The Buddha Den

Everything you wanted to know about the Dayton music scene and more but were afraid to ask

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

PROFILE: The Magpies

...even in an climate where trendy vintage has nearly supplanted subtance, it's refreshing to come across a band like Cleveland's The Magpies. Sure, they might have a sound that could have just as easily been at home in almost any other decade where rock n' roll had a presence, but it's not due to any trendhopping. It's because their music has roots. Deep roots. They have a respect and understanding for the American music that has come before them and night after night they pay homage to that tradition. As the band prepares to make a tour stop in Dayton this weekend, we took a minute and spoke to singer/guitarist Roger Hoover about this legacy, as well as the band's new release, Eastern Standard Time...

The Buddha Den: If memory serves, wasn't the band on the cusp of becoming The Magpies last time you performed in Dayton as Roger Hoover & the Whiskeyhounds? Why the name change now? Does it signify any major change in the way the band works?

Roger Hoover: We had just changed our name to the Magpies in July of last year. I am still the principle lyric writer. Last year we had a few member changes in Roger Hoover & the Whiskeyhounds and when we started rehearsing new material we realized a fundamental change in our overall sound. Drummer Dave McKean, keyboard/accordianist Justin Gorski and myself all contribute equally when writing the music for each song. We discovered that by simply changing from a five piece to a four piece that we opened up new avenues in creativity.

TBD: How was Eastern Standard Time put together? Was this merely a collection of new songs or is there some sort of thread that ties the material together? Where/when was the album done?

RH: There is a statement on the back of the record that summarizes the album. Essentially I began writing short stories, as I still do, and turned these stories into songs. I wanted to create a collection of songs/stories about different characters all living in Eastern Standard Time. Each character is working on getting their way out of a tragic situation or getting themselves into one. The album was engineered and mixed by Ryan Foltz on a ranch in central-Ohio inside a vacant mansion over the course of four days. We brought the rough mixes back to Cleveland in January and recorded a few overdubs.

TBD: What factors influence the way this band works, not only musically, but what external factors like jobs, girlfriends, etc. impact the band? As the band draws on so many styles within the American songwriting tradition, who/what influences this band the most? How do you feel about this sort of music in the modern musical landscape?

RH: We're on the verge of booking longer tours. Typically we're out on the road 16 weeks out of the year. We're telepathic brothers on the road. The first few days we talk and after that its typically silent besides our normal meddling and buffoonery. We get along extremely well. We're don't concern ourselves with day jobs. The music business takes up most of our days. Playing music is the easy part. As for external factors; I cannot speak on behalf of the other members. As for myself, I have been able to remove my personal life from my songwriting. I am influenced by a lot of what I read: Cormac McCarthy, William Gay, Larry Brown...southern gothic writing. I gather notebooks full of anecdotes while traveling. Some anecdotes are completely imagined and others are exaggerated accounts of our daily lives and the lives of others.

TBD: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about The Magpies?

RH: The Magpies are a carnival ride. We can make any self-reflective individual laugh, dance, cry and rebel within the span of one song.

The Magpies will be in Dayton this Friday at the Trolley Stop. Check them out now and head on down Friday night...



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