Great Lakes Myth Society
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Great Lakes Myth Society


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The best kept secret in music


"For folk-influenced band, a new name meant new buzz"

If there's one thing the members of the Great Lakes Myth Society have learned it's never to underestimate the impact of a name change.

Since the '90s, the members -- brothers Timothy and James Monger, Greg McIntosh (he's also a member of the Victrolas), Scott McClintock and Fido Kennington -- have been played around Michigan as the co-ed folk collective the Original Brothers and Sisters of Love. After violinist Liz Auchinvole moved to Toronto, the remaining members decided they would change their name and look, but keep the same smart folksy sound.

"Once we changed the name and started wearing suits on stage, we had people paying more attention. Our show is a more streamlined and we rock out a bit more live, but the folk roots and elements are still there," Timothy Monger says.

The Great Lakes Myth Society took advantage of the "new band buzz" surrounding them. Since, the group has collected accolades from the critical local music press and fellow musicians.

The band's self-titled debut CD, on the Stop, Pop and Roll label, was meant to be the last album for Original Brothers and Sisters of Love. The disc, which includes 15 beautifully-crafted and instantly likable tunes, received high praise from All Music Guide, and from Web blogs, such as and Datawhat.

The Great Lakes Myth Society has played at the standard rock venues, including Small's, Lager House and the Belmont. In 2005, the band performed at the packed CD-release party for pop group Pas/Cal at the Magic Stick (the Brothers and Sisters of Love could never quite capture the attention of this venue).

Next, the Great Lakes Myth Society will tour in support of its self-titled release. Catch the band's return to Jacoby's tonight for the Motor City Music Conference.

"I think it's a great thing for Detroit, and all the bands playing it," says Monger, who also performs as a solo artist. In 2004 he released the album "Summer Cherry Ghosts." - Melody Baetens - Detroit News

"Album Review"

In Canada, we cherish the Great Lakes. In elementary school, we study the hell out of them, paying close attention to the largest one, the smallest, the deepest, the coldest, the longest, the shortest and just about every other word that ends in “est.” However, not once in all my years of study did I hear of any sort of conspiracy surrounding them. Odd that 20 years later, this oceanic conspiracy comes to me via a group of Ann Arbor guys making beautiful music about one of Canada’s geographical masterpieces. Instrumentation on this album is second to none and lyrically its as though these guys are pure bred Canadians. Snowshows, Indians, the Northern Lights, canoes, and maple trees. With such a blatantly north of the 49th parallel lexicon, it’s astounding these guys aren't Canadians. I guess there’s another mystery. Regardless, there’s music to discuss.
“Love Story” is the perfect blend of folk and rock, taking its place among such bands as Okkervil River. Mandolins join violins in perfect unison and sound effects provide great layering for the vocals. “Big Jim Hawkins” is a distinctly Irish song about a bar room brawl that leads to some serious bloodshed. A heavy-barreled violin winds its way through the song like a harlot avoiding flying beer bottles as the brawl rages on. “Isabella County, 1992” is Pogues-inspired gem that leads to the band singing in unison. It explodes with all the orange and green flare of an Irish countryside, but is so pure that it’s as though the chord progressions had never before been made. “Seeds For Sale” is operatic in its delivery with a rising beat joined wonderfully by a string section that has surely heard one or two operas in its lifetime. Pounding sounds work perfectly with the haunting cry of ‘SEEDS FOR SALE’. “Lake Effect” closes the album as wildly as it begins. Vocal tracks overlay each other as trumpet drift in moments before an explosion of ba-ba-ba-bops and some winding guitars.

“Across the Bridge” and “The Northern Lights Over Atlanta, MI” are somewhat downfalls on the album. Each songs somehow comes across like its meant to be performed at an outside gathering for teenagers who love Jesus, and the chorus on the latter sounds almost identical to the chorus from Rasputin by Boney M. However, such minor hiccups do little to disestablish this album as a true gem.

