and Michael Jackson had a baby and the Fleet Foxes were there watching it while Sigur Rós were in the other room and Hank Williams Sr. happened to be the godfather. That kind of sums it up but more generally -- folk, soul, pop with a lot of Memphis soul and some country influence, but definitely there's a pop element that we've always had.
What are your musical influences?
I grew up listening to the Beatles, the Dead, Led Zeppelin, classic rock like that. Of course there's a huge pop influence, and Dirty Delta Blues Memphis sound. Otis Redding, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings ... Jimmy Eat World's vocal harmonizing and arrangements definitely were a huge influence too.
How did you come up with your band name?
It's a funny story that happened to Josh. He was walking home in midtown Memphis, he hears this, "Hey hey sir hey," and he thinks he can do two things -- keep walking or stop and hear the sob story. Josh talks to everyone, he's very approachable, so he turns around and the guy goes, "Hey man, no bother, you have a guitar, are you a musician?" He starts telling Josh that he's a musician too, which is the truth to an extent, and he asks Josh to play him a song. Josh played him 'Late at Night' and the guy loved it, he said that it melted him and touched his heart, and then he started singing Josh a song. He says his name is Star and the song he was singing was about his ex-fiance, Micey. Josh told him he loved it so much he wanted to use their names as his band's name.
Have you played SXSW before?
No we haven't. We've been prepping for it for the past few weeks. We're absolutely besides ourselves that we got the opportunity to play. It's a blessing, we cannot wait. I cannot even express the excitement. It's one of those things I'll never forget.
Do you have any fun stories about meeting your musical heroes?
We are good personal friends with Jody Stevens from Big Star. He's the studio manager at Ardent, and we're opening up for them here in Memphis. I didn't know about Big Star until I actually got involved with Ardent, but then I realized how important they were to pop music and how many people love them and it's pretty overwhelming ... to have Jody be supportive of our music and to love us to death, I'm extremely humbled. Luther Dickinson from North Mississippi All Stars -- I painted his house and got to know him pretty well, he's an absolutely amazing guy, down-to-earth. He played on our second track and to have someone of that stature play on your debut album, it's like, "What are you doing?!"
What would the lineup be for your ideal show?
I think our ideal show as far as bands to play with, we are huge fans of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings -- they are some of our favorite biggest influences and they are mind-blowing, absolutely mind-blowing. Two acoustic guitars, two vocals, it scares me how amazing it is. Somebody like the Fleet Foxes, they're also a big influence. Of course if I'm dreaming big ... Neil Young.
Favorite city you've visited on tour?
Chicago is definitely my favorite that we've played, but there's this little city, Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, it got hit really hard by Hurricane Katrina, we've played there six times since September and they are the most kind, amazing people I've ever met. It's a little beautiful town right there on the coast, really old and really nice, and everybody comes out -- the whole town. They let you stay at their house and cook you food. We really just go to New Orleans to have stories to tell, that's what it's there for.
Beatles or Stones?
Beatles. I never got into the Stones. There's two different types of people when it comes to that. I'm a Beatles guy, I grew up listening to them. They've had more of an impact on me musically.
Meghan Galewski is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.