Lansing, Michigan-based band Elliot Street Lunatic has been touring the Midwest and is quickly gaining momentum.
Combining the pop sensibilities of Counting Crows and the raw energy of Motion City Soundtrack and other pop/punk groups, Elliot Street Lunatic looks to make a huge break this summer, riding the wave of the release of their second album, “Ghost Town Lullabies.” They are coming to play at Bender’s Tavern in Denver on Saturday, May 12.
CUI's Patrick Fort Speaks with Jason Marr, lead singer and guitar player for Elliot Street Lunatic. The band will be performing on May 12 at Bender's Tavern in Denver. (Courtesy of Elliot Street Lunatic)
CU Independent’s Patrick Fort spoke with lead singer and guitar player Jason Marr to discuss his band and their success as musicians.
Where did you meet, and how long have you been together as a band?
The band has been together since 2007, but our drummer and bass player are new as of this year. Our original drummer actually moved to Denver, and our bass player was accepted into graduate school, so they both left the band and we found two new guys.
Were you all in college when you met?
Yeah, we are all college age. I go to a community college, and our guitar player does as well. Our drummer goes to Michigan State [University], and our bass player goes to the same community college that the guitar player and I go to.
As a band, what are your main influences? Who do you look up to for your sound?
Not that we sound too much like them, but we all look up to The Beatles. We have more of a spacey, modern sound, I guess. We always listen to The Beatles.
What is your favorite album by The Beatles?
My favorite Beatles album is “Sgt. Peppers.”
As a smaller band, what is like going on a nationwide tour? Do you get to open for any big bands?
Usually when we are on tour, we are playing with local bands in the area. When we open for nationwide bands, it is always in Michigan; well, so far, it has been. We have opened for Rooney, Of Montreal and Tokyo Police Club, and a few other bigger bands. We have opened for a few big Michigan bands too. As far as being on tour, we play small bars and hope the other bands we are playing with bring out a crowd to catch our set (chuckles). We can’t rely on our songs to bring people out. If we are in Iowa City, most people haven’t heard of us.
In other interviews, you have said that “if there is a major city in Michigan, you have played it.” Do you know how many shows that you have played in the state of Michigan?
Probabaly 150 shows in Michigan and 200 overall.
Do you have a dream venue that you would love to play at?
I would like to play Lollapalooza or Bonaroo or Coachella. I would love to play a big festival with a bunch of bands, where people are just there for the music.
On your most recent album [entitled "Ghost Town Lullabies"] that came out in January, you worked with Casey Crescenzo of The Dear Hunter. What is he like as a producer, and how much did he influence you as far as your sound and production?
He is one of my musical idols, and we got to open for his band back in 2009. We kept in touch, and it finally got to the point where he was going to produce our record. We went out and did a bunch of preproduction of the songs, and we worked together where he sat with us and said, “That part is good. This part is shit. Let’s fix this up.” And pretty much, he helped us make the songs what they are on the album. As far as an influence, The Dear Hunter is a big influence. They use a lot of harmonies, which I am a big fan of. He had a lot of influence on every song on the album. I would consider him the fifth Beatle of Elliot Street Lunatic.
Are there any bands that you would want to tour with? What are you guys listening to right now?
We hope that it comes to that point. We love everything from The Beatles to Coldplay. I love The Mars Volta and Coheed and Cambria, so we are all over the map. If we could get on a tour with Minus the Bear or Portugal. The Man or something like that, I think it would be a great thing for us. I love the new album by The Mars Volta [Noctourniquet].
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Patrick Fort at Patrick.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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