While Great Lakes Myth Society gears up to release this album, one can only hope that lake-dwellers on both side of that infamous line get a chance to hear it. It’s success lies in its genre-bending ability and almost limitless reservations. Thundering drums join epileptic violins in perfect unison, creating an album that is both uplifting and thought provoking. - Darren Susin


"Michigan Represent"

For years, The Original Brothers and Sisters of Love - an Ann Arbor-based sextet fronted by songwriters Tim Monger, James Christopher Monger, and Greg McIntosh - have enjoyed immense popularity, belting out their unique brand of indie-folk. When violinist Liz Auchinvole split for Toronto in late 2003, the band re-formed as Great Lakes Myth Society, keeping the rest of the lineup intact, with Fido Kennington on drums and J. Scott McClintock on bass. Now, GLMS is releasing its debut album on indie label Stop, Pop, and Roll.
The self-titled record is a triumph - wild and tender all at once, drunken swagger mixed with lilting melodies, rough and tumble as a downriver Detroit bar, and as aching and open as a northern lake in winter. Before heading out on a tour which includes stops at the prestigious South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Tim Monger and Greg McIntosh talk about their home state, falling off stages, and their Japanese fans.

Ann Arbor Paper: I've lived in Ann Arbor most of my life, but I can't say I've really seen much of our state. What parts of Michigan deserve more exploration?
Tim Monger: I love the Leelenaw Peninsula, Traverse Bay, that area. It's like the Napa of Michigan-wine country. Of course, it turns into snowmobile country in the winter. The Lake Michigan ice is beautiful and enchanting. And in the U.P., I like Copper Harbor, the Keewenaw Peninsula. Towns like Calumet.

A2P:How did you guys come up with your new band name? Were there other names bandied about that didn't make the cut?
Greg McIntosh: Yeah, for a while we considered Bile Pilot. Another one was the Pussy Hummingbears.
TM: I liked the Wonderful Little Pecan Guys. I thought we could dress up in giant foam pecan suits. We'd try and get a reputation as tough guys-if someone brushed up against our pecan suits we'd be like, "Hey, what the fuck!" and start a fight. We'd be very ornery pecan guys.
GM: Like an Old West saloon - when we entered the bar everyone would get real quiet and watch us nervously. The record needle would stop.

A2P: How did you guys first meet?
GM: High school [in Brighton]. I was always the guy who wrote songs in his bedroom and never played 'em for anyone. One day I felt brave and I walked up to Tim and asked if I could play shows with him. I hardly knew him at the time.
TM: I'd been playing music with my brother Jamie. He was four years older than me; I learned to drink with him and his friends, and somehow we became an acoustic duo, goofing around, playing retarded songs. I knew immediately Greg was a friend I'd have for a long time. He had one practice with me and Jamie and then played his first show with us. It was a trial by fire.
GM: I basically learned the songs while we were onstage.

A2P: Now you've been playing together for almost a decade. What's the craziest thing that's happened at one of your shows?
GM: In Austin, Texas, I fell off the stage. I was playing and just got over-excited, I guess. It was one of those things where you're really involved with what you’re doing, and you see this bad thing unfolding but are powerless to intervene. Instead of putting out my hands to stop myself, I just went tumbling over into the crowd.

A2P: Is there anything else I should have asked you guys but didn't?
TM: I read this article about the Chemical Brothers and they said whenever they do interviews in Japan, the last question they always get asked is, "Do you have a message for your Japanese fans?" And they can never really think of anything good to say.

A2P: Well, do you have a message for your Japanese fans?
GM: Maybe we should shoot for our Ypsilanti fans.

A2P: Do you have a message for your Ypsi fans?
TM: Yes. If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.

- Davy Rothbart - Ann Arbor Paper

"Folk Band's Album No Longer a Myth..."

One name change, one bankrupt record label and one year of waiting, and Ann Arbor band Great Lakes Myth Society finally is ready to release its self-titled CD like a Lake Superior gale against the rail of a doomed steamer.

A CD-release party has been planned for March 10 at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, but the album has been finished since fall 2003. Back then, the band was called The Original Brothers and Sisters of Love and the album was called H.O.M.E.S., Vol. 2, the group's second set of folk-rock seeped in Michigan lore.

Two weeks after its completion, the band's label went under. Then the group's violinist, who was about to give birth to her first child, said she couldn't be a mom and play in a rock band.

