Editor's Spotlight: Love Drug
Interviewed by Skip Protection
One of Ohio's newest and emerging acts, Lovedrug, took time out their schedules to sit down with our Music Editor, Skip Protection and discuss their new album, Pretend You're Alive due out on July 27, 2004! Lovedrug is a terrific combination of rock, great hooks, tight musicianship, balladry and poetry sprinkled with honesty and vulnerability. Lovedrug is sure to impress all types of music fans with their fresh approach and wisdom beyond their years. Check out the debut album and see them live soon!
PART IInterview with Lovedrug's lead vocalist and keyboardist, Michael Shepard
MillionairePlayboy: How long have you been playing? I know you play guitar, keyboards and sing, right?
Micheal: Yeah, I've been playing music for a long, long time. I started playing guitar when I was about 12 years old and I've always had an interest in playing music and just being involved even at a young age even though I was sort of shy and embarrassed about it. I knew it was something I needed to get out of me.
MillionairePlayboy: Starting at such a young age, when did you right your first song?
Micheal: I was about 14 when I wrote my first song, I think.
MillionairePlayboy: Have you ever performed it?
Micheal: Yeah, I did for a bunch of pals in junior high school one time. It didn't go over too well…hehe…but that didn't stop me.
MillionairePlayboy: No, it's definitely not good to get discouraged early on, right?
MillionairePlayboy: I read that you've been in some other bands before LoveDrug?
Micheal: I was mainly in one other band that I started when I was about 14 or so. The band was called Kerith Ravine.
MillionairePlayboy: How would you describe them?
Micheal: It was far more technical than Lovedrug. Technical in the sense of not being too focused on a gathering a mainstream audience, I guess you could say.
Micheal: I was more really to write these epic, 10 minute songs with a hundred different changes and chord progressions. was really just trying to take my musicianship to the next level and basically just trying to impress ourselves. hehe.
MillionairePlayboy: Let's talk about Lovedrug! Where did you guys come up with the name?
Micheal: Lovedrug...actually I came up with the name. It was meant to come across as "drug" being a verb.
MillionairePlayboy: So, like in the past tense?
Micheal: Precisely. It's the idea of my love for music and how no matter what I'm doing in life or how far I seem to stray away from it, it's my passion for wanting to make music and pulling me back into this life. The love of something dragging you back into what you are meant to be doing.
MillionairePlayboy: That's really cool...I thought maybe it had to do with Herbie the Love Bug, the Disney classic. hehe. I'm totally kidding.
MillionairePlayboy: Congratulations on your new album, "Pretend You're Alive", it is the first full album your band has put out (Lovedrug has released two shorter EPs in the past couple of years). How excited are you and the band?
Micheal: We're pretty stoked! All of us are. I guess I'm a little more excited than the rest of the guys because I'm the only one left in the band left from the studio recording sessions.
MillionairePlayboy: Oh really?
Micheal: Yeah, we've had a few line-up changes. Our guitar player ended up getting married and doing the settling down thing. We had some difficulties with our old drummer which would be a whole other interview altogether. hehe. It was pretty much down to Adam and me (bassist). He and I played a long long time, going as far back as Tarent Ravine?? but he's on sabaticle right now. So as far as the album coming out and touring to support it, I'm really the only one left.
Micheal: To get back to your original question, I'm really excited about the album. It's been a long time in the making. The album has been finished for over a year and half.
MillionairePlayboy: So, were you shopping it around to labels?
Micheal: Yeah, it just kept getting halted, for good reasons, as we kept getting offers from various labels. So, we just kept waiting and waiting and the wise choice came down to Militia Group (Lovedrug's label).
MillionairePlayboy: I had the chance to listen to the new record several times and I really like what you all have done. I've read in a few mainstream pubs that you all are comparable to a main stream-style Radiohead or Sunny Day Real Estate. Definitely has a lot of depth to it...especially for a debut album.
MillionairePlayboy: In terms of the creative process, putting together the songs as a band, what type of process did you use? Music first or lyrics first? Did you all just sorta jam and put stuff together?
Micheal: It kinda occurs differently with each song. I mean every song is its own little person or its own little planet. So, when it comes to writing, I'll come in with an idea or some music, and we'll build on that while twisting and turning it into what it needs to become. Usually the lyrics are secondary to the music and that's how it usually goes for me. Generally, the music just sort of inspires certain words.
