Mini Mansions bring house down

Queens of Stone Age and Last Shadow Pup­pets rock­ers hit town

Evening Times - - TIMES OUT DAILY - BY HOLLY LEN­NON

GIVEN that the Mini Mansions trio play in some of the world’s big­gest rock bands, it might come as a sur­prise that they will be grac­ing the stage at one of Glas­gow’s small­est venues.

Formed in LA nearly a decade ago, the group is made up of Michael “Mikey” Shu­man and Zach Dawes, bassists for Queens of the Stone Age and Last Shadow Pup­pets, re­spec­tively, and Tyler Park­ford, who has been tour­ing with Arc­tic Mon­keys since he recorded keys on their lat­est al­bum, Tran­quil­ity Base Ho­tel & Casino.

The band are set to re­lease their third stu­dio al­bum in July, their ‘pop­pi­est’ sound­ing alum yet.

Guy Walks Into A Bar was made to be more fo­cused lyri­cally and struc­turally than pre­vi­ous records, lead singer Michael Shu­man ex­plains.

“We kind of bounced around and tried to make weird songs and we re­alised we can make weird songs, but we can also make very sim­ple songs that hope­fully hit you in the gut. That’s what we tried to do on this; the good thing is we didn’t have to try.

“There was real life ma­te­rial that was handed to us and ul­ti­mately for a song­writer that’s the best thing that can be gifted, like a death, a re­la­tion­ship, a break-up, that’s the stuff that once you’re handed it, the lyrics flow out of you.

“And I think per­son­ally I was for­tu­nate enough to go through some­thing that was ex­tremely dif­fi­cult, but it turned out to be the eas­i­est record I had to write.”

De­spite the change in di­rec­tion, tracks on al­bum still sub­scribe to the rock ‘n’ roll sound that the band are known for.

Stand­out song Bad Things was not orig­i­nally sup­posed to be for Mini Mansions.

Michael ex­plains: “The weird thing about this record is that I re­mem­ber ev­ery place that I was in when I wrote the song and this one I was in Sa­van­nah, Ge­or­gia, by my­self and in an apart­ment.

“It wasn’t for Mini Mansions – but I just wrote this thing and those lyrics and the cho­rus just came out.

“It’s prob­a­bly the most dif­fer­ent song for Mini Mansions that we’ve ever writ­ten. But also it was very in­spired by DEVO and a lot of the younger gen­er­a­tion, prob­a­bly a lot of the kids that we’re playing to, have no idea who DEVO is. They’re a great ex­am­ple of one of the weird­est bands ever, that had one of the big­gest hits of all time with ‘Whip It’.

“I wasn’t think­ing about that but look­ing back on it, I was like ‘oh, this is the kind of s*** that Mini Mansions is built off of. I guess we con­sider our­selves a lit­tle off kil­ter, be­cause we haven’t re­ally bro­ken through. I think peo­ple don’t un­der­stand us yet. You can write a song that hope­fully can reach a lot of peo­ple and mean a lot to other peo­ple.”

Queens of the Stone Age re­mains the big­gest pri­or­ity for the singer.

For the tour, Shu­man’s fel­low Queens of the Stone Age band­mate and friend Jon Theodore, will be join­ing Mini Mansions.

“I’ve been in Queens now for 13 years and I’ve been in Mini Mansions for 10 years. So Queens has al­ways been my pri­or­ity, my fo­cus, but I give ev­ery­thing to any­thing I do.

“I mean, peo­ple think what­ever they want and there’s no way I can stop what peo­ple will think about me, my re­la­tion­ship with the band or what­ever, but it’s a very col­lab­o­ra­tive band.

“So, I’m for­tu­nate enough to have joined a band that has a leader like Josh Homme that would be like ‘be your­self; do what­ever you want to do.’

“That be­ing said, I mean, Josh started the band when he was a teenager, or early 20s and the same goes for me with Mini Mansions.

“So as much as I would never leave Queens, you want that feel­ing of ‘I started this from noth­ing’ and I’ve

done this thing. And ac­tu­ally Queens is an amaz­ing ex­am­ple of a band that’s taken 20 years to get to where we are now, and that’s what I’m try­ing to do with Mini Mansions, but it doesn’t take away ev­ery­thing that I give to Queens.

“I just think it’s a great ex­am­ple of how to lead and how to work a band.”

For their third record, Michael de­cided to the step away from the drumkit and free him­self up to front the band – which is why Jon will be join­ing the tour.

He adds “For the first eight years of Mini Mansions, I was the drum­mer. I’m not a drum­mer, but I learned how to do that for this band and it was great and I think it was some­thing very dif­fer­ent about our live show, with me playing a cock­tail kit and stand­ing up and singing and that was great, but on this record I re­ally wanted to play gui­tar and I wanted to free my­self up, so I asked Jon to play drums on the record.

“So he played the drums on the whole record and it was just ob­vi­ous. Right now he has noth­ing go­ing on, so I was like ‘do you want to play drums?’.

“I mean that’s what he does. It’s ba­si­cally just like a va­ca­tion for us to just hang out to­gether and we get to play mu­sic to­gether, which is amaz­ing. We’re still not jaded enough to not en­joy that. And he knows all the songs al­ready. It’s go­ing to feel very nat­u­ral.”

Hav­ing formed in Amer­ica, Mini Mansions have carved out their big­gest fan­base in the UK and opted for their up­com­ing tour as a way of say­ing thanks.

“We’re an Amer­i­can band but we’ve strug­gled in Amer­ica and the UK has been noth­ing but won­der­ful to us.

“So we wanted to kind of re­pay the favour and I don’t know if peo­ple care about us in some of these smaller towns, but I think it’s go­ing to be fun for us to go to these much smaller towns and big­ger towns and hope­fully bring a smile to these peo­ple’s faces, cause it’s not ev­ery day that bands roll through there.

“I’ve had so many nights in Glas­gow, it’s hard to fo­cus on one. I’ve played there with Queens many times. We did Bar­row­lands open­ing up for Royal Blood, I be­lieve and we did our own show last time at King Tut’s. I’m hop­ing that it’s go­ing to be full this time.”

Mini Mansions will play King Tut’s on May 6.

Mikey Shu­man, Zach Dawes, and Tyler Park­ford have been per­form­ing as theMini Mansions for more than a decade and are set to re­lease their third al­bum

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