"It was kind of a depressing time," Timothy Monger said. "We finished our grand statement of an album, and we didn't have any money, we didn't have a label, our violinist was leaving. We basically disbanded for a while."

On Jan. 1, 2004, the remaining five members listened to the album and decided it was too good to abandon, and Great Lakes Myth Society was born.

"It was a hard album to make," Monger said. "Now to have it finally unleashed on the world is very, very exciting and a great relief."

The CD is packed with allusions to such Michigan institutions as brown tap water, shipwrecks, derailed trains, pine trees, miners, salted roads and getting drunk.

"In a town where the drinkers are plowed like the roads," James Monger sings on Isabella County, 1992, his musical tribute to his time at Central Michigan University.

The Monger brothers and guitarist Gregory McIntosh share songwriting duties, putting in more research time than your typical rock band.

"We are definitely scholarly in our songwriting," Timothy Monger said. "My brother and I have both been known to visit the Bentley Historical Library (at the University of Michigan) to do research."

All five members pitch in on vocals, giving songs a cappella soundscapes that sound like loggers slinging mugs of ale around a tavern. Monger cited such influences as old sea chanteys and pioneering folk-rock band Fairport Convention.

You might wonder whether anyone outside Michigan will be interested in hearing songs that reference St. Ignace or Grand River Avenue. Monger said the fact that the band was approached by a Texas record label is encouraging.

"Dropping The Original Brothers and Sisters of Love and changing our name to a slightly shorter and more arcane moniker wasn't the brightest idea from a marketing standpoint," he said, "but we think it will work."

-Bill Chapin - The Times Herald

"Album Review"

Few bands state their intent as clearly in their very name as the Great Lakes Myth Society. The Southeastern Michigan-based quintet is singularly captivated with their home state, conjuring legends from the past and meditating on living in the state in the present day. These obsessions bubbled to the surface on H.O.M.E.S., Vol. 1, the 2001 second album by the Original Brothers and Sisters of Love, which is the former incarnation of the Great Lake Myth Society. Four years later and minus one member — violinist/vocalist Elisabeth Auchinvole, who nevertheless is present on Great Lakes Myth Society's eponymous 2005 debut, and even receives a "featuring" special billing in the credits — the group re-emerges as a similar but distinctly different beast, at once stronger, stranger and all the more compelling than before. While the blending of folk, rock, pop and prog will be familiar to anyone acquainted with the two TOBASOL albums, Great Lakes Myth Society explores more territory and delves deeper than either of those two records, resulting in an album that tantalizingly hangs in a place just out of time and fashion. What's most fascinating about the album is that the band's two main singer/songwriters, the brothers James Christopher and Timothy Monger, reach common ground by following two different paths. James's songs are rough and ragged, rooted in folk and written with a romanticized American gothic bent; his tunes give the album muscle and bone, as well as a haunted soul. Timothy, in contrast, has a softer touch, crafting sweet, breezy pop tunes that are gentle as spring, but never cloying or precious. While the differing perspectives of the Mongers compliment each other well, they're tied together by the band's third singer/songwriter Gregory Dean McIntosh, — the George Harrison to the Lennon/McCartney of James and Timothy. McIntosh's songs on Great Lakes Myth Society fall halfway between James' dark, robust, over-sized folktales and Timothy's smaller-scaled, precisely detailed songs, recalling the mood of the former and the introspection of the latter. Throughout it all, certain musical signatures are shared — sighing vocal harmonies out '60s sunshine pop, folk instrumentation played with rock vigor, flourishes of violins or jazz horns, strong memorable melodies that make the complex, suite-like songs sound fluid — and it's all grounded by the sinewy rhythm section of bassist J. Scott McClintock and drummer Fido Kennington, who provide a center for the adept multi-instrumental skills of the Mongers and McIntosh. It all results in a spellbinding, fascinating album, one that sounds like little else in the past or present. - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
- All Media Guide

"The Upbeat"

Name: Great Lakes Myth Society.

Formed: January 2004 in Ann Arbor.

Sound: Folk-flavored rock.

Members: Timothy Monger, vocals and guitar; James Christopher Monger, vocals and guitar; Gregory Dean McIntosh, vocals and guitar; J. Scott McClintock, bass and vocals; and Fido Kennington, drums and vocals.

