Long Miles
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Long Miles

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Rock Reggae

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Four years ago, John Shields was a new kid in town, an 18-year-old transplant from suburban Philly eager to get rolling with a budding band. Nowadays, with almost four years of school under his belt, Shields is at a turning point. After graduation, he could pursue a standard day job and move into a sturdy career. Or he can follow a different path with his bandmates in Long Miles.

"We'd already played together in high school, writing original tunes and playing parties," Shields says of his pals — bassist Sam Morgan and guitarists Brett Haenn and James McNally. "We won a battle of the bands before we applied to college. Sam and Brett had already applied to CofC, and James and I weren't quite sure what we wanted to do. Ultimately, we decided to stick together."

The four friends to Charleston at the same time. All are due to graduate in May.

The Long Miles guys initially resided and rehearsed in a four-room suite at McAlister Hall. They became a solid team, refining their technique, songwriting, and on-stage performance along the way.

"Throughout that first year, we wrote and recorded 12 songs in the dorm," Shields says. "Looking back on it, the quality isn't that great, but we thought it was spectacular at the time. We enjoyed a little bit of success with it, and people responded well to it."

During their freshmen year, Shields emerged as the lead vocalist and lyricist. Morgan and McNally provided additional ideas for song arrangements

"I think we came across as best friends on stage," Shields says. "You could tell that we've been living and playing together for years."

During their freshman year, the foursome picked up a weekly gig at King Street venue O'Malley's, playing unplugged sets of covers and originals. They tightened up even more during their sophomore year, recorded with studio engineer Chris DiBeneditto (G. Love) at Philadelphonic Studios, and a released six-song mini album titled A Philadelphonic EP in Dec. 2010. Their popularity in the club scene grew even more throughout 2011.

"It was great because all of our friends in the dorm would come out and have fun," Shields says. "They'd tell their friends and bring them out, and we started developing a little following."

Drummer Adam Williams, a CofC grad from 2010, started sitting in at O'Malley's and at other shows, eventually signing on as an official member. Williams also keeps time with funk band Wadata and a few Charleston-based projects. The most recent enlistment is former Plainfield Project organist/pianist Ross Bogan, who's currently in his senior year at CofC. Bogan plays with Wadata, Weigh Station, and others as well.

"The band's sound is still evolving," Shields says. "We're still trying to find our main style. We definitely incorporate a lot of styles. Coming out of Philadelphia, the hip-hop/blues feel of G. Love was a big influence on us. We were listing to hip-hop and reggae a lot. I personally really liked Jimmy Cliff and Umphrey's McGee, too. Adam has the ability to play all sorts of music and rhythms, which allows us to expand. We got more in to the jam scene along the way, and we tried to get away from the standard formulas."

All four of the original bandmates developed an interest in the inner workings of the music industry and the process of producing music. They enrolled in media classes and studied marketing on campus. Shields and Morgan attended CofC's School of the Arts' introduction to music management course taught by Mark Bryan, the lead guitarist of Hootie and the Blowfish and head of the Chucktown Music Group.

"Mark's class was very helpful," Shields says. "Classes like that encouraged all of us to stay in school and wait until we earned our degrees before making a some sort of a big move as a band."

Last year, Long Miles raised funds through a Kickstarter campaign to record with acclaimed studio man Rick Beato at Black Dog Sound in Atlanta. The 10-song collection, Shades, hits the street this week.

- Charleston City Paper


It’s the classic coming-of-age story: Boy seeks adventure. Boy enters world. Boy gains experience. Boy becomes man.

In this case, the world is Charleston and it’s not one boy, but six rockers of local indie groove-based-rock-reggae-jam band Long Miles, who are about to show everybody they’re ready to be taken seriously.

But first they have to graduate.

Long Miles has traveled, er, long miles to get to this pivotal moment in their five-year high-school-to-college career together. Recruiting a new drummer (Adam Williams) and adding a keyboardist (Ross Bogan) en route, the CofC students knew that if they wanted to get it right, they had to get the degree. And they’re not just saying that because their parents will read this.

“We wanted to learn first,” says John Shields, Long Miles’ lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist. “We had to see what we could do in Charleston, and get it right.”

They had that unique, multi-elemental sound and a stage chemistry that can’t be faked. But the music biz is tough. Enter the mentor character of this story: the late Jonathan “Johnny” Diamond.