MillionairePlayboy: I remember hearing Billy Joel talking about songwriting and he said that the only song he wrote the words first for was "We Didn't Start The Fire" and you can see how the music turned out for that with 3 or 4 notes. hehe.
Micheal: It's a difficult thing to put music to words.
MillionairePlayboy: Now did you write most of the lyrics or was that also a collaboration?
Micheal: No I wrote all of the lyrics. But as far as the music goes, that's more of a collaboration.
MillionairePlayboy: Now, one song I really like was Down Towards The Healing. What inspired you to write this song?
Micheal: That's funny because that's actually the first song I wrote on piano. I just moved into a new apartment with a nice resonance and word floors. I bought a used piano and put it in there. So, it was just great to sit down and play in the apartment and the acoustics were incredible. I had played piano more as a kid and I was sort of re-learning it. That was just a song that came out of me with the music and the words came after that. It just felt like starting over. A new type of feeling and I likened that to a failing love story in which you want to start anew.
MillionairePlayboy: You all are touring right now and in fact all summer. Any show you are particularly excited about?
Micheal: The are certainly shows that are great, shows that are not-so-great and shows that are terrible but as a whole, when you tour, the whole idea behind the band is to love each show for what it is. ou don't get burned out that way. So, we definitely look forward to all the shows! You just never know when you hear about a place that's small and you think "oh crap this isn't going to be a good show" and then you get there and you meet incredible. We're just really looking forward to the whole tour.
MillionairePlayboy: In terms of your influences as a musician and a member of the band, whom do you feel inspired by?
Micheal: Well, I pull a lot of my inspiration from places other than music. I try not to get too wrapped up in other's people's music and I guess I want my music to come from a place not tainted by someone else. However, I certainly have people I look up to. Bjork for instance...I think she's fantastically brilliant. I'm a huge Queen fan.
MillionairePlayboy: I noticed in the press materials that you mentioned them.
Micheal: I just love their mentality...they wrote a huge amount of different types of music and encompass such a wide scope. I mean anyone can pop in a Queen cd and find something they like. They were just so huge and took so many chances by walking a fine line and not falling into a certain genre. I think Lovedrug does that too.
MillionairePlayboy: I definitely love Queen too. Just the length of their career and imagine how they went from Bohemian Rhapsody to One Vision and the last stuff they did.
MillionairePlayboy: What do you think of the independent music scene right now?
Micheal: Well, I don't put a lot of stock into the indie music scene, the mentality. We've played with a lot of bands that consider themselves to be indie rock gods and to me that's not really a big thing to accomplish. We've never considered ourselves a indie rock band and we didn't sign with the Militia Group to be a be a really cool indie rock band. We signed with them b/c they wanted to change what people thought about them as an indie rock label. So we're working together to change that scene. It is this underlying mentality that you're only cool if your not pleasing [fans]. There's always gotta be this conflict. I've just never understood that mentality. I think its just a great place to build a career and plug yourself into.
MillionairePlayboy: It sounds like you've got a great perspective on things. So, a little lighter topic…I read that your music had been featured on Real World and MTV shows.
Micheal: I haven't heard that yet but I do remember watching a show on Fox that had our song in it. I can't remember the name…it was really strange. I mean the show got cancelled so...
MillionairePlayboy: I wouldn't take that personally. hehe.
Micheal: It was really strange to be honest. We were on the road when it aired and our managers taped it and it was just such a different feeling to have an image on TV and one of our songs associated with it. It just sorta made me laugh.
MillionairePlayboy: hehe. Our site does a lot for guys aged 15-35 featuring pop culture, what types of interests do you have when you are not on stage?
Micheal: I'm definitely a big movie-goer...not so much TV. I went to film school for a while so I have a love of film. The last good movie I saw was Coffee and Cigarettes, a interesting take on American culture today.
MillionairePlayboy: On behalf of our site, thanks for taking the time to chat with us and good luck with everything in the future!
Micheal: Thanks and be sure to check out our new album out now!
PART IIInterview with Lovedrug's lead guitarist, David Owen
MillionairePlayboy: How long have you been playing guitar and singing?
David (25, Canton): I've been playing guitar for about 12 years so I probably should be much better. [laughter] I came on board Lovedrug last year.
MillionairePlayboy: What other bands did you play in prior to meeting up with Michael and the guys in Lovedrug?
David: Primarily, I was in a band called Ancient of Days, an indie rock band, while I was in college. We were together for about three years.
MillionairePlayboy: Big congrats on the first full album of the band. How excited are you for this to finally hit the streets?