Influences: The Pogues, Paul Clayton, Alan Lomax field recordings, the Zombies, the Left Banke, the Beach Boys, Camper Van Beethoven.

Day jobs: Tim Monger works on violins at Sar Products in Ann Arbor; Kennington is a drum teacher in Flint; and James Monger, McIntosh and McClintock all work for the All Music Guide in Ann Arbor.

What's in a name?: Great Lakes Myth Society was the name for the mailing list and news forum for the quintet's previous band, the Original Brothers and Sisters of Love (TOBASOL). "We already felt like sort of a secret society since no one had picked up on us," Tim Monger explains. "It was kind of an inside joke; it felt kind of secret and unknown. We liked that sort of anonymity."

So you wanna be a star: After TOBASOL's label folded and its violinist quit, the remaining members thought about quitting but ultimately regrouped under a new name. Its self-titled first album is a thematic piece featuring songs set in various Michigan locations. "My brother and I were sort of weaned on themes," Monger says. "Our mother used to dye our milk green on St. Patrick's Day, y'know? Even on our first album as TOBASOL, we were writing songs based on our home town and the region. So the themes are sort of inevitable, and we feel comfortable writing that way."

Who knew?: James Monger used to work for the Michigan Fish and Wildlife Commission, killing sea lampreys that attached themselves to fish in the Chippewa River.

Favorite gig: A show last New Year's Eve in Ann Arbor "put us on track for a good year," Monger says. "We've been playing a lot of these songs for a long time, but when we got a whole room of people who were new to us, hearing them for the first time, it made us feel like we were playing them for the first time, too. It definitely got the energy up."

What's next: Tim Monger says that, like any band, the members of GLMS would most like "to quit our day jobs and be musicians full-time." For now, however, he says the group hopes "to tour and find good, national distribution and an audience. When we were playing as TOBASOL we couldn't get a gig in Detroit. Now people are picking up on us and we've even had to turn down a couple of gigs, which is a complete first for us."

Hear 'em: GLMS's self-titled album will be released April 19 on the Boston-based Stop, Pop, and Roll label.

See 'em: The group celebrates the release of "Great Lakes Myth Society" on Saturday at Jacoby's, 624 Brush St., Detroit. Brandon Wiard and Kelly Caldwell also are on the bill. Showtime is 10 p.m. Admission is $5. Call (313) 962-7067 or visit www.

Surf 'em: www.greatlakes

- Gary Graff
- Oakland Press

"Long Named Band Has Good Record"

The Great Lakes Myth Society is a band name that may not roll off your tongue. It may give you visions of the Midnight Society from the cast of Nickelodeon's "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" (don't act like you don't know who they are). The Great Lakes Myth Society may also catch you off guard with their original sound.

With their self-titled release, the Ann Arbor, Mich., band is able to share their blend of indie/folk rock influenced by their life and times around the Great Lakes. The band can be considered one part indie rock mixed with something you would tend to associate with dancey, Irish-folk.

TGLMS' influences of bands like XTC and the Pogues are easy to hear through the album's outstanding production values and on songs such as "Love Story" and "Big Jim Hawkins."

That is not to say that they are copying what these bands have done. TGLMS have taken these sounds and made them their own with their own distinct style. The traditional guitar, drums and bass are here, but mixed with a variety of strings, TGLMS gives these instruments an especially unique sound. The group's harmonies are also something that puts them in a different class, and are a joy to listen to as they show on the opening track, "The Salt Trucks."

The group is also able to flex their love-for-rock muscle when they choose to do so like on the guitar-driven "Seeds For Sale," accompanied by some fantastic female vocals.

TGLMS suffers when it comes to their band name, sadly. Their name alone may turn people off to a record that can be fun, rocking and something that you could conceivably do an Irish jig to.
- The Eastern News

"Mitten State Mythologists"

The five guys of Ann Arbor’s Great Lakes Myth Society are seated around a table in the Garden Bowl bar, nursing beers. It’s a Tuesday evening and the gents — clad rather anomalously in button-down shirts and brightly colored ties — are relaxed, talkative and gearing up for a gig later that night.

