The MiCKS
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The MiCKS

Jersey City, New Jersey, United States | SELF

Jersey City, New Jersey, United States | SELF
Band Rock Americana

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"Meet the Micks: Talent, Tunes and Funky Hair Make Trio Stand Out"

You might know them as those dudes with the funky hair — Hank Prol (long, flowing blond), Matt McMickle (red, curly super-fro) and brother Sam (brown, curly mane — the “quietest” ‘do in the group for sure). Aside from being a Pantene commercial in the making, they’re also The Micks, a folk rock band that will release its self-titled debut album Friday.

The band has come a long way since Matt and Sam began fiddling around in their basement as teenagers. Matt, then about 18, was already singing in a band and playing a guitar for fun when his then 15-year-old brother Sam got an electronic drum pad from their dad. They started jamming in the basement. Sam came up with snappy drum beats and Matt, inspired, started penning some of his first songs. Eventually Sam got a real drum set and the two began playing real gigs as the McMickle Brothers with help from a couple different bassists.

At venues like Lucky 7 Tavern, they hobnobbed with other up-and-coming acts like Montclair’s Bern and the Brights and Copasetic, a band featuring talented multi-instrumentalist Henry, or Hank, Prol. They happened to meet the then 27-year-old Prol about two years ago when his band was slowing down.

“Hank is a great guitar player, singer and songwriter — he’s actually a better guitar player than I am,” says Matt McMickle, now 28, who fronts the band as singer, primary songwriter and guitarist. “Hank said, ‘I just hear these bass guitar lines for your songs. I’d like to jam.’” One day, down at the McMickles’ stepfather’s house down the Shore, the trio met up and didn’t just jam, but gelled, finding an undeniable chemistry. The first song they played together, “Cry Every Time,” is now the second track on their new album.

Now the three can be seen at local music spots like Maxwell’s in Hoboken, where they’ll be having their release party, and at Jersey City events like Groove on Grove and most recently, the Ghost of Uncle Joe’s Halloween concert at the Historic Jersey City and Harsimus Cemetery. There, along with Vera and Jeff Marino of the One and Nines (Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham) and classical pianist Roopa Avula (Christine McVie), they formed “Fleetwood Micks,” dressing up and playing as Fleetwood Mac. (Matt was Jeff Marino’s twin Lindsey, Prol was John McVie and Sam was, ahem, Mick Fleetwood.)

While the three don’t exactly stage dive or smash guitars, you can expect tons of energy, plenty of hair flying as they rock out and a whole lotta charisma. (Someone asked this reporter at their Lucky 7's Rock ‘n’ Roll Barbecue set this year, “Do you know this band? All the girls like them. They’re the cuties.”)

They hoped to capture that energy into their tracks, which were recorded at Dreamland Recording Studios near Woodstock. Eons ago, the former St. John’s Church became a studio for big names like 10,000 Maniacs and The B-52's. It closed in 2005 but was revived in 2008 by a drummer named Jerry Marotta as a studio for indie and unsigned bands.

“I think we did a pretty decent job of capturing the way we play live. It’s energetic, slightly out of control. We’re unfocused but we’re present, we’re playing the grooves in the songs as they go. The only thing we were shooting for was, Are we playing it how we do live?” says Matt McMickle.

They tracked the songs while playing live and recorded vocals and other elements later. Matt says although he’s taken the songwriting lead for the group, each song is a collaboration.

“Usually I just take a song and bring it to Sam and we find different ways to play it. Once Henry joined the band, he became a big part of that and kind of changed the songs we already had, too, with his own feel. We go back and forth and then I usually finish the lyrics after we’re done messing around with the song,” he says.

Composing and recording, he says, was a piece of cake compared to what turned out being the hardest part — editing and mixing the tracks.

“We decided to go all tape, which we realized was quite a can of worms — or a can of tape,” Matt says with a laugh. “We went through different mixing engineers, but they just didn’t work out. One was actually pretty well-noted and he did a fine job with what he had, so it was intimidating to reject his mix. But my brother stuck to his guns about how he wanted it to sound.

“We were stuck like deer in the headlights, not knowing who to trust with our music. We had done it on tape and we didn’t want anyone to ruin it!” They finally went with the assistant engineer on their first recording session. “He’s a year younger than my (25-year-old) brother, but he’s smart and he’s got a good ear but no ego,” says Matt.

The result of over a year of work is a six-track EP featuring cover art by Matt himself (“I’ve been developing our chicken man mascot,” he says of the drawing’s subject. “One day we’re going to turn it into an action figure. Not enough bands have action figures.”) The CD also showcases the trio’s best. Matt says some of his - The Jersey City Independent


"Meet the Micks: Talent, Tunes and Funky Hair Make Trio Stand Out"

You might know them as those dudes with the funky hair — Hank Prol (long, flowing blond), Matt McMickle (red, curly super-fro) and brother Sam (brown, curly mane — the “quietest” ‘do in the group for sure). Aside from being a Pantene commercial in the making, they’re also The Micks, a folk rock band that will release its self-titled debut album Friday.

