Frontman of Midnight Empire Jacob Henderson's vocal talents can best be described as phenomenal with a completely identifiable signature, range with no bounds, and soulful personality that bleeds passion. Growing up with influences like Layne Staley of Alice in Chains, Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses, and Chris Cornell of Soundgarden Jacob found he possessed raw vocal talent, so he put down the guitar and picked up the microphone and performed with several successful touring bands from Dallas. However, several years ago Jacob decided to hang up the microphone to take care family issues. After time away from the stage, and the fires burning hotter than ever, Jacob joined forces with guitar player Art Struck.
Guitar Player Art Struck, originally from Dallas same as Jacob, has lived and breathed guitar since his early teens staying up after bedtime listening to mandatory Metallica. Among his most influential guitar players are Slash, Zakk Wylde, Michael Schenker, Randy Rhoads, and Dimebag Darrel Abbott. Driven infinitely for his desire to write music and play guitar Art began practicing upwards of 6 hours a day and recording music with friends until his exodus to Musicians Institute in Hollywood, Ca where he graduated from the GIT Program in 2009. He moved back to Dallas, Tx where he began working as a session player for When in Rome keyboard player Michael Floreale and teaching
guitar full time at Matt Burk Music. As any musician would be Art was proud to be supporting himself with the guitar but he knew he would not be satisfied unless he was in a tried and true rock band. A mutual friend reintroduced Jacob in early 2011 and the musical chemistry was instant. Jacob decided to pick up the bass to save time finding another player and hired a coworker to play drums. After a short period of great songwriting and small venue performances, including a battle of the bands at House of Blues Dallas, the band dumped the lazy drummer and began holding auditions. With their first album recording on the horizon Jacob and Art knew they needed more than a competent drummer, they needed the third member of Midnight Empire.
Another friend referred the young Matt Cook. The day he walked in and sat at the drum kit the magic was there. A real soul was in the room between the three. With two days left on their Kickstarter campaign the band's $6,000 album was funded. With thirty hours available the band recorded ten tracks in twelve hours leaving eighteen for mixing and mastering. January 21st 2012 Midnight Empire released debut album "Everything and Nothing" on iTunes, CD Baby, and on 1,000 digipak copies. In less than a full year together Midnight Empire had released a legitimate rock album with spins on local radio, college radio, received press from The Dallas Morning News and numerous online magazines, and headlined most local clubs. But the stage presence was lacking. Jacob was limited by the bass, unable to demonstrate his dynamic frontman command. The search for a bass player began. Suitors came from as far as Oregon, and a couple played shows, but there was no real connection and the opportunities were mounting. The fear became very real that there were no true rock bass players left and the band would continue to suffer. The band began looking for guitar players with the right stuff to convert.
An Aussie guitar player named Rick Reynolds living in Austin, Tx had put out an ad on Craigslist looking for a band and Midnight Empire gave him a shout. Rick came in to audition one weekend and it was apparent he was the missing piece. After all, a guy with the balls to come all the way from Australia to Texas to pursue rock 'n' roll had to either be a great musician or total crazy. in Rick's case, it may have been both. His "Get busy living, or get busy dying" attitude has become as major a contribution to Midnight Empire as his playing.
With the the right pieces falling into place Midnight Empire's accomplishments began to pile up. In August of 2012 Midnight Empire was hand picked for the Onstage with Slash competition by Slash himself to perform with he and Myles Kennedy and Foxy Shazam at The House of Blues Dallas. Shortly after Midnight Empire provided main support for Dead Sara who opened for Muse on a stadium tour in early 2013 among many other accomplishments. Midnight Empire has was selected for Guitar Shop TV, The Real Rock Radio Show of Long Island, performed on Oklahoma Live, The Drew Pearson Show, Balcony TV, showcased to 800 fans at House of Blues Dallas, performed at Six Flags Over Texas, The Dallas Rock 'N' Roll Marathon, booked to open for Ratt at House of Blues Dallas May 22nd, and will share the Ford Main stage at Rock USA in Oshkosh, Wisconsin with Van Halen, Godsmack, Avenged Sevenfold, Buckcherry, Chevelle, and more mainstream acts. The band will also be submitting the music video for "Can't Get Enough" to Rive Video for MTV, VH1, and FUSE distribution as well as touring to Hollywood, CA and Nashville, TN to record their next EP mid to late summer with Chris Grainger (producer for Wilco, Switchfoot, and Sixpence None The Richer). Midnight Empire has accomplished more in a year and a half than most bands in five or at all, and all independently.
The band's energy and focus is now completely on writing, performing, recording legendary rock music, and climbing to the highest steps on the ladder of success. The stage set for the Midnight Empire takeover. Get ready for the real rock 'n' roll experience.
