The Prime Ministers
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The Prime Ministers

Berkley, Michigan, United States

Berkley, Michigan, United States
Band Rock Pop

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"Metro Times, "Budget Cuts" review"

"Don't schedule a show anywhere near your wife's due date," Prime Ministers guitarist Brandon Malik says. His band has forgotten that before, but that's nothing new. "Having spouses, children and day jobs makes rehearsing a scheduling nightmare," he says. Still, band practice is solace, and when the songs are this good, it's worth putting up with some diaper rash on your guitar pick. The Ministers have been honing their Midwestern pop since 1999, but with "The Budget Cuts" EP they've made something true. The guitars in "Four Stars" and "Make Me Your Mission" chime in filigrees of cherry-red clarity, and Todd Wicks' grainy plea is a cry of victory for every guy who didn't wear cool jeans in high school. That they're husband and fathers isn't unique. Hundreds of musicians are also jugglers. But the Prime Ministers embrace their subarbanism and rock their domesticity. When Wicks wails the chorus of "Power to the Front Shields," you realize music doesn't always have to be about cigarette burns. It can also be about release, and the realization that a baby sleeps even less than rock 'n' roll. The Prime Ministers write songs from a place that's content, but still streaked with longing." - Metro Times (Detroit), 6/7/2006


"Detroit Free Press, "Go For Glory" review"

"In 2001, The Prime Ministers released an album widely overlooked in a year bustling with new Detroit Music. "The Last Days of The Prime Ministers" was a little gem of a pop records, a taut collection of tunes that recalled the classic and never-dusty sounds of Cheap Trick, the Records, and countless British bands with an inborn knack for melody. This time it's important to keep the band from slipping through the cracks. "The Prime Ministers Go For Glory" is a worthy second effort from the outfit, featuring a revamped lineup but still led by songwriter-vocalist Todd Wicks, and merits some local love. It's also a twist on the band's premiere effort, touched with a murkier, even haunting feel that requires a little more effort from its listeners. Working somewhere in the land between the Waxwings and the more straight-up power-pop bands that have long dotted the Oakland County landscape, the Prime Ministers go for emotional gold on this album, cut at Oak Park's Woodshed Studios. "Go For Glory" isn't as crunchy-crisp as the band's debut; the mix is painted with a light reverb that adds a kind of yearning distance to the band's sound. But Wicks' songwriting remains strong, and even when the hooks aren't right in your face, they're certainly lurking: catchy choruses and neat-o changes tucked into such songs as "Hall Of Fame," "Makin' Up" and "I'm a Rockist," which find a comfortable balance between dark and bright. Wicks goes for a wry take on rock and romance; if not quite tongue-in-cheek, at least delivered with a sly grin. This stuff is well-conceived, ably executed and smart — a dark-horse contender in another year that's brimming with terrific local rock." - Detroit Free Press


"Daily Tribune, "Budget Cuts" review"

"Five tracks of blistering, hook-laden rock 'n' roll." - Royal Oak Daily Tribune


"Detroit News, Live Review 8/12/06"

With a mod feel and Zeppelin-like riffs, the Prime Ministers prevailed Thursday night in the second showcase of The Detroit News' Sonic Summer battle of the bands competition at the Magic Bag in Ferndale.

The Berkley quartet beat out the sultry and seductive classic rock grooves of Detroit's Jiva and the high-powered pop-rock of Dearborn's Sunday Painters...

The band's bluesy, 60's-rock sound mixed with the members' soft, mellow voices, reminiscent of the Beatles, impressed the judges.

"I think they were solid," says Willy Wilson, publicist for the Magic Bag. "The Prime Ministers had better songs. They had better harmonies, catchy hooks and stood out more."

Other judges of Thursday's battle were Kid Rock's DJ Paradime and Thomas Johonson of Effigy Studios.

The band moves up to the finals that take place Sept. 1 at The Detroit News/Comcast Stage during the Chrysler Arts, Beats & Eats festival in Pontiac. There, the Berkley band will face Free Element, the winning band of the first showcase, along with winners of the last semifinal showcase, which will be held Aug.24 at Clutch Cargo's in Pontiac."

- The Detroit News


"Detroit News - Prime Ministers Take Sonic Summer Crown"

"Decked out in ties and sweater vests, The Prime Ministers won over the crowd and took the top prixe at the second Detroit News Sonic Summer battle of the bands Friday night at the Chrysler Arts, Beats & Eats festival.

The group's polished pop-influenced sound made for an upbeat set and an enthusiastic crowd at The Detroit News/Comcast Stage on Pike Street in downtown Pontiac and earned it prizes including a 12-hour recording session at Effigy Studios and a publicity photo shoot from StarShowz photography...

The quartet, whose latest CD, "Budget Cuts," was released this summer, also won a special-edition Fender stratocaster guitar from ABC Warehouse, a Spider II 210 amp from Axis Music Academy, a feature on Motor City Riffs on WRIF-FM (101.1) on Sept. 10, and a performing slot on the festival's main stage Sunday.

The Prime Ministers beat finalists Free Element and Pillar of Autumn. Comcast taped the evening's performances fo rebroadcast on Concert On Demand. The event was emceed by Dave Doran of WRIF and Adam Graham, pop music writer for The Detroit News.

The three bands were among 20 that emerged from more than 100 entries in July; detnews.com readers whittled the 20 down to nine contenders, who then performed at Ferndale's Magic Bag, Detroit's Majestic Theatre, and Pontiac's Clutch Cargo's to determine the final three.

The Prime Ministers entered the contest last year and made it to the online vote, but lost in the voting's last minutes. The loss was "pretty bitterly disappointing," said frontman Todd Wicks. But this year's contest gave the group the chance to play in front of one of its biggest crowds, and it was a lot of fun, he said.

