Kiss Me Quick
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Kiss Me Quick


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The best kept secret in music


"Kiss Me Quick climbs out of a tar pit with "Mastodon""

They're called Kiss Me Quick, but they'll be the first to admit that things went anything but fast when it came to putting out their debut album, The Mastodon.

"If you know us, you're aware that we're not the most motivated guys on the block," Kiss Me Quick bassist Jed Roberts said. "That, coupled with some uncertainty about how we'd put out the album, led to a release date more than a year and half after we recorded the album."

"In short, The Mastodon was trapped in a tar pit," added vocalist/guitarist Jeff Massingill.

Having begun as a band back in early 2001 while all four members attended Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo's Kiss Me Quick, which also includes vocalist/guitarist Ben Ryznar and drummer Nate Cohn, has steadily developed its independent sound by playing live in both the underground and bar scenes.

"For those who don't know, The Mastodon was the rock and roll capitol of Kalamazoo from 2001 to 2003," Roberts said about the album's namesake: a house on Westnedge Ave. in Kalamazoo which often served as a semi-legal live music venue. "While it had five permanent members in its heyday – two of which were Ben and Nate – it was a revolving door of degenerates."

Kiss Me Quick wrote several of the songs appearing on the new album in the basement of this house, making its extinction, and The Mastodon's status as Michigan's state fossil, a fitting homage for the album title. The Mastodon isn't the only inside reference on the album, though, as the song titles clue listeners in on a plethora of other topics and jokes ranging from The Lord of the Rings ("What's Taters?") to "Spinal Tap" ("Smell The Glove") and even the Civil War ("Sherman").

"My goal with 'Sherman' was to write a song about something I had very little knowledge of, with the hope that nerds would approach me after shows and aggressively correct any historical mistakes I may have made," Ryznar said. "Thus far it's been unsuccessful, much to our dismay, since we're always looking to get in the faces of some Civil War geeks. C'mon. There's nothing worse than a bunch of people who dress up in Civil War garb."

In December 2003, Kiss Me Quick began recording what has become The Mastodon with Matt Talbott, of Hum/Centaur fame, at his Great Western Record Recorders in Tolono, Ill.

"Matt is quite possibly the most modest rocker in history," Roberts said about the band's time working with Talbott. "He coaches high school football, beats our asses in first-person-shooters, and drinks his clandestine moonshine from a Vernor's ginger ale bottle. He was refreshed to work with a band that wasn't completely ripping off his music, which he apparently encounters with some frequency. Unfortunately we haven't been able to work with him since then, but if the opportunity presented itself, we wouldn't hesitate. He's an amazingly talented fellow."

During the time Kiss Me Quick worked with Talbott, the band was involved with Down Peninsula Audio, an independent Detroit label. Down Peninsula later changed hands, and in the process, Kiss Me Quick changed labels. They're now working with West Michigan's own Hearts on Fire Records, who will release The Mastodon in August. The whole process of changing labels, along with a professional mastering and mixing session last September with Dave Feeney at Tempermill Studios in Ferndale, Mich., made for quite a tar pit for four recently graduated college guys.

"Let's just say we're happy that it's finally coming out," Cohn said about the album. "Not unlike our friend Eric Owns (guitarist for fellow Kalamazoo band Nobody's Favorite)."

Cohn can get away with such slanderous statements about other local rockers, because in the time it's taken Kiss Me Quick to put out their first record he's not only joined Owns in Nobody's Favorite, he's also gotten the chance to play in Grand Rapids ska legends Mustard Plug.

"The rest of us scoff at this question, as it's quite obvious that if Nate is 'getting' to drum in any band, it's ours," Roberts said when asked about what the rest of the band thinks of Cohn's other opportunities.

Cohn isn't the only one bringing new life into the veteran Mustard Plug live show; bassist Rick Johnson (of Muskegon's The Rick Johnson Rock 'n' Roll Machine and The Wacks Trucks, which also includes Kiss Me Quick's Ryznar) is also helping "light a fire under the rest of the geriatrics in the band," as Cohn puts it. So his rotating behind the kit seems more like a networking opportunity than anything else, and it's sure to help Kiss Me Quick when they hit the road later this summer.

Currently, Roberts said the band plans to head north through the Upper Peninsula, play across the Midwest, then head down south and make their way back through the Eastern seaboard.

"One tasty tidbit: we have a show booked in Omaha under the alias 'The Drunkest Dudes Ever,'" Cohn added. "Look out for that." - Recoil Magazine - July 2005

"Goodbye smooch for Kalamazoo rockers Kiss Me Quick"

If you want to smooch Kiss Me Quick, better pucker up pronto.

Most of the southwestern Michigan-based band will be moving to Oregon shortly after the band's CD-release party for its latest full-length CD, "The Mastodon'' (Hearts on Fire Records).

The Kalamazoo CD-release party is slated for Saturday at Kraftbrau Brewery and features openers The Holy Fire, Rick Johnson Rock and Roll Machine and Mulligan.