Jacob Henderson - Vocals
Art Struck - Guitar
Matt Cook - Drums
Rick Reynolds - Bass
Everything and Nothing
1. Black Eyes
3. Under The Table
4. Borrowed Time
5. Can't Get Enough
6. All Used Up
7. Take You Home
8. Two Against One
9. Tidal Wave
10. Sign of the Times
All Used Up
Can't Get Enough
Two Against One
Under The Table
Sign Of The Times
Take You Home
Who’s got the groove? Some bands on the Dallas Rocks! showcase at House of Blues do — and some don’t
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Rock ‘n’ roll thrives on groove. Not just the groove of a tight rhythm section – the synchronicity o...Rock ‘n’ roll thrives on groove. Not just the groove of a tight rhythm section – the synchronicity of guitar, bass and drums – but the deep groove of band members working overtime to compliment each other.
Dallas’ Midnight Empire and Arlington’s the Bright understand the power of the groove. The two bands closed the Dallas Rocks! local music showcase Friday night at House of Blues. The four-hour shindig, which also featured stage stints by younger rock outfits Vinyl Pilot and Drayter, both from Dallas, drew 790 homegrown talent supporters. The gist behind the event was to highlight the diversity of sound, look and showmanship among current local rockers. So the crowd skewed toward teens and early 20s during the first half, and more like 30-somethings and beyond for the latter portion.
This is where the groove comes in. Midnight Empire lead singer Jacob Henderson, guitarist Art Struck, drummer Matthew Cook and new bassist Rick Reynolds took a bit to find their groove. These guys had never played the House of Blues big stage before, so there was some adapting. Henderson, whose wicked wail cranked into high gear from the get-go, needed a small handful of songs to firm his footing. He wanted to feed off the energy of the audience, but it wasn’t channeling enough of it. By the third song, the kicking rocker “Misery,” Henderson clicked. By the seventh cut, the salacious “Under the Table,” he was roaring. If he was merely borrowing the stage before, now he owned it.
Fans enjoying The Bright's performance Friday night at the Dallas Rocks! local music showcase. (Cooper Neill/The Dallas Morning News )
When “Can’t Get Enough” arrived toward the end of the 40-minute set, Henderson was feasting off Struck’s guitar licks, Cook’s drum assaults and Reynolds’ bass thumps. They were all as one. That’s the groove, baby.
The Bright, fronted by the sinewy drama of lead singer Julie Lange, was in groove mode from the initial note. Band mates Eric Jenkins on keyboards, Miguel Fair on bass, Kell Curtis on guitar, Robert Yahne on drums and Taylor Tatsch on guitar provided Lange with the ammunition for her beguiling renditions of Bright originals “Save the Night,” “Deep Fall,” “Over and Over,” “Charmed” and an ambitious cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” The Bright’s signature takes sophisticated pop hooks and merges them with raw rock energy. You get the infectious immediacy with the revved-up raucousness.
Vinyl Pilot and Drayter could use more of that groove potion. While I was impressed with the mere ability of Drayter to play its blend of hard rock and thrash metal, especially given that all four members are barely of driving age, the band lacks true cohesion. Lead singer Mira Fountain gets points for keeping up with the guitar, bass and drums onslaught of Cole Schwartz, Trajan Acquista and Matthew West, but she lacks vocal personality. There is potential here, not to mention the clincher of a female fronting a thrash metal group, but the groove hasn’t jelled yet.
As for Vinyl Pilot, well, let’s just say that the quintet’s blend of alt-rock and pop-punk overstayed its welcome by about 20 minutes. Yes, VP members Jeff Whittaker, Kyle Burkett, Patrick Hunter, Alden Eriksen and David Tapp had energy to spare, but it was chaotic energy. There was no rhyme or reason to the bounce. Lead singer Whittaker was literally shouting into the microphone, so much so that his voice was getting muffled. And those songs grew blander as the set neared its 45-minute mark. There’s no groove to Vinyl Pilot, and the band sure needs it.
Midnight Empire Pure and Simple
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Energy. It’s the key ingredient in a great rock show. Looks, style, talent and songwriting – they ar...Energy. It’s the key ingredient in a great rock show. Looks, style, talent and songwriting – they are the lettuce, tomato and mayo of the Rock hoagie. Midnight Empire brings the meat. “They were handpicked by Slash as the best rock band in Dallas,” says manager Kevin Huckabee.
Art Struck (guitarist and graduate of L.A.’s Musicians Institute), Jacob Henderson (vocals) and Matt Cook (drums) can definitely bring it. Their full length CD, Everything and Nothing, was recorded in 12 hours yet sounds like the top pros. Their sound? “It’s Rock and Roll. Pure and Simple,” says Huckabee. “Fans get into it because it’s genuine. It comes from a real place and our live performances are even better than what you hear on the record.”
Although the musicianship is excellent, it may be Henderson’s vocals that set Midnight Empire apart. “The Dallas Morning News compared Jacob’s voice to Axl Rose,” Huckabee says. Others have mentioned Bon Scott and Robert Plant. All good company to be in, but Huckabees looks at it differently. “He has his own voice, very identifiable. When you hear one of our songs at a random store or on TV, people immediately know who it is.
While the band is focused solely on writing good songs and not on reaching superstardom, they are landing some sweet gigs. They opened for Days of the New and you can catch them on October 7 at Trees where they will be main support for Dead Sara.