David: I'm really excited and we've waited so long to release it and it's just coming out on the right label with Militia Group. I'm really excited b/c we know they [Militia Group] are gonna hit it hard and they know how to develop artists. I just think it's really going to catch on.
MillionairePlayboy: What was it like doing the label shopping and picking Militia Group?
David: It was fun, man!
MillionairePlayboy: Did they wine and dine you guys?
David: Oh yeah, they did. Out in New York City, took us out to eat and for drinks...it was a great time and kinda surreal too. We were really freakin' poor at the time so it was just great. We put a lot of time and thought into picking this label and we're stoked by how things have turned out.
MillionairePlayboy: It sounds like they have given you all lots of freedom to develop as an act and work with you to really get your name out there.
David: Absolutely. They've got so much hunger and desire…way more energy than a big label that really have become sort of big old dinosaurs. The freedom is definitely key.
MillionairePlayboy: In terms of songwriting, what kind of input did you have?
David: Yeah, actually, we had a time a few months ago where we wrote 9 songs in 4 days...we just really hit it hard. Michael usually would throw out an idea and the rest of us would put our two cents in. I was really happy with the way it worked out.
MillionairePlayboy: I've had a chance to listen to the album a number of times and I've been really impressed with the depth of it…especially as a debut album. Do you have a particular favorite?
David: My favorite is probably two...Candy and Radiology. Definitely like to play those. I don't like playing as much Down Towards The Healing because I always miss a note or two while playing it. The first part of the song has a slide and its sorta awkward later on.
MillionairePlayboy: Maybe you can throw the slide into the crowd like a souvenir or something? Fans love the giveaways like Cheap Trick does!
David: Oh absolutely...free stuff is always a good time. I've heard that Cheap Trick likes to do that.
MillionairePlayboy: I know you all have a pretty heavy touring schedule this summer. Any one that you're particularly excited about?
David: It's going to be pretty hectic this summer. Definitely looking forward to playing the Rock Hall and the Live Spider in our home town. I was really excited about playing tonight but I've got a cold and now I'm sorta dreading it a bit. I'm also looking forward to playing in Pittsburgh at the Club Café...that's a real sweet place to play.
MillionairePlayboy: Any favorite show you've done so far...where you've really connected and everything went great?
David: Well, we definitely had some good shows in NYC recently. We actually opened up for Hanson in our hometown. We were worried that it was going to be a little dorky but it ended up being unbelievable. The crowd was so excited it was great.
MillionairePlayboy: As the lead guitarist in the band, what bands or musicians have influenced you the most?
David: Definitely, I'd say for one the Catherine Wheel, they've been a big influence on me. Obviously, Radiohead. I really love Jeff Buckley's guitar playing...I'd say he's one of the biggest influences on me, any way shape or form, in my music. Those are probably the biggest for me.
MillionairePlayboy: What are your feelings about the indie music scene right now?
David: I'm excited about it. I think it's the best thing music has going for it right now. It seems to be doing really well from what I see and hear. I think it takes the music industry to a higher level and especially when the big labels miss the ball. It's their mistake when they go for the quick buck one-hit wonders out there. The indie labels are just really picking up the slack. That's why I'm just so stoked to be with Militia Group where its just such a great environment.
MillionairePlayboy: I have to agree with you on that...I think the indie labels are keeping the spirit of rock n' roll alive so to speak.
David: Oh, absolutely. I think people are just going to start seeking it out more and more. If they aren't happy with what they are seeing and hearing on MTV, they're going to want something different.
MillionairePlayboy: What kinds of stuff are you into outside of the band?
David: Well, I'm definitely not into TV...it just kinda melts my brain. I like reading a lot and walking around. Sometimes its just great to play my acoustic guitar myself and kinda fiddle around with stuff. Big fan of comedy! I just recently started watching the Larry David show, Curb Your Enthusiasm" on HBO. Plus I gotta hang out with my girlfriend! Relaxation is definitely key.
MillionairePlayboy: Women always love the lead guitarist in the band. What's that like and what's your girlfriend think about that?
David: Well, my girlfriend's okay with all of that. We're really confident in our relationship. It kinda freaked her out at first but she's really cool about it all.
MillionairePlayboy: On behalf of our site, thanks for taking the time to chat with us and good luck with everything in the future!
For more info check out LoveDrugMusic.com and pick up their new album from Amazon.com
and stop by their label, theMilitiaGroup.com
Article © 2004 MillionairePlayboy.com