It’s no surprise then that the mood this evening is light. There’s confidence. The band’s impressive live shows have earned them a flock of new fans through word of mouth, and the group’s self-titled album has received emphatic praise in both local and national press.

The band (guitarist-singers Gregory McIntosh, Timothy Monger and his older brother James, plus bassist J. Scott McClintock, and drummer Fido Kennington) talks about everything from a shared love of their home state to how Neil Diamond, Queen, sea chanteys and, of all things, Iron Maiden helped shape their pop-Americana sound. And after nearly a decade of playing together in one form or another, there’s obvious camaraderie, and it shows in the songs. They’ve been friends for years. During conversation they often finish each other’s sentences, and it’s more gracious follow-up than it is interruption.

"What one of us says, the others will stand behind it," James says, casually.

While James and his brother Timothy serve as the band’s main songwriters and unofficial frontmen, it’s obvious that all involved are equal contributors.

Quick history lesson: This lineup grouped in the ’90s as the Original Brothers and Sisters of Love and released two albums. Before their third album could be released, the band’s label went bankrupt and violinist Liz Auchinvole moved to Toronto to start a family, leaving the remaining crew to start anew. That record, recorded in 2003, is the Great Lakes Myth Society’s self-titled "debut."

"The band felt like it was splintering as we recorded [the album]," Timothy says.

"And the old name was a hindrance for us because people thought we were a hippy jam band," James adds, laughing.

The songs on this "debut" are poppy, literate and lush, accented with strings, accordion, banjo, toy piano and harmonica. Liberal amounts of recorded street noise enhance the group’s narrative tales, which are often fused with imagery of Michigan’s natural features and history. The men of GLMS are open about identifying themselves emotionally with the state, and these 15 songs create more "big mitten" interest than any middle-school state history class ever could. It’s almost as if some "Yes, Michigan!" folks went haywire and recorded an album that the Decemberists could only wish they had. There’s real sensitivity and depth.

An ode to the city of Novi ("No. VI") sounds especially epic. Part of the song’s appeal comes from its banjo twang and unusual percussive devices — handclaps, foot stomps and recordings of a train rolling down tracks. The song swells and is capped with this eagle-eyed observation: "Number Six on the line/To all passersby/Was N-O-V-I."

The poignant (yes, poignant) "Isabella County, 1992," was inspired by James’ stint in Mt. Pleasant. The somber yet optimistic tune refers to such landmarks as the Broadway Theater and the Chippewa Dam, then closes with this goose-bump-goading coda: "Sweetheart, this city has beautiful snow."

The powerful "Buffalo Nickel" uses the same folkish approach, only aggressively. The song builds around thunderstorm sounds, which James says he recorded by holding a microphone out of his Ann Street window when he and his brother once shared a house. James growls "Buffalo Nickel on the concrete," while Timothy wraps ghostly, high-pitched near-whispers around them. The result is a tremendously layered slow burn that builds to a feverish crescendo.

While the Monger brothers write songs that are more expressive in their Michigan themes, McIntosh’s material is a bit off the local map, so to speak.

"For me, it’s weird — I’m in a band with my two favorite songwriters, and these guys kick out these amazing lyrics that are really descriptive, and I don’t find myself in that same category. So I kinda went a different route," McIntosh says.

McIntosh’s songs give the album a different kind of gravity; there’s a certain drone that dovetails seamlessly with long stretches of cold winter days and hot summer nights.

Though the disc is rife with Midwestern Americana overtones, the songs’ pop sensibility weighs in. The entire album is drenched in dense backing vocals that might recall the Beach Boys.

James perks up at the often-tired Beach Boys reference. "When I was in second grade, my parents came running into my bedroom at 3:30 in the morning because ‘Good Vibrations’ was playing on the clock radio, and they decided that they wanted me to hear it," he says. "There’s a reason so many people quote them as an influence — it’s because they’re fucking great."