Warped Magazine Exclusive Interview
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Tell us about where you are from and how you got to this position today. Art: Well we’re from Dalla...Tell us about where you are from and how you got to this position today.
Art: Well we’re from Dallas Texas. Myself, Art the guitar player is from Corpus and the other two guys are from Dallas. We really got in this position trying to fill a void. There was no body writing what we considered really legit rock ”n’ roll so I was fortunate enough to find two other dudes who had the same musical drive and long term goals as I did. So basically we got to be where we did by wanting to fill a niche that we don’t feel is being accommodated right now musically.
Matt: So I’m from Dallas and I got to this position when I was playing in another band at the time and that was going alright, but my buddy Rico who was my assistant drum director in high school called me up one day and said he has these buddies who have this rock ‘n’ roll band and they just canned their drummer. They’re looking for a new guy and he said I would be perfect. So I came in to audition with them and pretty much the rest is history.
Jacob: How we got to this position? Fucking been there and done that as far as the music scene in Dallas and just wasn’t working in my favor at all. Got out of music for a couple of years, got dealt a nasty hand in a relationship, that was a huge worthless waste of my life, and eventually got back into music doing cover work and what not. Then I ran into an old buddy of mine, we were playing golf, and he told me Art (the guitar player) was back from California where he had graduated from MIT . He gave me his number and said you know you guys should hook up and see what happens. The rest is history.
What do you have coming up? What are some of the new projects we can expect to see?
Art: The most noteworthy thing that is coming up is that we just signed a radio and licensing deal with a company called Tinderbox Music, and our shit is being pedaled out to 300 different college radio stations all across the continental North America, including Canada. Thats why I said that, and it’s looking like we might have some potential licensing deals like around the fall for our shit to be placed in television and film. That’s the biggest thing.
Matt: What we have coming up, lets see, one thing about this band that I think a lot of bands can’t say is that we are always constantly writing new material. Everyday that we get together we are either jamming something new or writing something new. We’re always progressing, never staying in one place. I guess I could say there is a new album coming in the future. We probably have at least half written. It’s all tentative, nothing for sure, but that is definitely in the works as of now, and its going to be way more kick ass than the first one. Not that the first one wasn’t kick ass.
Jacob: Yeah the Tinderbox thing is a big deal and like Matt said we got the album that should be coming your way sooner or later. I think with the first album bands are always kind of discovering who they are, and I do think “Everything and Nothing” was a pretty big stepping stone for the three of us. But like Matt was saying we’re continuing to write, and I’m pretty excited for what the second album is going to sound like because it really is to me a more evolved writing set for Midnight Empire. It’s just going to keep evolving like this. It’s just killer, killer music. I couldn’t be happier. Of course we’ve got some shows coming up. We’ve got one at Trees in Dallas on August 25th, opening for a pretty big reunion band, and also we’ve got some gigs out of town we’re about to hit the road on for just a little bit, and that’s pretty much whats coming up.
Tell us more about the current song you are promoting to everyone.
Art: “Can’t Get Enough, ” fuck, I dunno, it’s a steel-toed, boot to the fucking mouth is what it is. A big, groovy, fuck you riff rock, and if you don’t like it you can get the fuck out.
Matt: I have nothing to add to that.
Jacob: “Can’t Get Enough” is definitely a Midnight Empire signature on the breast. It is everything that we stand for; great rock ‘n’ roll. And it’s kind of a sexy tune. If you listen to the lyrics, it’s definitely about a, I don’t want to say one night stand, but it’s definitely a rock ‘n’ roll nasty relationship. “How ya coin? See you never.”
How does your music separate yourself from other artists and bands out there?
Art: We’re a rock ‘n’ roll band. That’s it. That’s why we’re different. We’re a fucking rock ‘n’ roll band. We write our own songs, you can hum every goddam part of it, you can sing every chorus, there’s a riff, there’s a groove, you can tell when there’s a section change, and it ain’t fucking indie, it’s not indie alternative, it’s not electronic, it’s not anything other than rock ‘n’ fucking roll. That’s what makes us different.
Matt: I think one thing that makes us different from a lot of the bands, especially where we are in Dallas, is that our main focus is the songs. The arrangements of them, the melodies, the rhythms, everything is very, I wouldn’t say nit picky, but there’s a reason we’re playing everything that we’re playing. I think a lot of bands kind of get together, you know, play their breakdowns, and their whatever, call it a day, but we really put some time into the actual arrangement of the song and make it a song with a specific character. I think that’s why people like to listen to us so much, because there’s such a wide variety with every song, and it all makes sense.
Jacob: Right on par with what Matt and Art just said, the reason we are who we are is because we grew up listening to some of the best rock ‘n’ roll bands and for the last ten or so years it’s been spotty on rock ‘n’ roll. And just this indie pop bullshit or whatever it just doesn’t drive me home. I don’t get off work from having a long hard day and turn on the radio to some puss puss bullshit. I want to hear some driving rock ‘n’ roll that really kick starts my life again and lets me know “Oh yeah, that’s what it means.” And we’re trying to put that back into the industry because like it or not history repeats itself and we’re not part of this trend follower bullshit. We want to be known as trend setters. Period.