The band has come a long way since Matt and Sam began fiddling around in their basement as teenagers. Matt, then about 18, was already singing in a band and playing a guitar for fun when his then 15-year-old brother Sam got an electronic drum pad from their dad. They started jamming in the basement. Sam came up with snappy drum beats and Matt, inspired, started penning some of his first songs. Eventually Sam got a real drum set and the two began playing real gigs as the McMickle Brothers with help from a couple different bassists.

At venues like Lucky 7 Tavern, they hobnobbed with other up-and-coming acts like Montclair’s Bern and the Brights and Copasetic, a band featuring talented multi-instrumentalist Henry, or Hank, Prol. They happened to meet the then 27-year-old Prol about two years ago when his band was slowing down.

“Hank is a great guitar player, singer and songwriter — he’s actually a better guitar player than I am,” says Matt McMickle, now 28, who fronts the band as singer, primary songwriter and guitarist. “Hank said, ‘I just hear these bass guitar lines for your songs. I’d like to jam.’” One day, down at the McMickles’ stepfather’s house down the Shore, the trio met up and didn’t just jam, but gelled, finding an undeniable chemistry. The first song they played together, “Cry Every Time,” is now the second track on their new album.

Now the three can be seen at local music spots like Maxwell’s in Hoboken, where they’ll be having their release party, and at Jersey City events like Groove on Grove and most recently, the Ghost of Uncle Joe’s Halloween concert at the Historic Jersey City and Harsimus Cemetery. There, along with Vera and Jeff Marino of the One and Nines (Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham) and classical pianist Roopa Avula (Christine McVie), they formed “Fleetwood Micks,” dressing up and playing as Fleetwood Mac. (Matt was Jeff Marino’s twin Lindsey, Prol was John McVie and Sam was, ahem, Mick Fleetwood.)

While the three don’t exactly stage dive or smash guitars, you can expect tons of energy, plenty of hair flying as they rock out and a whole lotta charisma. (Someone asked this reporter at their Lucky 7's Rock ‘n’ Roll Barbecue set this year, “Do you know this band? All the girls like them. They’re the cuties.”)

They hoped to capture that energy into their tracks, which were recorded at Dreamland Recording Studios near Woodstock. Eons ago, the former St. John’s Church became a studio for big names like 10,000 Maniacs and The B-52's. It closed in 2005 but was revived in 2008 by a drummer named Jerry Marotta as a studio for indie and unsigned bands.

“I think we did a pretty decent job of capturing the way we play live. It’s energetic, slightly out of control. We’re unfocused but we’re present, we’re playing the grooves in the songs as they go. The only thing we were shooting for was, Are we playing it how we do live?” says Matt McMickle.

They tracked the songs while playing live and recorded vocals and other elements later. Matt says although he’s taken the songwriting lead for the group, each song is a collaboration.

“Usually I just take a song and bring it to Sam and we find different ways to play it. Once Henry joined the band, he became a big part of that and kind of changed the songs we already had, too, with his own feel. We go back and forth and then I usually finish the lyrics after we’re done messing around with the song,” he says.

Composing and recording, he says, was a piece of cake compared to what turned out being the hardest part — editing and mixing the tracks.

“We decided to go all tape, which we realized was quite a can of worms — or a can of tape,” Matt says with a laugh. “We went through different mixing engineers, but they just didn’t work out. One was actually pretty well-noted and he did a fine job with what he had, so it was intimidating to reject his mix. But my brother stuck to his guns about how he wanted it to sound.

“We were stuck like deer in the headlights, not knowing who to trust with our music. We had done it on tape and we didn’t want anyone to ruin it!” They finally went with the assistant engineer on their first recording session. “He’s a year younger than my (25-year-old) brother, but he’s smart and he’s got a good ear but no ego,” says Matt.

The result of over a year of work is a six-track EP featuring cover art by Matt himself (“I’ve been developing our chicken man mascot,” he says of the drawing’s subject. “One day we’re going to turn it into an action figure. Not enough bands have action figures.”) The CD also showcases the trio’s best. Matt says some of his - The Jersey City Independent


""The MiCKS" from the Editor's Desk"