The band’s live set is polarizing; equal parts campfire sing-along and cathartic rock show. Crisp, four-part a cappella harm - Metro Times

"MCR Profile"

Injecting amphetamines into the dusty veins of folk music, the Great Lakes Myth Society take the oft-stuffy notions of acoustic music and historical timepieces and bend them until they shatter. The band was founded years ago (as the Original Brothers and Sisters of Love) by brothers Tim and Jamie Monger, whose songwriting talents are matched by guitarist Greg Mcintosh's able pen and supported by often five-part harmonies from bassist Scott McClintock and drummer Fido Kennington. Their self-titled album, just released on Stop, Pop and Roll, veers between atmospheric dreams and tooth-rattling rawk, with every shade in between, but their live show is where they change lives. Dressed nattily in skinny-tied suits, the band looks like four snake-oil salesmen and one hit man, and the raw energy that pours out of their instruments is enough to give the audience a sunburn from seven rows back.

Raw-edged and beautiful, charming and terrifying, epic and humble, the band crafts a bizarro blend of mid-period prog (King Crimson, early Genesis), smart pop (Robyn Hitchcock, XTC), late-60s British Folk Rock (Pentangle, Fairport Convention), and legit indie rock (the Decemberists, Andrew Bird, Augie March), bawdy drunken shouts, shape-note singing, Tin Pan alley vaudeville, Appalachian murder ballads, and churning sea shanties that still manages to sound contemporary and not labeled and tagged in some museum (although those guys probably would be into that). -Zac Johnson - Motor City Rocks

"Fresh Water & Alcohol Songs"

Interview with James Christopher Monger of the GLMS...

Mescalina: James, how did you start the band?
James Monger: My brother Tim and I had been home recording since we were in our early teens. When we reached our twenties we brought in Scott, Greg and Fido to help flesh out the material, and it turned out that they had quality material of their own. Our first band, "The Original Brothers and Sisters of Love", recorded two records of drunken majesty for an independent label in New York City, a label that soon found itself bankrupt. We changed our name to "The Great Lakes Myth Society" in January of 2004, threw on five black suits and began to uncontrollably vomit up tales of the region with carnival glee.

Mescalina: And how did you come to such a name? Sounds like a cultural association for the preservation of something …
James Monger: The Great Lakes are actually quite wonderful and terrifying. That much fresh water is bound to lure both poets and potential suicides from near and far, resulting in a rich canon of mythology that is both taut enough to interpret literally and fluid enough to expound on. That it is the region in which we all were raised keeps things authentic. I have never been to Los Angeles, therefore I would feel pompous in writing about it.

Mescalina: Well you could say what you are trying to do is to keep the tradition of american music flowing …
James Monger: This is true, especially since the Lakes have been largely ignored by American pop culture. Old souls are more active near large sources of water, and we have very strong nets.

Mescalina: … and you keep it flowing into fresh waters: is this the reason there's also some pop in your music?
James Monger: Yes, we live in an age where all styles of music are complimentary. Pop, Folk, and Rock music have always been intoxicating when mixed correctly. We are fans of everyone from "XTC" to "Fairport Convention" and "Paolo Conte".

Mescalina: Paolo Conte? He's one of the old and still active souls … Anyway, think there are two different faces in your music: one is more traditional and obscure and the other one is more light and pop …
James Monger: Agreed. It's difficult for us to connect to audiences at times, because our live sets tend to be quite brutal. There's a certain amount of trust that we require, on both sides. We tend to get the same reaction in dirty taverns that we do in larger halls or clubs in this order: suspicion, fear, acceptance and love.

Mescalina: Well, these two faces could be gathered in places you often sing: tradition into alcoholic taverns and pop into clear waters …
James Monger: All this talk of water has engorged my bladder.

Mescalina: Or you could put it in terms of instruments: violin, banjo and accordion versus synth, sound effects, glockenspiel and toy-piano …
James Monger: All of those instruments you mentioned are worthy spices. The trick is to not over-salt the soup.

Mescalina: Roots versus pop?
James Monger: Pop music is just a glossy form of peasant music. It's made to be memorable-and often disposable. We try to inject enough rootsy venom into the mix to parlayze listeners into submission.

Mescalina: Well, it looks dangerous, but your sound is also very clear: how long did you work in studio?
James Monger: The record itself took close to three years, mostly because our previous label went under, leaving us with a finished album and no distribution. We ended up tinkering with it for a while longer before we felt it was ready for daylight.