Tell us about one of the hardest challenges you had to face in the industry?
Art: One of the biggest challenges is getting the right people to notice you. I think too locally a big challenge is trying to infiltrate certain media outlets because it’s very cliquey and because we are swimming against the tide. If we’re not fucking wearing skinny jeans and don’t have an iMac onstage with processed loop, there are certain magazines and radio personalities that don’t give a hot fuck. Being alternative in the purest sense of the word, it’s kind of an uphill battle trying to get people to listen the fuck up because you’re not doing whatever everyone else is doing.
Matt: I pretty much agree with Art. Just finding people who get it, who understand where we’re coming from and what we’re doing. Going back to all the trends that are happening right now obviously we are not that, so when people hear our band some people might think “Oh this has been done before or that’s just like this other band,” but that’s not what we’re doing. We’re bringing that flavor back in our own way. Nowadays people don’t even go out to see bands, it’s not the thing to do. We want to bring that experience back and it is a struggle.
Jacob: The motivation is the music itself, but it’s not very motivating when you go out and see a lot of indie pop bullshit bands dressed up like a bunch of suit wearing … nah I can’t say that word in an interview.
Jacob: It’s just seeing this stuff and realizing we are out there to bring music back. It’s a huge challenge, but at the same time it’s all we’re living and all we’re breathing for; this day to come. It must come because that’s the way it is.
What was one of the biggest set backs in your career and how did you bounce back?
Art: I would say the biggest setbacks are dealing with slime bags from all corners of America and local industry sharks. Some of your biggest setbacks are your own mental blocks you set up, when you get discouraged when you’re hammering it out everyday and you don’t really see progress for a month or two. I think then kind of getting a little bummed out about it. I would say that’s the biggest setback for me, the ones that are self imposed.
Matt: Yeah I would agree just because I mean, thankfully, a lot of good things have happened to this band in a very short amount of time. We are moving forward very fast but just like Art said, fast is never fast enough. So we’re trying to accomplish all these things and it’s in our heart and soul that this happens. So in a month or two when nothing happens or we get our hopes up for something and it ends up being total bullshit, those are the sort of setbacks that we face. We’re a new band and it’s just us learning what to expect and how we should bounce back from that.
Jacob: The bass player thing has been kind of a bummer. I played bass on the album knowing that we were going to get a bass player. We get a bass player and it doesn’t work out. Then we start trying out other bass players and that stuff isn’t working out. So now I have to possibly pick up the bass again until we find somebody because we definitely are not just gonna have a revolving door of bass players coming in and out. The next one is going to be the right one and the last one. We won’t accept anything less than the best. It’s been a struggle but that’s fine because I’ll keep playing the bass until we find somebody. It ups our stage presence by 99% when I’m bass free.
What are some things artists need to be careful of?
Art: Scumbags. I think too artists, musicians, and bands need to be very selective about the opportunities they pursue. Just because somebody puts a contract in front of your face don’t sign it or pursue it just because there is an opportunity. Like really be selective and follow your gut. There have been countless times when people have come to us and offered us stuff and it seemed really appealing, but we knew it wasn’t the right decision. I think had we taken those opportunities it could have ended very bad. Try to be patient and wait for quality over quantity in terms of the opportunities you take on.
Jacob: A lot of things I see out there are really nauseating because I see other bands and musicians, wannabe musicians, they go out and they pick the clothing and they pick the fashion before the music. So basically what it is, is just shit fireworks to finally set off the big one and it’s just a dud. If more bands and musicians focused on the music as opposed to the party life and everything that comes along with the music they’d probably be doing the world a lot better. I would say the last time that happened was probably the 90's.
Matt: If you’re forming a band you need to ask yourself, “Why am I going to play this style of music? Why am I going to play in this type of band?” That’s because a lot of people just want to be in a band to meet chicks or to party all night or just to be a part of a scene, but to me the only reason to play music is to play the music in your heart. When you’re seeing a live band you can tell when all of the people on stage are really loving it and just having a 100% natural experience. They’re not up there acting you know. People can tell that. You need to ask yourself, “Why am I going to do this?” If you can’t figure out a reason other than partying or meeting girls or whatever, then you should probably do something else because you’re not doing anybody any good.
What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?
Art: Do what you do because it’s what you want to do and ignore fucking trends. That is the philosophy, essence of rock ‘n’ roll. It’s following your own intuition, your own wants and desires irregardless of whats culturally acceptable or whats trending. Be authentic.
What is one of your favorite ways to promote yourself and your music?
Jacob: I would say live.
Art: The tried and true formula that’s worked for the last sixty years. Ever since Little Richard and Chuck Berry. Just playing our music. It’s also different now because we live in a different, changing, social, media landscape. Everything is social media. Everybody’s on Twitter, on fucking Reverberation. Everybody’s on Facebook. It’s easy to get over saturated information and the best way is to get in front of a crowd and fucking show ‘em your shit.
Where can people visit you?
