Dear Superstar are a five piece full on rock ‘n’ roll group of northern guys, destined for the bright lights after completing as support with Papa Roach, they are now headlining dates all over the UK. They are no strangers to the touring life and have been on the same bill as Bullet For My Valentine, Hanoi Rocks and Wednesday 13 amongst others.
I caught up with the band in
Mel - Welcome to the Mudkiss live interview – have you seen our fanzine by the way?
Micky – I have actually, believe it or not, when we got the itinerary for all the press, I do actually check them all out. Yea it looks good!
Mel - You’ve probably been asked before but not by me, what influenced the group’s name?
Micky – To be honest we don’t really have a great answer for this, but the best explanation is that when we first put the band together we’d all been in bands before hand and we knew we had to make this a success no matter what. We didn’t just want to have a bit of mediocre success, we wanted full on something to make a life out of and the only way to describe it is by becoming superstars. The whole dear part is writing your own destiny, and not submitting to the conventional, your writing dear superstars, your writing your own destiny, so it’s kinda what it’s all about.
Photo: Dear Superstar by Mel
Left to Right - Milton, Amadeus, Micky, Minge, Smeth
Mel - What about your names, I can understand the Micky short for Michael, but curious about the others, Smeth, Milton, Amadeus, Minge! I’ve also seen other names for the band members such as, Rockhurst and McNasty. What’s the meaning behind the nicknames?
Micky – Yea, back when we first started up we were really into the glam influence. We used to have all the big back combed hair and like tight pants and all the rest of it, as we matured as people and musicians we’ve also matured in our appearance I think. (Laughs) cos It aint the 80’s any more, to start with it was a good thing for us cos we just wanted to go out there and make as much an impact at every show, even if people didn’t like the music, they’d kind of like the spectacle of us throwing ourselves around the stage looking like dicks. So to go along with that whole image we had stage names. I was just kept to Micky, but the rest of them Smeth, is Smethhurst, Minge even his mum calls his Minge, just something he’s had since childhood. Amadeus is actually his name, he’s called Amadeus, Milton guns his name is Milton, that’s pretty much it, just something which sounded good with that. We’re just Smeth, Micky, Benji, Stu and Amadeus.
Mel - I believe you’ve all been together for around 9 years is that about right?
Micky – Erm kind of, I was saying before we’d all been in bands before, the first band we got together was in like 97, when we had like a scratcher, it was still completely different band it was still rock n roll, but more like Limp Bizkit that kinda thing. We moved on from that when the scratcher left the band, and decided to completely overhaul the band, got some new members in and got rid of a couple of members, that was in 2004. So really we like to think Dear Superstar is only like 5 years old.
Mel - Are you all from
Micky – No, well in and around
Mel - How did the band first start out?
Micky – Like I was saying before we’d all been in these bands, we had got to the point we all knew each other, like really best mates, like brothers, all of us. We’ve just got the same passion for music and no matter what else comes in life music comes first for us. I think it’s hard to find people like that and when you do get a group of guys together like that you’re compelled and you’re dedicated to do that.
Mel - What other bands have you been in before?
Micky – Just Dear Superstar as far as I am concerned. Laughs
Mel – Oh right hahaha. What are the highs & lows of being in a sexy rock n roll outfit, have you got a big female following?
Micky – Yea its weird, ya know from place to place, sometimes you’ll go and play to like 200 guys, and the next place you’ll play to 200 girls. It seems like it’s either one or the other. Like on the Papa Roach tour it was like,
Mel – Yea that’s great. I’ve seen you described as rude, tattooed, straight talking port drinkers, but just how rock ‘n’ roll is the band?
Micky – Erm you’ll read a lot of stuff about us on the internet and I’ve gotta say every single bit of it is true and MORE!. We have to be really careful what we say in the press cos things can get stupid especially like on the Papa Roach tour. It was just balls to the wall, 110 miles an hour; like a bloodbath of rock ’n’ roll it was brilliant. Erm but ya know sometimes we do have to curb the way we are a little bit, but we’re just five young lads who are just having a good time and we'll do anything to put a smile on our faces.
Mel – How old are you?
Micky – Erm, well actually not that young any more, laughs; I’m 27, Smeth’s 28, Amadeus is 24, Stu 22, Benj 23, we all in our twenties - just.
Mel - What makes it all worthwhile for you?
Micky – Out on the road, this right now, talking to new people like yourselves, just turn you on. We’re definitely a touring band, ya know when we are in the studio we rip each other apart and it’s a stressful time for us sometimes. I mean we love it obviously cos it’s making music, but for us it all pays dividends when we’re just out on the road, just meeting new people, that’s what we’re all about. So we’re definitely a touring band.
Mel - Do you take the view that playing in a band is a job? Do any of you have a daytime job or is music a way of life for you?
Micky – Yeah totally, it is our job, we’ve all obviously had 9 -5’s but it gets to a point in a musician’s career, where you’ve gotta say I’ve gotta put 100% into this now or not. We are never the kind of guys to submit to the conventional and 9 -5 scares the hell out of us so!
