Indie Rock - Coast To Coast
by Keavin Wiggins
For the next few months we are going to
do something special here in the Melody Makers series. Instead of the band
profile/reviews you usually find here, we decided to search the country
for some of the best up and coming melodic rock bands.
The term melodic rock covers a lot of ground
and there is no shortage of great bands out there producing music that
puts the garbage on radio and MTV to shame.
Over the next few months we will take you
across the United States where we’ll speak with indie artists keeping the
spirit of rock alive in their respective communities and also show the
most promise of breaking out in to the mainstream (if a record exec with
any brains or ears gets behind them).
To kick things off we head to Motor City
or as Paul Stanley calls it “Detroit Rock City” to check in with Fig.
We hope you enjoy this special series and
it helps you discover some great up and coming indie rockers. Be
sure to visit the links following the interviews to check out some music
from the bands.
Melody Makers: We'll start out with
the standard opening question. Where did your name come from?
Fig: When I was a young boy underwear
irritated my bottom me something fierce….I had to resort to hypoallergenic
fig leaves to cover myself, thus the name…
Actually, though I wish there was a really
cool story behind the name, there isn’t…The first three letters of my last
name are F, I, and G and I have been called Fig my entire life…It’s funny,
some people that I have known for years never knew my real name is Matt….
MM: Who would you list as influences?
Fig: I’ll list the heavy-hitters
first….That would be The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, CCR, Chuck Berry and
Jerry Lee Lewis….More recent bands such as School of Fish and Reef have
also influenced my music too….If you haven’t heard those bands, do yourself
a favor and give them a listen….Great stuff….
MM: How would you describe your music
to someone who hasn't heard it?
Fig: I’d like to think that most
of my songs have a strong hook and standard pop sensibilities dressed up
with a nice dose of glam and arena rock…
MM: What inspired you to begin making
Fig: I grew up playing piano, and,
uh, I can’t believe I’m admitting this, accordian. I started out
learning how to play the classics, then moved on to my favorite pop songs….After
realizing some the common factors in songs I liked, I thought I should
write some of my own…I also wanted desperately to front a rock band….Obviously,
the accordian had to give way to the guitar to avoid looking like a Weird
Al clone….I should also mention that I had a wonderful music teacher as
a young man…He not only taught me how to play songs, he pointed out the
structure which helped me learn how to write and appreciate songs when
I got a little older…
MM: You are based out of Detroit, what's
the music scene like there? Is it really the "rock city"?
Fig: Detroit will always be “rock
city” to me...Detroit is dogged on a lot about crime, fires, general corruption
and whatnot, but there are a lot of good sides that people often miss…..For
example, we get every major tour here….I’ve been lucky enough to see many
of my heroes play right close to home…It’s also got a great club scene…Just
check out Hamtramck for some world-class clubs…I should mention that I
am talking about Detroit and its surrounding metro area….As far as bands
go, it’s still good….I don’t think the turnouts are as large as they were
years back, but there’s still plenty of opportunities to make waves….Yet,
still, in this day and age, it’s hard for an unsigned band to get a lot
of attention…(insert ass-kissing thank you to RockNWorld here)...We have
a few local radio shows on at 5:00 am on Monday, or something like that…So
promotion to actual listeners is more difficult...Overall, Detroit still
has basically everything anyone could want….It may not be clean or fully
safe all the time, but the stuff is there…It’s got a great new area downtown
that has shops, ball parks, theatres, restaurants, etc….The scene is what
you make it….I like it in Detroit…
MM: What's your take on where rock is
at the moment and how you fit into that picture?
Fig: I was really worried about
rock for many years but am starting to see some promise again….It sucked
for awhile because it went from the 80s and early 90s of seeing bands that
put on a full spectacle of visual and auditory entertainment, to the mid
90s and where it was only cool to go on stage looking like you were going
to work at the local garage (nothing against people who actually work in
garages….It’s the look I am talking about)…The hot ticket went from the
glam and glitz of Poison and Cinderella to the doom and gloom of Pearl
Jam and Nirvana almost overnight….Thank God for bands like Znuff and The
Wildhearts that kept things in focus throughout both eras….Nowadays bands
like The Darkness are bringing back the merits of a full stage show again….The
kids are getting their money’s worth when they see a band like that…I guess
some people still like to pay 75 bucks to watch Fred Durst beat his chest
like a monkey….And that’s cool too….It’s all in what you like….I’m just
happy to see there’s a market for both again….As for fitting into the whole
picture, well, I prefer to go with an interesting stage show along with
the best music I can write….None of us are tortured or starving, so the
Pearl Jam routine wouldn’t play well for us….It’s all about fun when it
comes down to it….People should laugh, rock, and not worry about their
a**hole boss or nosey neighbor…
MM: What's been your proudest moment
as a band?
Fig: I think everytime we play a
song tightly and well it makes me proud….It really doesn’t take much….If
it comes out sounding like it originally did in my head when I wrote it,
I’ll be smiling bigger than Rosie O’Donnell at a doughnut factory….
MM: What's been your worst?
Fig: On the same page, when you
mess a song up and it sounds nothing like it should, it’s the worst moment
every time…It sucks equally bad each time….Fortunately, as we grow as a
band, those mistakes become fewer and fewer….
MM: What can Fig do to help set you
apart from other new bands and get noticed?
Fig: I guess the standard answer
would be that the songs are good and stand on their own….But, since I value
the stage spectacle so highly, I should tell you how we try to stand out….We’ve
gone on stage several times under tons of black light wearing glow in the
dark body paint and contacts….I’d like to think that these visuals combined
with good songs will make the club-goers feel as if they got a good show
for the money….
MM: I understand you are beginning work
on a new CD. Can you tell us what people can expect? Also I hear
you might have some guest musicians on it, care to drop any names? Any
Fig: The writing is well underway
and there is some label interest…Nothing in stone yet, but rest assured,
everything is being done to help make this happen….Chip Z’Nuff has heard
the last CD and wants to produce and play on some “Preoccupation Blue”songs
and add some new stuff for an EP to shop…He also said that Ricky Parent
would be interested in contributing some drum tracks….At this point, the
focus is on trying to secure a label to help get the CD recorded, released,
etc ….So if you own a record company and want to take a chance on some
hard working chaps from Detroit, by all means contact me! In other
news, I will be doing a solo acoustic showcase for Static Records on Friday,
December 26, at Jacoby’s in Detroit…Please keep your fingers crossed…Baby
needs shoes….I go on at 9:30….
MM: What do you hope people take away
from your music?
Fig: Something that makes them feel
better than they did before hearing it….Whether it’s some finger tapping
or full-on rocking out, I just want people to enjoy it…When these songs
were written and recorded we had a great time…..I just want to pass that
on to the listener..
MM:What's next for Fig?
Fig: We’ve been considering shaving
our heads and ankles and moving to Africa to pursue our life-long dreams
of taming wild yaks….
And, maybe become successful musicians
in the meantime….
Thank you for this opportunity…I hope the
readers of RockNWorld will check out Fig’s CD, “Preoccupation Blue”at
and Purchase Music From Fig
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