Mescalina: Vocals play an important role in all of these stories you are singing, they bring a sense of comeback from the past…
James Monger: The human voice is the most powerful of instruments. Five people singing about drinking on a snowy night is far more inclusive than one hungover soul lamenting his morning commute over a shitty, out-of-tune acoustic guitar.

Mescalina: Where did you get stories and characters from? Imagination or did you make any search?
James Monger: The majority of our characters are either invented or embellished. In the case of "Big Jim Hawkins", the protagonist is "Jim Hawkins" from Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island": I liked the idea of a Saltwater sailor and legendary logger Paul Bunyan beating each other up in a Northern Minnesota bar for fifteen years straight. The notion that their deaths {blood} resulted in the creation of the Great Lakes resonates with much of the Native American mythology of the region.

Mescalina: It seems it's all coming from a book of legends …
James Monger: You have to remember that books of legend (the Iliad, Beowulf, the Bible) etc, were once believed to be literal reports of current-and not so current--events. While Science, technology and more importantly the mass media have made new mythologies difficult to lay the seeds for, the legends themselves never lose their romance.

Mescalina: The idea of myth and of fables is living in the record - Mescalina (Italy)


- Great Lakes Myth Society (Stop, Pop & Roll 2005)

The Original Brothers and Sisters of Love:
- H.O.M.E.S. Volume One (Telegraph Co. 2001)
- The Legende of Jeb Minor (Telegraph co. 2000)


Feeling a bit camera shy


To some, the Great Lakes are inland oceans. To others, the large pools of relatively warm water are nothing more than the accelerator of winter weather catalyzed by the arctic air that flows down over them. But for the five men of the Great lakes Myth Society, the five bodies of water that form the chain of freshwater basins are more than that -- they're living souls worthy of celebration and fear. Spurred on by the spirit of their hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan, at the foot of Lake Erie, Great Lakes Myth Society's self-titled debut encompasses every aspect of the Great Lakes region, specifically the dark tales of its people and natural surroundings.

"We've always had a keen sense of geography and the music that turns me on most calls to mind a certain place or era," explains Timothy Monger (vocals, guitars, accordion), "To reference our home in song has always been a natural reaction. It was only when we noticed how strong the themes were that the desire to center our project within the Lakes took hold."

While the band's allegiance to the lakes is ever-present, a good melody is always paramount and it's the combination of the two that fuel Great Lakes Myth Society's alternately pastoral and brutal songs. Take the plaintive "Buffalo Nickel" for example. "Tim and I used to live downtown on Ann Street in a rented house from the 1850s," recalls James Christopher Monger (vocals, guitars). "In June, storm clouds would come in from the west and hold steady over us like a wraith in a Ray Bradbury novel/ I like the idea of severe weather as an apocalyptic hiccup... a window into the past that, for just a brief moment, would re-animate our pre-World War I neighborhood of old. The chimes, thunder, and sirens that appear on the song were recorded on a four-track from my bedroom window during one of these occurrences." Like the coming storm, vocals roll in ever more aggressively until a thunderclap of intertwined vocals and piano sweep the listener into the past.

In "Big Jim Hawkins" a violent Irish conflagration of drums, violin, and acoustic guitar tells the mythical tale of a bar fight between giants finally culminating in the lyric, "Trains derailed and loggers broke their backs/Rivers turned to oceans and the Northern Lights went black/Towns just vanished sunk by spit and sweat/The north lay raped by five Great Lakes called H.O.M.E.S." In "The Northern Lights Over Atlanta, MI" the telling couplet, "When the cold stars work over time to impress you/And the Northern Lights get into your marrow and pull your jawbone slack," sets the stage for a march powered by churning guitars, horns, and the harmonies of the brothers Monger and Gregory Dean McIntosh (vocals, guitars).

Rounded out by the rhythm section of J. Scott McClintock (bass, vocals) and Fido Kennington (drums, vocals), Great Lakes Myth Society held their inaugural meeting on January 1, 2004, two months after the dissolution of their previous incarnation, the Original Brothers and Sisters of Love (TOBASOL). The band has gone to great lengths to capture the spirit of discovery both on and off the stage. Like five applehead men soaking in their respective freshwater tombs, feeling the pulp return to their faces, each day brings the delicious pain of life and the endless need to create.