EMQ’s with THE MIDNIGHT DEVILS
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Omaha, Nebraska/Chicago, Illinois based Glam/Rock ‘n’ Roll band, The Midnight Devils. Huge thanks to Bassist/Lead Vocalist, Sam Spade, for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Hello. My name is Sam Spade, and I am the bass player and lead singer of the band The Midnight Devils. We are a national touring glam slam, boogie woogie, party rock n roll band from Omaha, NE and Chicago, IL. Chris ‘Sniper’ Hineline and I started The Midnight Devils in 2017, and did some regional touring around the Midwest United States. Our drummer Jimmy Mess joined us in the summer of 2017 after our original drummer left us high and dry in the middle of a tour. After the tour we decided that it felt good, and we should continue this, and see how far we can take it. We released our debut album in 2018, and dropped everything to start touring around the country, from coast to coast. We have played from LA to New York State, and New Orleans to Milwaukee. We took a gamble and jumped out into the deep water right from the start, and it totally paid off.
How did you come up with your band name?
The name of the band came from the title of an album Sniper and I put out with our previous band. The album was just called Midnight Devils, so we added “The” in front, like The Ramones, The Who, The Rolling Stones. The idea behind the term comes from that feeling you get as the sun starts to set on a Friday night. It’s that rush of adrenaline and anticipation for what is about to happen. You know it’s going to be a wild night, and you know that there is going to be one hell of an adventure on the other side.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We are from Omaha, Nebraska, USA, and our drummer Jimmy Lives in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Omaha, Nebraska isn’t a huge city by any stretch, but it’s always been known for having a great artistic community. The local bands are always great, but there is definitely nobody like us, and nobody playing glam rock n roll in Omaha. The cool thing about Omaha is that it is between Denver and Chicago and is always a stop for touring bands. We get some great shows, and most of the time you can catch shows any night of the week. From what I have experienced in Chicago, it’s a wild dirty party town. We’ve played in the city a lot, and it’s tough, but once they accept you the party never stops. There are tons and tons of great bands coming out of the Chicago area.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Our debut album, “Something Bigger” was released in 2018. We toured very heavily into early 2019 promoting that record, and the video for the single, ‘Pink Halo.’ It was an incredible experience, and we could see our hard work paying off. Unfortunately, everything was cut short due to the Covid Pandemic. It’s really a shame.
‘Pink Halo’ (Official Video)
Who have been your greatest influences?
My biggest influence is KISS. I grew up on Elvis and The Beach Boys. That got me into classic rock, but KISS really pushed it over-the-top for me. I got my first guitar when I was 16, and of course it was a cheap sunburst Les Paul like Ace Frehley played. From there I found The New York Dolls, Sweet, and Alice Cooper. I joined a touring punk rock band, and mixed everything I knew together, to create something very unique. I love classic rock like The Stones, AC/DC, and Van Halen but I also love The Ramones, The Clash, and The Misfits.
What first got you into music?
I grew up in a small town in Nebraska. When I was younger, I went to a private school, and they showed us this propaganda video called Hells Bells, which preached that rock n roll was evil, and if you listened to it you were a devil worshipper. It totally backfired and made me love the music even more. It wasn’t until my buddy brought in KISS – “Destroyer,” and I heard ‘Detroit Rock City,’ that I put it all together. I felt complete and knew right then what I wanted to do with my life.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
I would love to create something new and exciting with a bunch of the new bands coming out right now. I’ve tried to put together some tours with other glam bands around the USA and nobody gets the bigger picture. It becomes about egos and “who’s bigger”. I want to put something together with bands that are still playing clubs and put it on the road. I want to give the fans something to talk about and something completely over the top exciting to go see. Arena level bands are great, but eventually their time will come, and they will stop playing. We are the new generation of rock n roll and I want to embrace that on a whole new level.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Our biggest goal right now is to put The Midnight Devils overseas. To take this band from the Midwest USA and take it international. I want to bring this glitter-encrusted lipstick-smeared party to the wild animals in Europe and Japan. America is great but they are still going crazy for our style of music outside of the US. We want to put the party in the air.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
I have had fans get my signature tattooed on their arms. I have had fans tattoo my bass on their backs. Those things I am very honoured and touched by. I will never forget that feeling of seeing those tattoos. The weirdest piece of fan mail I received was a big box of towels and 4 bars of penis soap shaped like donuts. It’s always interesting opening this stuff up.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