Mel – So music’s the way of life then. (It is yea) About your tattoos, you have a big one on your chest haven’t ya?
Micky – (Mickey displays his nice chest tattoo)Yea 'Live Love Lie' was the first single we put out from our album Heartless.
Mel - Who does them and is there any particular meanings, obviously that does have a meaning?
Micky – Yea I’m really into tattoos having meanings, I don’t really want to put anything onto my body which I don’t look at and it reminds me of a time or something or other, so everything I’ve got has a meaning. Ermm, but the drummer in our band is a tattooist so every piece of ink which you see on us is all done by him, which is great cos we get free tattoos. It’s also good for him cos it showcases his talents, cos he’s really talented.
Mel - Does he have his own business?
Micky – He did, but obviously he lost it cos of the band. So now he just works out of a studio in Cheadle Hulme, just when we’re back off tour, so he’s been there today tattooing. It's dead good cos he gets quite a lot of fans coming in for tattoos.
Mel – Which studio is that?
Micky – It’s called Gods Of Ink, it’s a really nice place, he’s a good guy and talented.
Mel - What band would you like to have been in for a day?
Micky – Motley Crue all the way, yea. Sometimes I try conning myself that it’s still the 80’s. Unfortunately it isn’t so if I had a time machine I’d definitely go back and dunno kill Vince Neill and steal his place at least for a day. I’d probably just kidnap him, I wouldn’t want to ruin rock 'n' roll by killing Vince Neil.(Laughs)
Mel - You’re currently on a huge touring schedule and you've just finished supporting Papa Roach, what was this like?
Micky – Papa Roach are a band that have really inspired us all, especially myself. We've really loved that band since the early days when they first emerged in 1999, so actually having a chance to go out with them was just amazing for us, absolutely amazing. It was an eye opener being on those bigger stages cos 3,000 a night minimum it was.
Mel - Was
Micky - Yea every single show was a sell out,
Mel - What was the Best show so far on the tour?
Mel – It’s good for you but not when you’re in the mosh pit!
Micky – Well you say that, but in the last song I was like, ya know what keep that pit going I’m coming in, so I threw my microphone and dove straight in. The chorus of the last song Stu had to sing the rest of it for me.
Mel - You’ve been supporting many big name bands over the past 12 months, such as Hanoi Rocks last year, on their final farewell tour, Bullet For My Valentine, and Wednesday13. Can you talk us through any special nights you remember? Which group did you enjoy touring with the best?
Micky – I think every single one has got so much great memories. When we recorded the album Bullet For My Valentine were there in the same studio and we got on like a house on fire and spent five weeks living in each others shit. So when we went out to support them in Finland, first of all you’re in Finland which is like the rock capital of the world, Helsinki just everyone’s a rocker, it was brilliant. The aftershow was just insanely messy, getting up on that stage in
The whole connection with Bullet has been great, but then on a personal level the
Mel - I guess you’ve come a long way since those shows which you played to a handful of people, do you see yourself breaking out bigger and playing at larger venues headlining?
Micky - Yea totally, we have just taken on a new agent, who like does Papa Roach, so obviously we are going to get onto big stages a little more often now. The plan is to keep touring, keep touring and building that fan base. We need to make that jump out of the 250 capacity venues I mean yea we can sell 500 tickets in Manchester and Bolton is only a stones throw away from Manchester and we don’t have a clue what it is gonna be like tonight.
For emerging bands like us it is really unpredictable when your on tour you can be playing to 20 people and ya know on this tour we might end up playing to 20 people one night, but we are prepared to take that risk cos at the end of the day those 20 people matter to us just as much as the 200 people the next day.
Mel – Hopefully you’ll get there in the end!
Micky –Yea that’s it, so the plan is to keep recording new stuff keep touring with the bigger bands and just get out to as many people as we can and just keep doing what we do. Hopefully then in the next 18 months or so we’ll be able to sort the 3,000 capacity ourselves.
Mel – You’re on your second album now as well?
Micky – The second album Heartless, is out done and dusted. We’re now sort of writing the third one, which we had to put on hold due to touring. As soon as we get off this we are gonna continue writing that, which we are dead excited about. It’s a hop from ‘Confessions Of A Twisted Mind’ our first album to Heartless, the steps huge from where we are now to where we were with 'Heartless' it’s just a complete departure from Heartless. The beginning of 2008 we were like "oh god how the hell did we create that album, we are amazing" laughs, now we are like "god we can do so much better than that". We really are changed musicians.
Mel – Is your sound changing a bit as well?
Micky – I wouldn’t say it’s changing as such, we’re just honing it in a lot more now.
Mel - What can people expect to see at your shows? Do you still have the live sexy girl dancers I saw on one of your videos?
Micky –, Yea we have been known to have that, no we pulled that our girlfriends didn’t particularly like it. Laughs
Mel – My next questions was going to be do you not think this is a bit sexist or don’t you care?
