Now Here This: More from the Ten St. Louis Bands That Should Be Famous

Categories: Interviews

DOORWAY

The beginning: A group of friends and I started Doorway back in 8th Grade at Grant Middle School in Fairview Heights. That's when I came up with Whiteout, that's when L-Gifted came up with his name, and SD was still SD (He wasn't with Doorway yet; he was still with his group Aifam). Doorway has had a lot of members over the years throughout high school and years following. In 2010, Doorway was formed into what it is now. We linked up with RT-FaQ and a few other key players over the years, and now heading into 2014 we've never been stronger.-- Nick Menn

What everyone should know about music from St. Louis: Definitely want to let all the outsiders know that there are artists of all kinds here. Not all of them are going for those "radio songs" and don't all meet the stereotype that we all sound like the rappers that were known on a national level in the past. -- RT-FaQ

All-time favorite local band: Parlor Knights. Over the past three years or so, Doorway and Parlor Knights have thrown some amazing shows together; it takes our music to the next level. They are also dope as their own entity; their music has gotten me through a lot of bullshit and has been faithfully in my rotation when I'm looking to hear something other rap music. -- Menn

Guilty pleasure: Never thought in a million years that I would be singing Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" at the top of my lungs with my eyes closed so tight that a year pops out, but it happened two days ago. -- RT-FaQ

Classic MTV-era music video they'd redo: I would love to re-create "The Real Slim Shady" video! It is such an iconic song/video from my grade school days, back when I was one of those kids bleaching my hair. -- L-Gifted


PRETTY LITTLE EMPIRE

Best gig: How about strangest? A few years ago, we got booked to play a 1955 year high school reunion at a West County country club. Our concept for this show was to play our set as softly and as tunefully as possible and to sprinkle in some period-appropriate covers. Since our frame of reference for "1955" begins and ends with Back to the Future, one of those covers was "Earth Angel." The attendees were polite, yet indifferent to a majority of our set. When we started "Earth Angel," though, the entire room got up and started slow dancing. It was such a positive, immediate reaction that we decided to milk that song for all it was worth. Justin [Johnson] kept looking back at us and giving us the "one more time!" signal. All in all, I think we maybe played "Earth Angel" for a solid 18 minutes. After the show, an attendee told us that we sound exactly like The Postal Service, which we don't in the slightest. Later, we all got kicked out of the bar since we weren't country club members. The whole night was extremely David Lynch-ian. -- Wade Durbin

Classic MTV-era music video they'd redo: For shits and giggles, we've messed around with Don Henley's "Boys of Summer," so I guess we'd go with that. Evan [O'Neal] handles lead vocals on that one, and he always substitutes a STL band name for the "deadhead sticker on a Cadillac" line. Any two-syllable band name works. He's done Blind Eyes, Old Lights, Bros Laz (Brothers Lazaroff), etc. It's hard to explain why we think this is so hilarious.

I had to rewatch the video since I didn't really remember it. It's definitely one of the more artsy-fartsy videos of the era: stark black and white photography, abstract images of shirtless male models jumping around, some doofy little kid playing drums. It's hard to picture how PLE would fit in there. One observation I had was that Don Henley wishes he had as good a head of hair as Justin Johnson. -- Durbin

Current favorite local acts: The two local bands I've listened to the most lately are The Reserve and The Defeated County. The Reserve has a great acoustic guitar-driven, earnest sound and Jim Peters is one hell of a guitar player. I've been fortunate enough to get to work on some stuff with him in the last month. I think Langen Neubacher of Defeated County has one of the most unique vocal deliveries and phrasing that I've heard in some time. The new album they've put out has a great dark and drifting sound to it. It's carried me through many long miles on the highway. Of course, as everyone can agree, the Middle Class Fashion's Jungle and Bruiser Queen's Swears are both badass. I've also been enjoying the demos that Shark Dad's been posting to Facebook. -- Justin Johnson

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