By ERIC SCHELKOPF
Chicago band Man Called Noon takes another step forward with its second full-length album, "The Bad Guy."
The album is chock full of infectious melodies and bolstered by the urgent vocals of lead singer and rhythm guitarist Tony Giamichael.
To celebrate the release of the album, the band will perform Jan. 29 at the House of Blues, 329 N. Deaborn St., Chicago. Band Called Catch, Big Wig Mechanic, Burnside & Hooker and Leo Kidd also are on the bill.
The music starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $10 in advance, available by going to www.livenation.com.
I had the chance to talk to Giamichael about the new album.
Q - In sitting down to make the album, what were your goals and do you think you accomplished them? Is there a story behind the album's name?
A personal goal for me was to write songs for the new album that where a little catchier then our last album. A little more pop oriented.
But we wanted the songs to still have a maturity to them. It can be a tricky thing to write a catchy song but not sacrifice respectability or honesty. We didn’t want it to be phony.
Lyrically, it was important that we never went over that line either. The songs mostly explore
relationships and the success and failures of them, as most pop songs do.
But I didn’t want it to be tongue in cheek or hokey. Hopefully they are able to convey that. A little maturity and a little seriousness in an otherwise catchy tune.
The album got its name from the first track, “The Bad Guy.” The idea of who the bad guy is in a relationship at its tail end. Where the finger is being pointed.
Everyone always wants to know whose fault it is/was or what went wrong. The two people
in the relationship point fingers and everyone else surrounding it points a finger.
It’s the strangest thing. We all want a bad guy or a specific reason to fall on. When really, most of the time the situation doesn’t really call for it. So that’s where that comes from.
Q - Does the band take its name from the book/movie "The Man Called Noon?"
Never heard of it…ha ha, kidding. I actually got the book from my father. It was originally my grandfather's. An old paperback I used to read over and over when I was a kid.
We had a hard time coming up with a name as most bands do. But my mind kept coming back to that.
It brought about the right imagery. It felt a little mysterious and seemed unique at the time.
Q - I see the new album has landed on college radio charts. Are you hoping the new album will help you widen your audience?
That’s actually pretty awesome to hear. We are definitely hoping to widen the audience with every album we make, and hopefully improving on our sound and songwriting every time we get in the studio.
Having the final product is a big shot in the arm and we all feel a significant amount of pride in just following through with a project and finishing it. But when people actually like it? Or want to listen to it? Man, that feels really good.
Honestly, telling a band or any musician that you like a song or show they play really makes their day. At least for me and I’m sure I speak for everyone in MCN.
Q - Do you think you are building on what you created with your last album? How do you think the band's music has grown since Man Called Noon formed in 2009?
I think we are just getting better at understanding the business and making the right friends along the way. So much of this is just a struggle to understand everything beyond the songwriting.
For this album we were lucky to be introduced to Stephen Shirk at Shirk Studios by our co-producer Matt Cerritos. They really brought the best out of us and genuinely wanted to give us their best every time we were in the studio.
I can’t tell you how much of a difference it makes for the album and the sound when everyone is in pursuit of the singular goal of creating a better song. Not just pushing buttons. Being involved. Plus they are just good guys.
Speaking on the songwriting, I think we’ve made a jump this album. Mostly due to the rapport between bassist Dave Aitken, drummer Josh Fontenot and I. We’ve just done a good job at finding patience and figuring out what makes the other person tick.
Q - I know that you have a few new band members. How do you think that has changed the band's sound?
When we started writing the album, we knew we were going to have a broader sound and add a little more depth. Keys, back-up singers, new guitar players.
It was honestly just a matter of being patient enough to wait for the right people to come along. Everyone has been fantastic and has put so much work into this.
Really good people and all close friends. Having a larger band really opens up so many layers to songs that we didn’t have access to before.
I think the best thing any band can do is find people to play with that are spectacular at whatever your individual weaknesses are. And I think we’ve all done that.
It’s hard to be good at everything. But as a unit and a band, I think we are getting pretty tight.
Q - The band recently signed with Tinderbox Music, which represents a diverse group of musicians, including Ingrid Michaelson and Imagine Dragons. How did you hook up with the company and how do you think the band fits in with the other artists on Tinderbox Music's roster?
Just lucky. We just got very lucky to be introduced to such a stand up company and bunch of people.
Danny Surico of the Chicago band “The Future Laureates” is affiliated with them and he was kindly introduced to me.
He liked our sound and passed our stuff along to Tinderbox Music. I didn’t know what we were getting into. It was a HUGE learning experience and still is.
But man if they aren’t some down to earth, very helpful people. To be in the same breath as the bands you just mentioned is an honor.
I’m not blowing smoke on this either. Tinderbox Music has been the biggest help of our musical career. Jon Delange, the force behind Tinderbox Music, has treated us with way more respect then we even deserve.
Always helps us out. Always makes time for us. Always answers questions with honesty and respect.
A huge breath of fresh air. Same for Danny Surico & The Future Laureates. I can’t speak more highly of them without sounding like a complete fool.
Q - What do you think of the Chicago music scene and how do you think Man Called Noon fits into it?
The Chicago music scene. So diverse and so underrated. Great bands like The Baby Magic, Band Called Catch, Burnside & Hooker, Goose Corp., AyOH. I can go on and on.
Bands that honestly are a step ahead of us and bring people out to shows and never take a song or show off. Crush it every night.
These are the types of bands that fill our city. I don’t care how we fit in. Just as long as we are involved and that we strive for their respect.
Q - One can hear the title track off the new album on your show, "The Zach and Tony Show." How were you inspired to create the show and what should people expect from the show in 2016?
My good friend and drummer of the band, “James Manno & The B.O.T.s," Zach Finch, is also an actor and writer. We just talked about the idea of writing a web-series that made us laugh.
Something that we could hone specific crafts with. We got better at writing with it, I learned how to edit with Adobe Premier Pro, and we enlisted the help of Chicago podcast enthusiast, Logan Conner of AWESOMonster Podcast, to do camera work.
So much fun and a very low stress project. We were inspired by shows like "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Key & Peele," etc. It seemed like the obvious thing to do to cross promote and use it as a small platform to showcase a couple songs off of Man Called Noon’s new album.
Q - I'm sure you have heard Man Called Noon's sound described in a number of ways. How would you describe the band's music?
It’s pop-rock ‘n’ roll. There are a lot of different sub-genres in the new album. But at the root, its Rock ‘N’Roll.
BUT here is a more specific answer that we lean on for various bios. "Our songwriting is fundamentally rooted and guided by, whom we deem to be, some of the great, classic
Americana artists; Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Sam Cooke.
When we start working the songs in the rehearsal process, the various influences of the band members start to take over and ultimately shape the sound. Precision locked bass and drums and crushing guitars combined with interweaving keys and melodic voices creates music that sits comfortably in the company of contemporaries such as Gaslight Anthem, The Killers, and Arcade Fire."
Q - What are the band's short-term and long-term goals?
Short-term: Play good shows, have a good time, and gain a larger following while paying of the cost of the new album.
Long-term: It’s always uncomfortable expressing your ambitions or goals in conversation or on paper. It feels like the moment you even whisper them its like letting the air out of a balloon.
You keep them close to you because they are your dreams. You don’t want anyone crushing
them, damaging them, punching you in the gut.
Without being specific, I would assume we are like most bands, though. Go as far as you can.
After that? Keep going.