Micky – Ermm, no we don’t care,laughs, yea we don’t do that any more. It was something that kinda happened by default. We didn’t plan it at all, we found ourselves playing Burlesque clubs and clubs were the girls went mental and you just say if you wanna get on stage just do it, people always do when you say that. It was never really a conscious decision to have girls dancing on stage with us, but I’m glad we did it, but by the same token I’m glad we don’t do it now.
Mel - How would you describe your music for the uninitiated, who might you liken yourself to?
Micky – To be honest I don’t think there is anyone in the
Mel - Where or how do the songs start out & who writes them?
Micky – We completely write everything together, I think that’s what makes our music so organic. I listen to a lot of bands and you know it’s great, but read the sleeve, you can tell the lead guitarist has written it all including lyrics or the lead singer has done it all. We tour with bands, we know a lot of bands who everything is written by one guy. I think unless every member of the band has had that same amount of imput you can’t invest emotionally into a song. I truly believe that. I’ll go home tonight maybe and pick up a guitar, start working on something (been working on a track today) and start working around with a riff and some vocals, but that’s ain’t the song. I’ll go back and say listen guys I’ve got this what do you reckon? I’ll play a little bit of this, Smeth will change it, Amadeus will put a bass line over it, Benj will completely put his own drums to it, it will be a completely different song it’ll grow naturally. When we’re on stage we put like every ounce of energy into it, we don’t leave anything on stage at all. I think the reason why that is cos we’ve all got a passion for the songs that we’ve written not like one of us have written and the others are playing them. So I think it’s heartless to play someone else’s music, I couldn’t cover a song.
Mel - So you wouldn’t do any cover songs?
Micky - No we don’t, I mean we’ve thought about it. We did a show in Newquay, wicked 10,000 people it was amazing and we were gonna cover the Baywatch theme tune, so we do things for a joke but I’m not really interested in playing a Motley Crue song or Guns n Roses song I’m happy to write my own.
Mel - What would you say is the most important in a song - lyrics or the music?
Micky – Obviously they go hand in hand but your connection to the lyrics are emotional and with the music it's like physical cos it’s the music that drives you, it makes you wanna move, makes you wanna nod your head, the lyrics are what make you think, make you smile, make you cry whatever. That’s why music is such a powerful thing I think.
Mel - What inspires your writing? What do you write about?
Micky – Life experience! Ever since we got this band together we took a few weeks out to write some songs. We went out and yea we were shit, but we were on the road and that’s the way we’ve lived really. I think every thing we write about is about life experience, if we spent our childhood or adulthood or whatever or music life sat at home watching coronation street all night we’d have fuck all to write about, except who Dev's fucking next week.
The whole point of life is being out there and living it, it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey and all that kinda thing. We write about what happened last week, or what we wanna happen tomorrow, or we write about ya know this bus, everything in our lives means a lot to us and by that same token everything in our lives we wanna write about or sing about. If it’s Amadeus, it’s about drinking and fucking cos that’s just the way he is (Laughs) but there’s a lot of that in it as well as everything else.
Mel - Who are you listening to currently?
Micky - On my Ipod right now I’ve just put the new Papa Roach on, it’s a wicked album.
A band called 18 visions, don’t know if you’ve heard of them, they’ve split up now, they had a few albums out a couple of years ago 2005 -2008, love that band awesome. Jet, like them a lot and a lot of bands that we tour with, we listen to their music afterwards, it’s just weird cos you get a connection with them, you just wanna hear it again it takes you back. I think every band we tour with, even the small bands, in fact the band which supported us last night gave us a cd, it went straight onto the ipod.
Mel - Your new single is out ‘Brothers In Blood’, and your second album is 'Heartless' was released in Oct 2008, how are sales going?
Micky - The album has just been insane, when we put it out we were a bit concerned cos we were putting it out in the same week as like ACDC and Slipnots album. We were like, ya know what this is a really bad idea, but at the end of the day we never expected the album to chart, it didn’t chart as we are largely unknown across the
Mel - What tracks mean the most to you?
Micky – ‘Live Love Lie' – that’s about being away from home and as we’re a touring band that’s where our heart is. People back home do suffer as a result of our touring schedule and 'Live Love Lie' is just saying that we do care and we do recognise that when we’re away it can be hard for our families. Then ‘Brothers In Blood’ it’s my favourite track on the album, it’s just so driving and so passionate. We’re a gang, we’re a crew, we are brothers in blood and Benj has even got that tattoo across his neck. So that song really means a lot to us all.
Mel - Thanks for the interview, good luck with the rest of the tour, and the album, the last words are yours!
Micky - Welcome, ok, no matter what you do, buy it, download it, steal it, copy it, just get a copy of our album then come and see us at a show and say hello.
Lead Guitar: Smeth
Rhythm Guitar: Milton
Bass Guitar: Amadeus
Interview & photos by Mel 25.04.09 (Show review here)
Special thanks to Jen @ Global Records Ltd