Jersey City’s Micks (there are a couple of bands with that moniker) love to stretch out. The short songs on this mostly-acoustic band’s 6-song debut album clock in at nearly five minutes; two of them push the 7-minute mark. But that doesn’t mean these guys like to jam; you’ll find very few solos here, mostly just breezy vocal melodies that the band loves to let linger until they’ve worked their way out of their system. Brothers Matt and Sam McMickle, on guitar and drums respectively, started performing together as the McMickle Brothers but really came into their own with the addition of bassist Hank Prol a few years ago, when they formally became The Micks. On the album, they’re augmented with a host of top-notch Jersey musicians and what seems like a small choir of backup singers, which allows the band to stretch a simple little acoustic tune like the opening “The Dry Splash” into an extended thigh-slapping, gospel-infused harmonica-drenched folkie freakout. “Cry Every Time” boasts one of Matt’s most indelible singalong hooks, as well as a subtle jazzy groove that crescendos beautifully into a triumphant singalong choral finale. “Useless” steps outside the Micks’ usual freak folk box and starts with a slinky melody that suggests an acoustic Nirvana outtake, including that patented quiet verse/loud chorus dynamic (which relies heavily on Matt McMickle’s exquisite falsetto, a weapon he wields frequently to good effect throughout the album.) “Different Walls” gets a bit heavier and almost delves into power ballad territory, not my favorite Micks neighborhood. But it’s quickly redeemed by the gossamer “Dancing For The Smokers,” with its delicate, formal, almost prog-rock opening and romantic, waltz-tempo crescendo. “Finish Me,” a longtime staple of the band’s live set, ends the album on a soaring note, delightfully rocking and melodic with one of Matt’s sweetest vocals. The Micks bring a thoroughly modern and refreshing touch to simple, catchy folk melodies, providing a collection of songs I guarantee you’ll enjoy. - Jim Testa of Jersey Beat.com


""The MiCKS" from the Editor's Desk"

Jersey City’s Micks (there are a couple of bands with that moniker) love to stretch out. The short songs on this mostly-acoustic band’s 6-song debut album clock in at nearly five minutes; two of them push the 7-minute mark. But that doesn’t mean these guys like to jam; you’ll find very few solos here, mostly just breezy vocal melodies that the band loves to let linger until they’ve worked their way out of their system. Brothers Matt and Sam McMickle, on guitar and drums respectively, started performing together as the McMickle Brothers but really came into their own with the addition of bassist Hank Prol a few years ago, when they formally became The Micks. On the album, they’re augmented with a host of top-notch Jersey musicians and what seems like a small choir of backup singers, which allows the band to stretch a simple little acoustic tune like the opening “The Dry Splash” into an extended thigh-slapping, gospel-infused harmonica-drenched folkie freakout. “Cry Every Time” boasts one of Matt’s most indelible singalong hooks, as well as a subtle jazzy groove that crescendos beautifully into a triumphant singalong choral finale. “Useless” steps outside the Micks’ usual freak folk box and starts with a slinky melody that suggests an acoustic Nirvana outtake, including that patented quiet verse/loud chorus dynamic (which relies heavily on Matt McMickle’s exquisite falsetto, a weapon he wields frequently to good effect throughout the album.) “Different Walls” gets a bit heavier and almost delves into power ballad territory, not my favorite Micks neighborhood. But it’s quickly redeemed by the gossamer “Dancing For The Smokers,” with its delicate, formal, almost prog-rock opening and romantic, waltz-tempo crescendo. “Finish Me,” a longtime staple of the band’s live set, ends the album on a soaring note, delightfully rocking and melodic with one of Matt’s sweetest vocals. The Micks bring a thoroughly modern and refreshing touch to simple, catchy folk melodies, providing a collection of songs I guarantee you’ll enjoy. - Jim Testa of Jersey Beat.com


Discography

"The MiCKS" -self-titled, debut EP
Due Out December 11, 2012.

The MiCKS: LiVE UPSTAiRS @ PiANOS
September '12

The MiCKS: LiVE @ MAXWELLS
September '12

Photos

Bio

The MiCKS are a three-piece garage band playing Roots Rock-Americana. They are based out of the burgeoning Jersey City, N.J. arts scene. With songs that awaken the weary and compel the wild at heart, they are carving an unflinching foothold out beyond the abounding vagueness of modern music.

On December 11th, they release their self-titled debut album The MiCKS, an entirely analog recording featuring songs not about the fight or the glamour, but about the search for something greater than recognition.

Founded by brothers Matt (singer/songwriter/guitarist) and Sam McMickle (drums), and joined by Henry "Hank" Prol on bass, the trio play and sing with the thoughtless abandon of their pure ancestral nature. This is how they taught themselves to play, first as children ripping air-guitar into their bellies and somersaulting over the backs of couches, then as teenagers, making sense of their instruments -before aspirations, in the dark, damp primordial basements of sprawling American Suburbia.

Among many things, their music is undeniably inspired by timeless rock ‘n’ roll -from Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran -to The Who and Rolling Stones -Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Diamond, Paul Simon, Nirvana and The White Stripes.

Their live shows manifest a groovy rambunctiousness on the dance floor. People get giddy. Girlfriends meet their boyfriends. Boyfriends get home and dig up their Led Zeppelin records. In the eye of the MiCKS' live hurricane, Matt’s words and voice are the real heart of the band. He paints an honest portrait of the human condition, man’s confusion and doubt, man’s struggle. He reveals himself in his songs, and finds the romance in his own uncertainty and mistakes.

About The MiCKS: “We decided, after our experience with the 4-track cassette and revisiting many classic records, that we had to use tape and we had to keep it analog -all the way. We tracked most of (the EP) at Dreamland Studios, a 19th-century Irish miners' church-turned recording studio in West Hurley, NY. To the MiCKS (this EP) is a work of art we are most proud of.”