Judge Nicole DeMember-Johnson, managing partner at Effigy Studios, said the Prime Ministers' enthusiasm and dedication made it her top choice.

"The Prime Ministers won because of their lyrics, stage presence, and commitment to music," she said Friday. "They love it, they believe in it, and that goes out to the audience."

The other judges were videographer Peter Franco of DE1X Prodcuctions; Amir Daiza, a club and concert promoter; and John Antone, founder of Axis Music Academy.

The Prime Ministers were "very original," Daiza said. "They could have a mass appeal."... - The Detroit News, 9/4/06


"CIN Weekly (Cincinnati) - Out of Town Pick 9/26/07"

"Detroit's The Prime Ministers seem to have bypassed their native land's Motown and dirty garage rock influences and veered more toward REM-ish pop. It's a lovely sound..." - Kari Wethington


"The Big Takeover - "Efficiently Yours" Review - April 2008"

"The band describes their music as 'courteous power pop' and 'well mannered rock n' roll' and I have to concur. This is nothing but unpretentious and to be quite frank a nice blast of fresh air. Mid tempo hook-laden songs that don't stray past the four-minute mark save for the last track, which clocks in at nearly ten minutes (OK, there are two tracks here-one hidden). That they're from the Detroit area isn't obvious but the no-frills subtle melodies and overall feel remind me of nothing but the Midwest. The culinary world has comfort food and now the rock world has its comfort rock, thanks to the Prime Ministers. An utterly charming and eminently hummable release out of a city known for a fair but of over-hyped twaddle in the past few years." - The Big Takeover (Issue 62, to be released April 2008)


"FensePost - "Compromiser" Review Jan. 2010"

The Prime Ministers: Compromiser (Album Review)

"If the Gin Blossoms proceeded to follow down whoever they found so infatuating, fellow alternative pop group The Prime Ministers could surely pick up the slack with their medium tempered and mild-mannered album "Compromiser". This collection of somewhat funk-driven tracks is not only the descendant of that which has been done, but something that is the predecessor of the fresh and stunning.

The melodic cut "We Are The Reward" covers a bit of soul ground as it resembles the alternative version of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough". And with each track before and after this R&B laced jaunt, there is a beautiful sense of happy-go-lucky misery residing in 3-5 minute intervals with hardly a break in between. Though simple in nature, The Prime Ministers create a consistently lively sound that is very like the toe-tapping goodness you have been wanting.

"Compromiser" is a solid and wholesome album. It's hard to believe a piano and guitar theme could even be thought of so highly in this millennium, but style and storytelling last forever. For the nostalgic thirty-somethings still bumping around, it might suit your fancy to stumble into a Prime Ministers show sometime. It might do your young, yet old soul some good. But, no matter your age or wisdom, this is a group that solidifies the artistic expressions of alternative as something other than hateful angst. It's real dammit! - Ron Trembath


"Laura Witkowski's Top 5 Detroit Albums of 2009"


"3)The Prime Ministers, "Compromiser" (self-released): Another album of Smithereens-style power pop goodness. Give "Compromiser" a listen and then just try to get songs like "We Are the Reward" our of your head". - The Metro Times - 12/30/09


Discography

"Compromiser" (2009) - 10 Song LP
"Efficiently Yours" (2007) - 7 Song LP
"Budget Cuts" (2006) - 5 song EP
"The Prime Ministers Go For Glory" (2004) - 10 Song LP
"The Last Days of The Prime Ministers" (2001) - 7 Song LP

Photos

Bio

Formed by friends Todd Wicks and Ned Coho who grew up in the Detroit suburb of Rochester Hills. Two CD's followed, along with growing local acclaim and a regional following for their instantly hummable pop nuggets that appeal to fans of the mainstream (Foo Fighters) and indie (Fountains of Wayne) alike. Completed by lead gutarist Brandon Malik and drummer Ron Vensko, The Prime Ministers spent a busy 2007 supporting both their Summer 2006 EP, "Budget Cuts", and their 2007 release "Efficiently Yours". This CD/fan bonus was recorded in only ten hours at Effigy studios in Ferndale, MI -- using free studio time won from beating out over 100 acts in the Detroit News August 2006 Sonic Summer competition.

Currently, The Ministers are promoting theirFall 2009 release, "Compromiser", recorded at Woodshed Studios in Oak Park, MI.

Selected Live Appearances:

Detroit: The Magic Bag, The Magic Stick, The Shelter, The Lager House, Alvin's, Small's, The Belmont, Paycheck's, The New Dodge, Phoenix Park Ampitheatre, The Berkley Front, Hard Rock Cafe, The Pike Room (Pontiac), Royal Oak Music Theatre

Michigan: East Lansing, Kalamazoo, Mt. Pleasant, Flint, Saginaw, Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor

Chicago: The Beat Kitchen, Wise Fool's Pub

Toledo, OH: The Groove Room, Mickey Finn's

Youngstown, OH: Cedars Lounge

Cincinnati, OH: Cue

Recent Media Spotlights:

- FensePost - "Compromiser" Album Review 1/13/2010
- The Detroit Free Press, Play Section Feature June 17, 2009
- The Big Takeover, May 2008, (R.E.M. cover story)
- 89 X (88.7 FM CIMX) Homeboy Show Spotlight Artist, June 17, 2007
- Fox 2 Detroit, 6:00 News Live TV Performance, March 2007
- WDET - Feature Interview w/ Brandon Malik - March 2007
- The Mitch Albom Show, WJR 760, Dec. 2006
- Motor City Riffs w/ Doug Podell, WRIF 101.1 FM,
Oct. 2006