Jacqui Haenn, older sister to lead guitarist, Brett, and Long Miles’ manager, was taking Intro to Music Management taught by Mark Bryan, founder of Chucktown Music Group and Hootie & the Blowfish, when Johnny came to talk. Jacqui met Johnny, Johnny liked Jacqui, and Charleston met and liked Long Miles.

“We met every week,” says Jacqui. “He would say, ‘You need to stop playing bars. You need to get on the radio. You need this, you need that.’ And everything worked.”

Before, they’d been mislabeled as a college band in a post-Sublime era. They’d refused to sell out to a label and had digitally recorded their first album themselves in one of their dorms “totally against the rules” by improvising a sound booth through closets. But with Charleston being what it is and Johnny being who he is, Long Miles started meeting producers; their hit “Girl, Don’t Come Around” was all over The Bridge; they played to thousands behind Grace Potter at Charleston’s 2011 First Flush Festival. And this week, with their first headlining gig at the Farm and a Kickstarter-funded, full-length, professionally recorded album to show for it, they’re about to leap from college band to real band.

“Johnny had done it with Crowfield, and he saw something in us,” says bassist Sam Morgan. “We grew up from what we previously were.”

Thursday’s show marks more than a jam-session into adultbandhood. The album, the show, and their profits are all dedicated to Johnny and the Johnny Diamond Memorial Award, which will give a selected Arts Management student a serendipitous opportunity in return for life-changing experience.

Sounds familiar.

Long Miles and ten classmates in their Fundraising & Creation class crafted the big event together. They better get an A.

Most songs on the versatile Shades end with John, Sam, Brett, Ross, James, and Adam rocking out, making their summer East Coast tour not to be missed. Again, after graduation.

“We’d love to put every single hour of every single day into Thursday’s show, but I have a project due Wednesday,” jokes Morgan.

Sam and John laugh as Jacqui explains, “Brett was going to be here, but forgot he had a quiz.”

Just until May. - Charlie Magazine


Born in Philadelphia, groove-based rock/funk/reggae sextet Long Miles is making a splash in Charleston this year. Bandmates Brett Haenn, James McNally, Sam Morgan, John Shields, and Adam Williams are CofC students who split their time between Philly and the Lowcountry.
On Thurs. Dec. 2, they celebrate the release of a six-song mini album titled A Philadelphonic EP with a set at Eye Level Art (103 Spring St.) at 8 p.m. They recorded it this year with acclaimed studio man Chris DiBeneditto (G. Love & Special Sauce, Slightly Stoopid, the Movement) at Philadelphonic Studios.

Admission for the all-ages show is $10 ($8 in advance). DJ Smokeshow opens.

Check out facebook.com/longmiles and eyelevelart.com for more. - Charleston City Paper


PetZoo! was created [...] for The Heavy Pets. Their challenging beautiful music inspired me to put together a music festival in their honor. But, PetZoo! will also be about introducing you to all types of amazing musical bands out there that just need to be heard. This year's SteinPick is Long Miles. Just wait till you here these 19 year old kids from Philly. - The Zoo Keepers (Erik Steinpick & Marc Gallo)


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

From the suburbs of Philadelphia, with sounds infecting the East Coast and beyond, Long Miles brings you melodies from a light heart. The band likes to shine in their own way, bringing good vibes to people wherever they take the stage. With heroes like Phish, Umphreys McGee, Steel Pulse, and G. Love & Special Sauce, Long Miles strives to feed the need for the groovy, bouncy, feel-good tunes that make these groups so well known.

Long Miles has come a long way since their self-produced LP, 405 Productions, recorded in their freshman college dorm room in Charleston in 2009. They recorded A Philadelphonic EP with Chris DiBeneditto (G. Love & Special Sauce, Slightly Stoopid, the Movement) at Philadelphonic Studios in Philadelphia, with a November 2010 release. This March they released their latest album, Shades, recorded with Rick Beato (Trey Anastasio, NeedToBreathe, The Movement) at Black Dog Sound Recording Studios in Atlanta, Georgia.

Long Miles takes a major sonic leap forward with Shades. The album showcases their exploration of new reggae-tinged textures and jam band-influenced song arrangements, while continuing to define their signature blend of inventive lyrics and tight, dance-inducing rhythms. With tunes on the radio and consistent crowds at live shows, their potential to be a major influence on the scene can be found at every listen, and Long Miles is ready for the world.

Band Members