Midnight To Twelve (M212)

Midnight To Twelve (M212)

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Midnight To Twelve is said to be the last of the dying breed of true rock acts. M212 is currently touring the U.S with over 300 shows in 2007 alone and 96,000 miles behind them M212 is proving that they will stop at nothing to get their music to the masses.

Biography

Al Baca, of the Southern California band Midnight to Twelve (M212), has no patience for the cult of celebrity worship. “All those magazines and shows that talk about how movie stars and musicians are so special – that stuff pisses me off,” he says. “It’s the fans who gave them their careers. Without the audience, those people are nothing.”

This particular belief inspired “King of Spain,” the title track from the band’s hard-charging debut album on JKH / Koch Records. Like most of the quintet’s material, “King” blends explosive riffage with a big, melodic chorus. But the track’s lyrics underscore M212’s devotion to its fans, declaring: “I need you more than you need me.”

The album, produced by Sylvia Massy Shivy (Tool, Deftones, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash) and Rich Veltrop, amply demonstrates the band’s sonic palette with fiery rockers (“How Bad,” “Burnin’,” “King of Spain,” “Contain It”), soaring, pop-savvy melodies (“Remembering,” “Slam,” “Moment”) and everything in between (“Rhyme or Reason,” “Future”). Singer Jon Hartman’s versatile voice swings effortlessly from fury to tenderness, while guitarist Daniel Jordan’s brutal riffs and incisive leads and keyboardist Steve Oliver’s symphonic countermelodies put both edge and grandeur atop the grooving foundation of bassist Baca and drummer Drew Molleur.

The band sold some 13,000 copies out of its tour bus. These sales figures are a testament to M212’s powerful live show – as both a solo touring act and as opener for such bands as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Buckcherry, Jimmy Eat World, Evanescence, Joan Jett, Adema, Sister Hazel, Rehab and Saliva. But it also speaks to their relentless determination to reach out to fans and maintain that connection vigilantly.

Influenced as a youngster by his sister’s Journey records, his brother’s obsession with hard rock like The Scorpions, Def Leppard and AC/DC, and his parents’ R&B collection, L.A. native Baca inherited an eclectic sensibility that was supercharged by visits to the Sunset Strip during his adolescence in the late ’80s and early ’90s. “At 14 I’d sneak into the Roxy, the Whisky and Gazzarri’s,” he recalls. “I feel fortunate to have experienced all that, and I know that scene influenced our approach to performance.”

Midnight to Twelve was born when he was working as a session bassist and stage and production manager in Nashville. “I started hearing this music in my head,” he explains, “and I knew my next band was going to be the band. I had no songs, no band name – nothing. But I knew I had to go home to L.A. and make it happen.”

He enlisted Nashville-based friend Hartman and convinced him to move to the West Coast. “Jon had never been in a band before, but I knew he could sing,” Baca recalls. “I said, if you really want to do this, be in L.A. by this time. He got there about a week before I did, so I knew he was serious. We started putting it together.”

They joined forces with keyboardist Oliver and, according to Baca, “It was magic.” Rather than round out the lineup right away, they decided to hole up in their practice space – a garage in the L.A. neighborhood of Whittier – and write songs for an entire year.

They found Jordan through an ad in local paper The Recycler; the guitarist’s rock chops were a solid fit, and his playful sense of humor would make a major contribution to M212’s esprit de corps. With Molleur on the drum throne a bit later, the lineup was complete.

The band immediately booked its first show – at the Sunset Strip’s infamous Coconut Teaszer. “We packed the place with friends and family and we killed it,” Baca remembers fondly. Fired up by their rowdy live debut, M212 soon began playing at venues all over L.A. Eventually they were headlining Saturday nights and selling out storied clubs like the Roxy, where, as a kid, Baca had gotten his first glimpse of full-on live rock.

A three-song demo caught the attention of a writer for the hit WB series One Tree Hill, and the band’s passionate tune “Slam” featured prominently in one episode. Always thinking strategically, M212 made it known on a One Tree Hill message board that they would give away CD singles to anyone who signed up for their e-mail list; a barrage of Hill fans obliged. “I was up all night collecting addresses, and sent out 600 singles the next day – I spent a whole paycheck on postage,” Baca shares with a laugh.

Deciding it was time to hit the road and exploit their newfound visibility, the band put together a presentation for some investors, outlining expected marketing tactics; this garnered them a few thousand bucks.

They leveraged their song’s appearance on One Tree Hill to book a four-month tour with club owners, with Baca working the phone in the guise of a fast-talking booking agent. Baca and Oliver then drove out to the desert to buy an old bus, stripping it down and retrofitting it for the road with the other members. The last screws were barely in place before they embarked on their new ad

Discography

"Slam"- Current Radio Single
"Midnight Twelve" Spring 2008 on JKH/ Koch Records
"Slam" Featured in hit tv show "One Tree Hill"
"How Bad" Currently Being Used As NHL Promo Song.