Buy debut album “Everything and Nothing”:
Danger Dog Music Reviews
“Midnight Empire: Everything and Nothing (Melodic) Hard Rock”
Dallas Morning News Article 1
“Dallas band Midnight Empire plays rock ‘n’ roll, pure and simple”
Dallas Morning News Article 2
“Concert review: Dallas band Midnight Empire preserves pure rock ‘n’ roll
Dallas Morning News Article 3
“Spotlight: One Year Anniversary”
Dallas Morning News Article 4
“Midnight Empire frontman Jacob Henderson to sing National Anthem.
“Dallas Rock Band Midnight Empire Out To Make It Big”
“Midnight Empire Album Review”
“Emerging Artist Pick”
Midnight Empire Bring Face-Melting Texan Hard Rock
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Texas is famed for its rich country, western and rock music history and culture. With bands and musi...Texas is famed for its rich country, western and rock music history and culture. With bands and musicians of a legendary status having come out of the state such as Buddy Holly, Pantera, King’s X and more, it’s no wonder that the guitar genre is alive and kicking with an itch for wider recognition.
Step up Midnight Empire. Hailing from Dallas this trio have only been together for a little over a year and have already got their debut album ‘Everything and Nothing’ turning heads. Take this blurb for example -
“Front-man Jacob Henderson breathes soul and fire into Midnight Empire with rapturous vocals while guitar Art Struck, drums Matt Cook, and interim bass Adam Horn add unstoppable groove, under-the-skin melodies, and a killer attitude that will either have your jaw dropping or entire body raging.”
Sounding just like the classics you love with a contemporary twist Midnight Empire may not offer anything especially new to the scene but they compensate for that by arguably besting the legends at their own game.
These guys sound out their heart through their instruments and music, with the live experiences to back up their credentials. And who said guitar music was as dead as the dodo?
Midnight Empire are yet another guitar band waiting in the wings for their wave to carry them through. Keep an ear out for these guys.
Midnight Empire Everything and Nothing Album Review
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Texas' Midnight Empire is another good reason to thank the Lord above that classic American hard roc...Texas' Midnight Empire is another good reason to thank the Lord above that classic American hard rock is still alive and relevant. Their debut disc Everything and Nothing is no muss, no fuss, straight up rock.
Midnight Empire: which way's the camera?
You'll hear some significant influences here, like GnR, Aerosmith, and AC/DC, but also enough modern sensibility like Alter Bridge. The power trio puts emphasis on strong vocals, impressive guitar licks, and a steady, vigorous, rhythm section. They mix melody with groove and rock gusto, and sometimes you'll hear some a blues undercurrent as on Two Against One or Under the Table.
The effective wild card here is vocals of Jacob Henderson. Sometimes he can sound like some wicked cross between Geddy Lee and Myles Kennedy as on Under the Table. Then combined with the music you'd think he and the band sound like a modern Aerosmith on Can't Get Enough. It's the best track here. Later, on the ballad Sign of the Times, he's simply powerful and emotional. Midnight Empire better not lose this dude.
Midnight Empire's Everything and Nothing is a strong and entertaining effort from an immensely talented and promising band. Quite recommended.
Midnight Empire frontman Jacob Henderson to sing National Anthem at Frisco RoughRiders game
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Jacob Henderson, the frontman of Dallas-based rock band Midnight Empire, landed a plum yet intimidat...Jacob Henderson, the frontman of Dallas-based rock band Midnight Empire, landed a plum yet intimidating gig: He’s going to sing the National Anthem at the July 30 Frisco RoughRiders game at Dr. Pepper Ballpark.
Henderson scored the opportunity this afternoon after his audition before Gabriel Wilhelm, director of game entertainment for the RoughRiders.
“He said I gave him chill bumps and he has never scheduled a date the same day as an audition,” Henderson told me about his conversation with Wilhelm.
Henderson, a strong vocalist who can wail like Appetite for Destruction-era Axl Rose, is naturally relishing the opportunity to sing one of the most iconic, revered and patriotic songs ever written. But he’s also honored to represent Midnight Empire as he pays homage to this country and the cherished sport of baseball.
But is he nervous? The National Anthem is, after all, one of the most scrutinized compositions. Many have attempted to do it justice and failed miserably.
“Of course I’m a little nervous,” he said, “but I’ve been singing the song since I was a kid, so I’m confident I will nail it.”
Concert review: Dallas band Midnight Empire preserves pure rock ’n’ roll
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I don’t think I’ve ever seen women moshing. It’s always men doing the circling and slamming, egged o...I don’t think I’ve ever seen women moshing. It’s always men doing the circling and slamming, egged on by hard rockers cranking onstage.
Dallas’ Midnight Empire changed that. At the foot of the stage, a handful of ladies were getting into the shove-and-shuffle. This concert was 75 minutes of pure rock ’n’ roll delivered with feverish energy.
