Mize and the Drive are playing the Music Tree Festival in Manchester, at Two Purple Pigs on Thursday May 31. They’ve given us a great preview, here, and we’re glad to be able to share it! In the next few days, we’ll get them online for a live interview. Till then… enjoy, the (ehem) drive…
Members and Instruments
Lee Ramsey, lead vocals, acoustic guitar;
Ben Wencil, rhythm guitar, backup vocals, percussion;
Les Greer, bass, backup vocals;
Dan Jarnagin, drums;
Cody Malak, lead guitar, backup vocals;
Alex Stevenson, saxophone
Rock, Soul, Funk, Folk, Jazz (little of everything)
How long have you been playing?
Individually, all of us have been playing in the 10-15 years range, but the band has been together for two years.
Although Ben/Dan/Lee/Cody have been jamming on and off since their days at MTSU, we didn’t form the band until just a couple years ago. Lee brought in some song ideas during a jam session, we all dug the tunes and started developing them further. Les and Alex joined the project in the Spring of 2011 and rounded out the sound we’d been trying to reach.
What do you do for fun? You know, besides music…
“Les: light saber fight with my son Wyatt, working in my vegetable garden, making home brew, dinner and a show with wife
Lee: I like painting star wars actors and then stalking them until I get their autographs, so far I’ve got Ray Park (darth maul) Billy Dee Williams (Lando) David Prowse (darth Vader)
Ben: Long drives, sight-seeing
Cody; spending time with my wife, running, fishing, cooking
Alex: adjusting the valve clearance on my motorcycle
Dan: fishing, cooking”
How’s the music scene in your home town?
Murfreesboro has a great blossoming scene of music right now. On any given night, you can see a show somewhere, and every single genre of music is covered.
What’s on your personal playlist this week?
Cody; Mogwai, Phantogram, Miike Snow
Les: Shins – Port of Morrow, Gotye – Making Mirrors, Jack White – Blunderbuss
Lee: Marvin Gaye (Here My Dear) Elbow (Build A Rocket Boys) Killers
Ben: Nothing! Sometimes silence is the best remedy.
Alex: Our Lady Peace new album Curve
Dan: Carina Round, Porcupine Tree, Of Monsters and Men, Mumford & Sons
Can you pin-point the moment that you knew you wanted to be a performing musician?
Lee: I remember hearing my brother play piano in our living room and we had a serious sibling rivalry going, but it would shake me how powerful, artistic, and soulful he could be I think at that moment I wanted to be at least a fraction of what he was, and I would hear my father tell stories about the band he was in and the friendships and shenanigans they discovered I very much wanted to find my own and so now I get the best of both worlds performing on stage and finding mischief with five people I have became very close with. To share in the process of creating art with someone creates a bond that most will never know.
What are your goals as a musician? How far would you like to go, what do you see as the next big hurdle?
Lee: My goal as a musician is to record my experiences and who I am or I’m trying to be; most of the lyrics are somewhat tied to me either through first hand experience, observations, desires, fears, etc..thats not to make it sound deeper than it is some of it is really quite silly, but it means something to me. As far as how far I would like to go, it would be amazing to connect to enough people that they would support your journey in music full time and I have some personal heroes that I would give anything to play with like Jack White (not necessarily on stage even just to jam with) ~ think the hurdle to that or the next hurdle is time..either there isn’t enough of it or events don’t happen at the right moment (timing).
What song makes you dance when you’re cleaning house?
Cody: Tears for Fears – Head Over Heels or anything else from that album
Lee: Send Me On my Way- Rusted Root (which also doubles as my dog’s favorite song) and Old Crow Medicine Show
Ben: LMFAO – Sexy and I Know It
Tell us about some of your musical influences.
Cody; Gilmour, Hendrix, Jake Cinninger, Trey Anastasio, Nels Cline, Nintendo, Super Nintendo
Lee: my family; Ben Harper, Otis Redding, Beatles, Pink Floyd
Ben: Dave Matthews, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Jeff Coffin, Civil Wars
Alex: Mad Season, Michael Brecker, John Coltrane, Dark New Day, and other varied music groups.
Dan: Josh Freese, Josh Eppard, Jeff Friedl
Les: JP Jones, Sting, MMJ, Ben Harper, Tom Petty
Where would you choose to build a vacation home?
Cody: Zihuatanejo, Mexico
Lee: New Orleans
Alex: wherever my sweetie wants it
Dan: on an island inhabited by only himself and Victoria’s Secret models
Les: Roatan Island, Honduras
How did you learn of Music Tree?
A friend of Cody’s plays in the Buddy System and kept posting about the event on Facebook.
How do you feel about being a part of the Music Tree Festival?
We feel its a great opportunity that hopefully allows us to spread our music to more people.
Do you have plans for Bonnaroo?
We’ve all been going for years now. Lee and Les are working the event, and Dan and Cody will be there to enjoy the music.