I had the opportunity to chat with Marc Sherlock from Mad Anthony, in anticipation of their upcoming Zaphod’s gig (October 24). This is a trio that lives on the road about 90% of the time, cranking out the big rock noise to the good folks smart enough to check out their shows. They’ve had some great successes, like a lot of festival gigs, songs included in a few films, etc. And they’ve also had at least one frightening low, when the three of them were in an awful single-vehicle accident a few months back. Quite literally battered and bruised (and stapled and stitched), these Cincinnati boys are on the road again.
They’ll be blowing the hell out of Zaphod’s on Wednesday night with local heroes Hearts and Mines, so check ’em out.
Mad Anthony has a pretty unique sound…I hear some DOA in there, I hear a touch of Danzig-ish vocals… I imagine that comparisons suck for artists, so I’ll stop there. How did your sound evolve into this powerhouse of power chords?
It wasn’t really something we talked about. Adam and Ringo got together and it was just the sound that came out. Before Mad Anthony, Ringo was in a more Mod-Rockabilly-ish hybrid. It was like a The Who meets Brian Setzer. Adam has a pretty broad musical library, but has always liked the heavier rocking stuff. We wanted big drums, big guitars, big vocals and a big stage show. Something rocking, but with more of a melody than you’re accustomed to.
I was looking at your site…what was the deal with your car accident? Sounds scary as hell. You all OK?
Inevitably, when you tour the way we do, and put the miles (or kilometers, eh?) on your vehicle the way we do, you’re gonna be at risk for accidents. This year has been rough for weather, especially March – July. We were traveling from Dayton, OH to Evansville, IN and, of course, we got stuck in the middle of nasty thunderstorm. The ground was so dense from all the rain the area was receiving earlier in the week, that water was puddling up everywhere. We hydroplaned and went off the road into the treeline. Ringo was thrown from the vehicle, Marc was knocked around in the back, and Adam was safely secured in his seatbelt. SO BUCKLE UP KIDS!!! Ringo & Marc were badly beaten and rushed to University of Louisville Hospital, Adam was X-rayed, treated, and released. In all, the boys had over 40 staples & stitches in their heads and Marc had a slight fracture to his C4 vertebrae, which placed him in a neck brace and out of commission for 3 months.
Once Ringo was somewhat healed, he and Adam hit the road for some acoustic dates, then picked up a fill-in drummer to get back to work.
Thankfully, Marc is back, and the machine is turning again, but the burden of hospital bills and physical limitations is slowing us down. BUT we’ll be back to full strength soon!
I haven’t been in Cincinnati since I was about 5 years old. How would you describe the rock scene there? How do you fit into the scene?
Cincinnati is a great music town. Tons of great bands, tons of great venues, tons of great people. It’s very competitive! The scene overall is very broad. There’s a little bit of everything. The bands that thrive tend to be veterans of the local seven, which at this point includes Mad Anthony, and anyone who’s been doing it for a little while. However, it’s rare for a band with a sound like Mad Anthony to rise to that status in Cincinnati. The music culture in Cincinnati tends to prefer a more indie rock, blues based rock, traditional rock, folk, or even electronic format. Something heavier would usually struggle, BUT Cincinnati is a scene of musicians, and the way we tour certainly gains attention and fans.
Sounds like you live on the road? What keeps you going? Do you have “Lives” at home, or is the band pretty much it for you guys?
We all have lives outside the band, but obviously, like any job, it consumes most of our time, and really defines what we do. We’re never home for more than 10 days at a time. So, visits home usually include running errands, lots of family time, and resting. Then as we preparing to get back on the road… rehearsal. Its definitely not as glamorous or enjoyable as you may think. It’s hard work, and often the little things you do are overlooked. It’s incredibly tough one our loved ones, and it hurts to be away for weeks on end. At a certain point phone calls aren’t enough to get you through the day, and we all have moments of homesickness and depression. But a good show cures almost any ailment, and we do our best to keep our nose to the grindstone.
You’ve had some good luck with the Bear Attack single (in Classic Rock Magazine), and having your tunes in a PBS documentary. How hard is it to work out deals like that? Do you find them, or do they find you?
The coolest stuff just falls in your lap. I would say we’re lucky, but the reality is, we’re making our own luck. The more we play, the better we promote, the more people we reach; inevitably, somebody who knows somebody is gonna find our stuff and fall in love with it. Then good things just happen, and it snowballs. One great opportunity leads to another, and as long as we hold up our end of the deal, good things keep happening.
It’s been over a year since your last record…what’s the deal with new material? Are you focused on recording, or the live show?
We’ve got a ton of new material that we’re just sitting on, waiting for the right time to release. We’re gonna slow down the touring this winter and take an undefined amount of time off. When we’re ready to come back to it, we’ll start rehearsing again and it won’t be long till we’re back in the studio. The idea is we’ve got to make a new record before we hit the road again. We’ve been touring on the last release for roughly 18 months, so it’s time to release a new batch and see where the journey leads us.
Is it worth recording albums anymore…or just singles/EPs? Do you have a preference?
We try and release things we want to release. There’s certainly a trend that moving away from the full-album format, but that’s the way we were raised, and that’s the music we like. We do our best to only focus on what we wanna do, and ignore industry trends, because the industry changes what it wants regularly. So, we play the music we wanna play, release the records we wanna release, and ignore the distractions. At the end of the day, we play in our favorite band, and we’re proud of what we’ve done and where we’re going.
(cliché alert): What can music fans expect to see at Zaphods when you show up that night?
They can expect to have a good time. We’re three fun-loving dudes. We always put on a good show and always have a great time in Ottawa. Hearts and Mines are an amazing act, so I’m sure they’ll get the crowd warmed up and ready to rock. We’re really looking forward to it.