It was early Sunday morning, a half-hour past midnight, when Midnight Empire blazed onto the Boiler Room platform. The crowd was compact, but rabid. The electricity flowing between band and audience was palpable. Barely a year since its formation, Midnight Empire sounded as tight as veteran rockers. Lead singer Jacob Henderson, guitarist Art Struck, bassist Chad McClintock and drummer Matthew Cook are well-oiled. There were no stops and starts, no sloppiness and certainly no fear.
The material is strong. The Midnight Empire guys write and play no-frills rock ’n’ roll that should never fall out of fashion. Henderson wailed like Axl Rose circa Appetite for Destruction. The rhythm section of Cook, Struck and McClintock whipped up grooves with fiery precision. During “Misery,” “Black Eyes” and “Can’t Get Enough,” staples from Empire’s debut disc Everything and Nothing, the chemistry was as thick and visible as the atmospheric smoke wafting from Cook’s kit.
Yet perhaps even more impressive than the music itself was the unabashed freedom. There were no boundaries. Henderson frequently jumped off the riser and landed smack dab among the fans. Several times Struck and McClintock stepped over the monitors and worked their instruments within inches of the moshers. This was rock ’n’ roll as a completely communal experience.
Henderson and company took advantage of the free-flowing ambience and uncorked a rare live rendition of the R&B-influenced “Borrowed Time,” covered Steel Panther’s “Tiger Woods” (no, it was not about golf!), and offered a few non-CD tunes such as “Lie to Me,” “Lesson Learned” and “Moving On to Something New.”
A couple of other tracks from Everything and Nothing, the Zeppelin-inspired “Under the Table” and the old-school rocker “Sign of the Times,” succinctly defined the band.
Rock ’n’ roll, the brand without qualifying adjectives, lives and breathes in the Big D. For that, thank Midnight Empire.
Dallas Rock Band Midnight Empire Out To Make It Big
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Debut Release "Everything and Nothing" With a huge sound, smooth grooves and a high energy punch,...Debut Release "Everything and Nothing"
With a huge sound, smooth grooves and a high energy punch, Midnight Empire sets their path to make it big on a grand scale. With their recent debut release, "Everything and Nothing", recorded at Crystal Clear Studios, ME is gigging around DFW to prove they have what it takes to be noticed in this town. The band recently received local radio airplay & press from DFW rock station, The Eagle 97.1, which quite frankly is not easy to achieve in Big 'D'. The press continues as the Dallas Morning News will include a full spread set to run Thursday, February 23rd.
Having seen Midnight Empire perform live at the War Of Rock event last October, I can honestly say this band has potential The tightness, high energy they poured throughout their showcase was what I would call a REAL Rock and Roll experience!
Catch Midnight Empire Live: March 3rd at Hailey's in Denton, tentatively March 24th at The Prophet Bar, and April 7th at The Boiler Room.
Dallas band Midnight Empire plays rock ’n’ roll, pure and simple
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Qualifying adjectives are unnecessary: Midnight Empire makes rock music. It isn’t alternative, thras...Qualifying adjectives are unnecessary: Midnight Empire makes rock music. It isn’t alternative, thrash, indie, punk, pop, electronic or metal. It’s rock ’n’ roll, pure and simple.
The Dallas-based band finds creative inspiration in Guns N’ Roses (circa 1987’s Appetite for Destruction ), ’70s-era Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin and early Van Halen. Midnight Empire’s core members — Jacob Henderson on lead vocals, Art Struck on guitar and Matt Cook on drums — craft groove-heavy tunes with enough fiery rock swagger to set the stage ablaze.
“I wear that as a badge,” says Struck, 25, as he sits inside Deep Ellum’s Boiler Room. “I get out a lot and I see indie, electronica bands. Everybody is staying left and we’re going right.”
It might be an uphill climb, since the local music scene comes saturated with groups intent on appealing to young, hipster club dwellers. But the Midnight Empire guys aren’t sitting around waiting for the trendy climate to shift. Formed less than a year ago in spring 2011, the band already has a full-length CD, 2012’s Everything and Nothing. The disc, recorded in November at Dallas’ Crystal Clear Studios, includes Empire staples such as “Black Eyes,” “Misery” and the R&B-dipped “Borrowed Time.”
Henderson played bass on Everything and Nothing , as he has since the band’s inception. But the goal was always to give him freedom in concert to do what all memorable rock frontmen do — command the platform. So a recent local search for a permanent bass player turned up 23-year-old Chad McClintock of Plano. He is now officially Midnight Empire’s new bassist. But McClintock is so new that he wasn’t yet on board during our interview and photo shoot.
With all the musical pieces in place, and armed with 10 original songs from Everything and Nothing, Midnight Empire craves the opportunity to be seen and heard. But because the sound is so authentically rock, Henderson, Struck and Cook are mindful of being paired with the right headliners and playing locales that fit their style.
“One of the hardest things is the actual venue,” says Henderson, 30. “The Boiler Room is a cool place. The sound is really good. We don’t want to bring our fans out to have complications. We are not going to get up onstage just to get up onstage.”
But once they do take the spotlight, they refuse to be anything remotely prefabricated. There are no gimmicks, no costumes and no canned sonic additives. These guys make plenty of genuine noise. Henderson’s wail-ready voice blends with Struck’s sizzling guitar riffs and Cook’s muscular drumming.
