Friday, February 15, 2008

Spotlight: Joe Anderl

The Ms may have stopped responding, so moving on, I decided to turn my focus on Dayton.
Many bands and music fans in the Ohio/Indiana/Michigan area may know my next musician of interest. His name is Joe Anderl, and it is more than likely this gentleman has graced a stage in your town many, many times.
For years, Anderl has assembled his band of friends, in various formations and hit the road. I would consider him as the most prominent purveyor and promoter of the Dayton music scene around today - aside from our hero Bob Pollard.
I also recall that he was a music critic at one point. So I figured what better person to comment on Midwest music than a well-versed writer and traveling musician?
Anderl was kind enough to answer some questions on the matter. Lets get the story from the proverbial horses mouth:

PEOPLE WTIH ANIMAL HEADS: What are some Midwestern bands unsigned/signed that you think people outside this region should know about?
JOE ANDERL: My favorites in no particular order are:
From Chicago: The Gunshy, Chin Up Chin Up
From Columbus: The Receiver, Melty Melty, Winter Makes Sailors, Brainbow, Six Gallery, The Kyle Sowashes, Eric Metronome and The Dolby Fuckers
From Dayton: Mascot, Nightbeast, Mouth of the Architect, Shrug, The American Static, The Story Changes
From Athens: Southeast Engine, Nostra Nova, Kaslo
From Bloomington: Defiance, OH., Ghost Mice
From Cleveland: The Celebrity Pilots, Coffinberry, The Dreadful Yawns
From Cincy: The Hiders
I am sure I forgot some but I absolutely love all of these bands.

PWAH: Where did you grow up and how do you think that has influenced your music?
JA: I grew up all over the place, since my dad was in the Air Force. I spent the majority of my childhood in Southern California. In the fifth grade we moved to Ohio. I felt very fortunate to grow up in the time I did in Dayton, OH. My high school days were spent going to see bands like Brainiac, GBV, The Afghan Whigs, Honeyburn, The Oxymorons, Cage, Sebadoh, The Wrens, and Rodan. Dayton was booming with venues and musical talent. After seeing all of these bands, you realized that you were perfectly capable of doing the same thing. There is something to be said for the Midwest work ethic. All of these bands had day jobs, if it was working in your local record store, sand paper factory, teaching, or even working in a cubicle. Music wasn’t about getting huge or signed. It was about rocking with your friends and sharing your art with others. It was that idea that led me to start playing music in the first place. I just wanted to be part of this great Dayton music community. I wanted to play in bands, go to shows, set up shows, put out records. I have been able to accomplish all of that.
I think I am heavily influenced by my friends as well. I see them accomplishing some amazing things, be it spending weeks on the road, making great recordings, writing amazing songs. It influences me constantly. I just got off the road with Winter Makes Sailors (Sean Gardner from Melty Melty). It was inspiring to see him play every night. He uses such interesting textures. It's situations like those that make me want to be a better musician.
I think also that bands from Ohio and the Midwest tend to be very close to each other. It's kind of like the Kevin Bacon game. I meet so many people who know my friends or I know theirs. It really is small in the Midwest, especially when you spend so much of your spare time on the road. You end up having just as many friends on the road as you do at home. In fact they become your friends at home every time they roll through your city.
PWAH: How do you think people from outside our area perceive the Midwest music scene and its music/identity? How about you?
JA: People from outside the Midwest are always amped about bands in the Midwest. Everytime I tell someone from Dayton, they always ask about GBV, The Breeders, Swearing at Motorists, or Brainiac. I was talking to one of the dudes from The New Amsterdamns over the summer. They specifically stopped in Dayton on their way to the show in Athens just because that is where Brainiac is from. The dude had a Brainiac tattoo and had never even been to Dayton before that.
I think there is a certain stigma to bands from the Midwest though. We may not have the hipster impact of bands from the left or right coast, but I think the music speaks for itself. Dare I say the Midwest is almost anti-fashion. Our job is to show up, play, and try to make an impact on those around us.
The Midwest is vibrant and welcoming. There is always a couch for you to sleep on, a beer to be shared, a meal for you the next day. Bands and fans alike, shows in the midwest are like playing to your best friends from home. It's just welcoming and quite often very humbling.
I will always be proud to be from the Midwest.

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