The band, in its 100-some shows over the last five years, has shared stages with such indie cred crews as Q and Not U, Don Caballero and Mates of State.

Drummer Nathan Cohn, speaking by phone from a tour stop in Philadelphia, said his bandmates -- bassist Jed Roberts and guitarists/vocalists Ben Ryznar and Jeff Massingill -- don't feel their move across the country signifies a breakup of the group.

We're touring the West Coast in November, and we're coming back to tour the Midwest in January,'' Cohn said. "We're a touring band now, so we're just doing tours. We're not going to be doing a lot of local shows, so when it happens, it's going to matter.''

Cohn said he's staying put in Kalamazoo because he's finishing up his music degree at Western Michigan University, where the four bandmates joined forces as Kiss Me Quick five years ago. Also, he doesn't want to leave his girlfriend or break ties with his other band, local ska heroes Mustard Plug.

"Mastodon'' ought to make for great going-away gifts for the local fans, and Cohn said they're thrilled to be having the CD-release party at Kraftbrau, where he says they've been treated very well over the years.

The band has spent most of August touring throughout the Midwest, and a hilarious audio tour blog account of its adventures is available at the band's Web site at It includes gripes about Iowa toll roads, tales of band members puking, praise for public pools and details about a "sexy library'' in Urbana, Ill.

The band also hosts a blog at The album can be ordered online at for $12 and will be available at the CD-release party for $10.

While the band shares its name with an Elvis Presley record, Cohn said that's not why they became Kiss Me Quick.

"It comes from a B-horror movie,'' he said.

While there's much to recommend about the indie group's latest CD, with such catchy potential singles as "Saburna,'' Cohn said there's not much in favor of their film namesake. He wouldn't recommend watching it.

"I'd definitely say not,'' Cohn said. "It's pretty terrible, actually.''

Kiss Me Quick -- CD-release party for "Mastodon,'' with opening acts The Holy Fire, Rick Johnson Rock and Roll Machine and Mulligan, 9 p.m. Aug. 27, Kraftbrau Brewery, 402 E. Kalamazoo Ave. $5. 384-0288.
- Kalamazoo Gazette, August 26th, 2005

"K'zoo rockers to celebrate CD release"

Indie rockers Kiss Me Quick of Kalamazoo will celebrate the release of their new album Saturday at Kraftbrau Brewery.

"The Mastodon," which is available on Hearts on Fire Records, was recorded by indie legend Matt Talbott (Hum, Centaur) at his Great Western Record Recorders studio in Tolono, Ill. It was later mixed at Tempermill studios in Ferndale in 2003.

"Working with Matt was great," said drummer Nate Cohn. "It's nice to work with someone you trust and really enjoyed growing up."

The result is an album full of off-color cynicism and tales of drunken boredom, including uncorrelated topics about sci-fi movies and the Civil War.

"The songs were tongue in cheek, no historical context. I really have no idea what the songs mean, I play the drums," Cohn said.

The songs are indie rock at its best. Kiss Me Quick is popped up Sunny Day Real Estate, complete with sing-a-longs and plenty of compelling hooks to bait in even the clueless rocker.

"Mastadon's" 11-track series is already receiving national recognition due to the hardworking people at Hearts of Fire Records in Kalamazoo, which also represents Mulligan and Posi.

The album's name stems from a house near Western Michigan University's campus that was, in its prime, a venue of sorts. Cohn says the house, which he lived in with singer/guitarist Ben Ryznar, was an infamous party house where the band actually wrote a number of tracks from "The Mastodon" in the basement.

This will be the last time Kiss Me Quick plays Kalamazoo for a significant amount of time. The band members are moving to Oregon so bass player Jed Roberts can pursue graduate school at Oregon State University.

"We're not breaking up," Cohn said. "We will just be touring a lot of the West Coast."

Also playing the show is Muskegon's The Rick Johnson Rock 'n' Roll Machine, Kalamazoo's Mulligan and Detroit's The Holy Fire. - Battle Creek Enquirer, August 25th, 2005


The Mastodon [2005]


Feeling a bit camera shy


Kiss Me Quick is an indie rock four piece from Kalamazoo, Michigan that has their very own brand of indie rock. The band's music consists of compelling hooks, lyrical genius, and very unique arrangements.

The members of Kiss Me Quick are not strangers to playing live, having performed well over 100 shows over the past five years. They’ve played tour dates with Crooked Fingers, Karate, The Constantines, Engine Down, Mock Orange, Q and Not U, Don Caballero, Mates of State, Bear Vs. Shark, and Thunderbirds are Now! to name only a few.

Kiss Me Quick's first full-length release “The Mastodon”, is now available through Hearts on Fire Records. “The Mastodon” was recorded by Matt Talbot (HUM, Centaur) at his studio The Great Western Record Recorders in Tolono, IL. It was mixed and mastered at Tempermill Studios in Ferndale, MI by Dave Feeny.

Kiss Me Quick is not just a studio band. Their intense live show is one not to be missed, proving that they won’t be extinct any time soon.