“A lot of that comes from the fact that we play all our instruments,” says Cook, 20, who joined Midnight Empire last September. “We were born to do this. I started to play drums because my dad liked it and I liked it. I didn’t start doing it to look cool.”
That just might be a byproduct, though. Midnight Empire is picking up the pace: “Misery” is spinning on the KEGL-FM (97.1) “Loud and Local” show hosted by Angela Chase. Plus, more homegrown gigs are coming — March 3 at Hailey’s in Denton, March 24 at the Prophet Bar in Deep Ellum and April 7 at the Boiler Room.
Rock music — no adjectives — still thrives in Midnight Empire.
“We are the last of a dying breed,” Henderson says. “But history will repeat itself. My grass roots are in rock ’n’ roll and I want to play rock ’n’ roll. No apologies.”
Midnight Empire; Emerging Artist Pick
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Last year around this time, no one had heard of the Dallas-based rock band called Midnight Empire. T...Last year around this time, no one had heard of the Dallas-based rock band called Midnight Empire. They were still a few months out from starting a band. Bassist/vocalist Jacob Henderson and guitarist Art Struck hadn't met. And drummer Matt Cook wasn't a glimmer (someone else with sticks came first).
And yet, Midnight Empire comes across as a three-piece that has played together for decades. They have a manager. They have a slate of booked shows. They earned some play time on local stations. They have a self-produced album, up on iTunes and stocked at most Dallas record stores.
"When you look at other local bands, so many seem like they are afraid to do stuff for themselves," says Cook. "They seem like they're waiting around for something to happen."
But not this band. Despite a big rock sound that often harkens back to an era that predates grunge and alternative rock, they have a modern tenacity that's hard to ignore.
They set their lightning pace early last year, shortly after one of Henderson's friends suggested he call Struck. Struck had recently graduated from the Musicians Institute's GIT Program in Hollywood and moved to Dallas in the hope of starting a band too.
When they did meet, it came together naturally. They started writing acoustic arrangements on the same day. They established a definitive direction. They could see who they wanted to be.
All they didn't have was a drummer. And it would take several months before they found Cook. In fact, Henderson and Struck still describe their first drummer experience with an intense bitterness. They call him lame. A fucking idiot. A virgin with STDs.
"We really wanted a band that could collaborate on all ideas," says Henderson. "A lot of times, we piece together stuff and then Art shows up with some chords, and maybe a word or a phrase or a title. And then we all jump in and start dissecting it until something comes out of it that isn't forced."
That's not to say everything comes easy for the band. After advocating that they take a long shot on Kickstarter, band manager Kevin Huckabee had more than a few sleepless nights. Despite one of the better EPKs to showcase the album they wanted to produce, Midnight Empire hit another wall.
Everything And Nothing almost added up to nothing.
Some people liked what they heard enough to share it, but the funding seemed stuck in neutral. And with less than half the funding pledged a few days before the deadline, any excitement had waned. Huckabee even sent a private message to backers, outlining a backup plan with less than 72 hours left.
"We didn't expect anything at that point," said Henderson. "But then Kevin called me two days before it was over and said 'you're not going to believe this but we just got $2,500 from one person.'"
The single contribution reignited the funding, pushing it $11 over the $6,000 needed for studio time at Crystal Clear Sound in Dallas, which has recorded artists ranging from Ted Nugent and Eddie Coker to Tripping Daisy and Doosu. It was also enough to cover their engineer, Kent Stump.
Even so, the band didn't waste a single minute of studio time. Although some songs were written a few weeks prior, the entire album was fully realized before they walked through the doors. It left the band just enough time to wing a few guitar solos and change up some harmonies.
"The album took 37 hours and we recorded our parts in 17 hours, so that was everything. That was the rhythmic beds, that was the overdubs, that was tiny fuck ups," said Struck. "I felt inspired there, like there was a real electricity in air. There was a real wonderment about the whole thing, at least from my perspective."
There was a real wonderment in being funded too, by Struck especially. He admits that he didn't get it [Kickstarter] or even fully appreciate what it meant until he heard a Dallas Morning News report on their success. He gets it now and, like the entire band, couldn't be more grateful.
"That effort — the labor, hustling, promotion — is all Kevin," said Struck. "Now, I just drink beer and play guitar."
Of course, Struck does more than play the guitar. When he isn't making jokes, he is surprisingly reflective about the kind of music he and his bandmates want to make. In working on songs or playing on stage, he strives for a sound that can't be quantified. They only want to be sincere and make genuine rock and roll music like they grew up with, and with a few new twists.
"We do stay real busy as a three piece," adds Henderson. "We've got a lot of jobs going on when we're playing on stage, but we love it. We've even been adding more backup vocals, especially with Matt to liven up our presence."
Midnight Empire Revives Big Rock At 5.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
All in all, there is something likable about the band. And while they really like an early review that described them as "like everything and nothing you ever heard," their real calling card is exactly like Henderson, Struck, and Cook echo on a regular basis. They deliver polished, genuine rock and roll that might not be edgy, but still carries a smooth and sometimes melancholy sound you haven't heard since rock bands in the late 80s started over thinking record sales.
