I first met a man by the name of Colin Clark at the Skyline Club in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. He was chatting with me about music and how he was involved with a few bands. I told him about my blog, that i worked with bands on a regular basis, and that I would love to interview the bands he was associated with. It ended there. After a few cocktails later we both had forgotten all about it. But recently, after a well placed email, he and I started chatting again about these bands and better yet, these interviews. So he and I set up the three bands to have interviews with the blog! This is the first. Bringing a sound of almost epic proportions, these guys sound like a mix between the Presidents of the United States of America and a dash of Jacob Dylan. Great songwriting and a passion that you simply cannot replace, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the guys in Lit Endz.
Where did you get the name?
The name came to me in 2003 while I was living in Terre Haute. That town was the most depressing and boring town I’d ever lived in, so to keep from going insane we’d get lit and write songs. Most of the song content at that time was about feeling low and just wanting the depression to end. So needless to say, we’d met our Lit Endz.
Where are you originally from?
Random small towns scattered throughout Indiana and Ohio. (Veedersburg, Hillsboro, Sullivan, and Mason.) It’s funny looking back at how isolated we all were from the big picture. There were no places to go to even catch a show. You found your influences where you could and ran with it. I guess that really helped shape our sound. Now were based out of Indianapolis and Bloomington, Indiana.
Where did you all meet?
Four out of the six of us went to the same high school, though we were from different grades. Marching band would probably be the first connection. We heard about John Marque through Landon Curtis, and we met Rob Doty through Colin Clark. But if it wasn’t for Bloomington, I don’t think we’d ever have formed such a strong friendship, let alone a band.
Did you go to IU?
John Marque received a Masters degree in jazz studies from IU while Colin also received a degree from IU. He has a bachelors degree in History. Rob Doty attained a bachelor’s degree as well.
What is your relationship with the MWMC?
The Midwest Music Conspiracy is basically the label or umbrella, so to speak, and Lit Endz represents the straight-ahead rock sound that we confidently stand behind. As with any band under the umbrella, if it wasn’t for the MWMC our sound would just be watered down and we’d all get rained on.
Any Tattoos in the band?
Only a combined thirty hours under the needle! Ryan has an assortment of tattoos that he calls his “cape”. They riddle his back and clavicles. I’m talking tattoos like a fish with a microphone for a tail smoking a cigarette, a kiddy pony with a boombox body and a prosthetic 1/8in headphone adapter for a back leg, a sparrow with a turntable arm for a tail, even a tattoo of a bass drum that has a Saturn ring, he shares that one with John Marque. It’s the result of bad relationships and too much…we’ll say booze. Rob Doty sports his love for arts with a winged signature spray can, but I’d have to say Rich Florey has the most ballsy treble clef forearm tattoo, and he has the most professional day job of all of us!
Who has the Most?
Ryan wins with fifteen.
I am digging those lead vocals. Tell me about all the guys behind you.
First off these songs would not exist if it wasn’t for songwriter and guitarist Rich Florey. He’s got those raw in-your-face rock tones that he’s able to achieve on these guitar parts, and it really shapes the sound. They’re tones I haven’t heard since, I dunno…the Stone Temple Pilots were recording in their prime? You’ll notice in our production that we add a lot of feedback swells over solo bass lines and just sit them right on top of the groove. Guitarist Rob Doty is to thank for the feedback, and all those awesome bluesy solo’s in our live shows. He’s the drive and vibe of the band. Landon Curtis is our musical machine. One minute you’ll see him on piano, then he’s on hand percussion the next while singing background vocals. He’s a huge asset to the band. Colin Clark brings the energy to the stage with his signature fuzz driven bass lines. He’s also responsible for creating the unique background vocal wash. They say you save the best for last and John Marque is just that. One of the top drummers in Indiana, lets just say we’re lucky to share the stage with him.
What’s the biggest crowd you’ve ever played for?
Unfortunately it’s hundreds rather than thousands; but only time will tell.
A couple years ago we played for a crowd of three in Crawfordsville, Indiana. I believe it was a bar attached to a bowling alley…we still brought it!
What are you drinking on stage?
Miller High Life, whiskey, and whatever doesn’t get kicked over on stage.
How do you know the guys in Teethpussy?
Rich Florey’s father gave him Teethpussy’s debut album five years ago. We were lucky enough to play a show with them about three years ago and have stayed in touch ever since. They’ve really shaped our sound…easily the best band from the ’70s.
Describe your genre in one word.
If you could only play on song for the rest of your career, what song would you pick?
Death Since Insemination.
You sound a lot like The Presidents of the United States of America. Anyone else ever told you that?
Actually yes. Someone in Indianapolis told us that same thing after a Spin Nightclub show a 2 years ago! (Spin Nightclub is no longer in business.)
Who are some of your biggest influences?
The Whigs, Kings of Leon, Rolling Stones, Matt Mays, Weezer, and Teethpussy.
What is your favorite beer?
Miller High Life. We’ve been trying to attain a sponsorship for awhile now.
You guys have some sweet concert fliers. Who does all of your graphic design?
Chase Martin from Rockitt Studios, Colin Clark from Tribeswell, Rob Doty from NoteyArt, and Ryan Beck from PRP. We’re currently creating a media archive and design company called Mudbank Media under the MWMC umbrella.
Do you guys have a favorite venue?
Yep. Pat’s Tavern in Mooresville, Indiana. Good people, great times.
Do you guys have jobs outside of music?
The only full-time musician is John Marque. Rob Doty is a architectural designer, Ryan Beck works in medical imaging, Colin Clark owns his own marketing firm, Landon Curtis runs his own property management group,
and Rich Florey is a billing manager in Carmel.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
The problem with creating catchy songs is that your parents like to dance to them as well. “Booze+Family = Embarrassment”.
Let’s say that you are headlining at Verizon Wireless Music Center. Who is your opening act?
If you could be any cartoon character which one would you be and why?
Doug Funnie…I guess because he’s funny and his theme song is catchy as hell!
PC or Mac?
It’s Mac that makes the music here.
How did you all react to the passing of Michael Jackson?
We reacted the only way we knew how and wrote a song about it. Check it out on our next album The Dig.
Who took that picture on your MySpace page?
Bridgett Warner took that.
Didn’t your mom ever tell you that if you play with fire, you get burned?
Yeah, but I’ve never listened to her.
Speaking of MySpace, what are your thoughts on the service?
You’re actually lucky you caught us on there. We’re currently in the process of deleting all of our accounts and
creating our own fully functional website.
Are you guys on Twitter?
Where do you see yourselves in five years?
Hopefully still creating music using the same formula. The sounds grows for the better every year, but once it become no fun we’re done. Life’s too short to make bad music.
What do you want to be remembered for when this is all said and done?
People don’t have to remember us for being a “great” band or a “horrible” band. We just want respect. I’ve lost lovers, friends and a lot of brain cells over this project so all be damned, it better be worth it.
I always let the artist get the last word. Go.
Support local bands…it’s easy to spin other music through a PA and call yourself a DJ, but if we don’t start to save the live music now we’ll all be left listening to bubblegum pop crap. I’m just trying to do my part and make consistant high quality music. You just have to enjoy it. Stay Fresh Midwest!