We love our fans, and think of them as our family, spread out across the world. When we tour our fans will come out and bring us food, send us snacks, and let us crash in their basements. There are not enough “Thank You’s” to express our deep love and appreciation for everything they have done for us. During the pandemic, our amazing fans have been buying up all kinds of official merchandise, which helps us beyond anything they can even comprehend. Thank you so very much.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
I am reading a book right now about Elvis. I think that’s somebody that was taken away too soon. I also think Eddie Van Halen was a huge loss to the music world. Others include Johnny Thunders, from The New York Dolls, and of course all of The Ramones were taken away too soon as well.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
There are so many things that I love it’s impossible to list. First of all, I am very blessed to be in a band with two other guys that share the same vision and are absolutely my best friends. That gives us the opportunity to travel around the country and meet so many new people. I love being able to create and bring ideas to life. I am very proud of our album, our songs, our videos, and our live show. I don’t hate much of it, but I get a lot of anxiety from the work that is involved behind the scenes making everything happen. I’s a 24/7, 365, kind of job that never rests, even when the world is locked down. The stress and the ups and downs can really get to you.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I completely believe that, in this day and age, we have lost all artist development in the recording industry. It’s not about getting an artist to build a long-lasting career; it’s about making money as fast and as easy as possible. Labels don’t help bands anymore, and especially bands like The Midnight Devils. We are seen as “Too Glam” or “Too wild,” and everybody makes the safe bet on a safe band. That’s not us and that’s completely fine. We have seen the fans and listened to them. We want the same thing they do. So, without any help from the industry, besides an incredible manager, we have done everything ourselves.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
This is a tough one, and I was just having this conversation with somebody the other day. There are those albums that you just know front to back, every song is a hit in some way. How do you pick? Guns ‘N Roses – “Appetite for Destruction”, Motley Crüe – “Too Fast For Love”, Boston – “Boston”, The Rolling Stones – “Tattoo You.” There are so many to pick. It’s incredibly hard. AC/DC – “Highway To Hell”.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Vinyl, hands down, but I must say that I completely see the need for digital downloads. I don’t like it, but the ease of having millions of albums in the palm of your hand is incredible. I buy a lot of albums, and still listen to songs digitally. The Midnight Devils will be putting out vinyl this year when our new record is done.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
We have played a ton of shows all over the country and they are all really special no matter where or how many people show up. With The Midnight Devils, everything is an uphill battle, and an adventure. From getting to shows, driving 10 hours in the mountains, buses breaking down, venues cancelling, and owners firing off hand guns, there are always a few hurdles to get over just to play a show. I don’t take any of it for granted. Sentimentally, my favourite show was the one we did at The Viper Room in LA, because I was actually living out those Rock N Roll fantasies you have as a kid. Playing on Sunset Strip, with your name on the marquee, then going down to The Rainbow to party after the show. That’s the dream right there.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
As weird as this might sound, I actually have a degree in broadcasting, with a focus on radio. I went to school to be a radio DJ at a classic rock station. I had that job, and realized it was all fake, and it wasn’t about the music, it was about the advertising dollars. Now I DJ at clubs and get to put on a different kind of show every night of the week. It’s great and I love what I do outside of the band.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Of course, I would invite Sniper and Jimmy my band mates. Get all three of us together and it’s trouble in the best possible way! I would then invite David Lee Roth from Van Halen. Also, Jack Black from Tenacious D, and finally maybe Will Farrell. It would be a rock n roll laugh fest of epic proportions.
What’s next for the band?
We will be heading to Chicago in early March, to record our sophomore album, with Chip Z’Nuff producing it. We are thrilled to have him behind the board guiding us on this huge follow-up. We will then release a single and video, and put out some killer coloured vinyl to celebrate. After that, we are planning on hitting the road as soon as humanly possible. Early April we will be doing some shows in Denver, then we are working on plans for a busy summer. We are scheduled to support Loudness on their 2021 US Tour, so fingers crossed we can get this virus under control.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
I’m not even sure what Jaffa Cakes are. We don’t have those in Nebraska.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thank you so much for the great interview, and for keeping rock n roll and heavy metal alive. Keep an eye out for The Midnight Devils in 2021 we will be coming at you harder than hard.
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