For starters, check out the fast-paced All Used Up, bipolar-ish Tidal Wave, and Take You Home, an up tempo lament about a girl who blows off the guy she goes out with. Ask the band and they'll instinctively pick Black Eyes and Misery. The album, Everything And Nothing, is available on iTunes.
Spotlight on Texas artists: Trebuchet, Midnight Empire and Cary Cooper
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Dallas rock trio Midnight Empire — vocalist and bassist Jacob Henderson, guitarist Art Struck and dr...Dallas rock trio Midnight Empire — vocalist and bassist Jacob Henderson, guitarist Art Struck and drummer Matt Cook — get ready to crank up the volume in the name of its debut CD, Everything and Nothing . Recording the disc was a labor of love, as the band and manager Kevin Huckabee turned to supporters for the funds to release the album. For those who donated, it was well worth the investment. Midnight Empire plays a soulful, rocking merger of Led Zeppelin, Oasis and Stone Temple Pilots.
Celebrate the release of Everything and Nothing during a concert Jan. 21 at the Bone, 2724 Elm St., Dallas that also features opening acts the Dead Mockingbirds and Krash Rover. The music starts at 9 p.m. with the Dead Mockingbirds, then Krash Rover at 10 p.m. and Midnight Empire at 11 p.m. It's a 21 and over crowd only, with admission set at $5. For more information, go to thebonedeepellum.com.
Midnight Empire at the Jam Station
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Take a little soulful swagger from Led Zeppelin, a bit of the psychedelic angst of Oasis and a smidg...Take a little soulful swagger from Led Zeppelin, a bit of the psychedelic angst of Oasis and a smidgen of the dark intensity of Stone Temple Pilots and you come up with dallas' Midnight Empire. The three-man-bandlead singer-bassist Jacob Henderson, guitarist-songwriter Art Struck and drummer Brent Baker- is ready to beef up its nORTH tEXAS presence. A four-track EP, Soluna, is now finished. It includes the beat-heavy rockers "Borrowed Time" and "Black Eyes." A conceptual clip for "Borrowed Time" will be shot in September. In addition, a live concert Blu-ray shoot at Dallas' Wave Maker Audio is on tap for early 2012. Meanwhile, these dedicated guys are forging ahead. After forming in early 2011, Midnight Empire is doing what every other original musical outfit should do. The group is armed with tunes, promotional material, a website (www.midnightempireband.com) and a burgeoning fan base. The only thing left to do is take the stage.
Guitar Shop TV December Artist Showcase Winner
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Guitar Shop TV is pleased to announce Dallas rockers Midnight Empire as our December Artist Showcase...Guitar Shop TV is pleased to announce Dallas rockers Midnight Empire as our December Artist Showcase winners.
Conceived as a sort of snotty bastard offspring of AC/DC and Guns N Roses, Midnight Empire are a hard-rocking bunch of lads from Dallas, Texas. Like GNR, Midnight Empire have got a look, a sound, and an attitude. The band has already made waves locally and nationally, having landed more than a dozen television licensing deals for their songs and garnered airplay on stations across the country. We were definitely impressed with Midnight Empire’s hard-driving rock sound, and we think you will be to when you check out this live clip of the band making their television debut on Oklahoma Live. Stay tuned for big things from this band, including an expanded feature here on Guitar Shop TV.
Moving On To Something New
All Used Up
Lie To Me
Under The Table
2 Against 1
Sign of the Times
Anything But Fake
Can't Get Enough
Take You Home
What's It All About
Guns N' Roses - I Used to Love Her 3:14
Guns N' Roses - Night Train 4:32
AC/DC - Have a Drink on Me 3:59
Led Zeppelin - Hey Hey What Can I Do 3:58
AC/DC - If You Want Blood 4:28
Stone Temple Pilots - Unglued 2:35
Ozzy - Bark at the Moon 4:18
Velvet Revolver - Fall to Pieces 4:30
Motorhead - Damage Case 3:03
Rolling Stones - Wild Horses 5:21
Rolling Stones - Honkey Tonk Women 3:02
Aerosmith - Train kept a Rollin' 5:41
Aerosmith - Last Child 3:20
The Cult - She Sells Sanctuary 4:20
The Cult - Wild Flower 3:39
Alice in Chains - Man in a Box 4:32
Alice Cooper - No More Mr. Nice Guy 3:08
Temple of the Dog - Hunger Strike 4:10
Audioslave - Doesn't Remind Me 4:17
Social Distortion - Ball and Chain 4:43
Lenny Kravitz - Always on the Run 3:54
Slash - Mean Bone 4:00
Iron Maiden - Wasted Years 5:00
Fleetwood Mac - The Chain 4:30
PDF RiderMidnight Empire Rider
|Jul 18, 2013 Thursday||3:00 PM||Rock USA||Oshkosh, WI, US|
|Rock festival featuring epic current and past rock bands.|