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Feature for April 2013


The Meteor Men


Band Name: The Meteor Men

Genre: Surf / Instro

Geographical Area: Wilmington, North Carolina

Interview with Doug Skipper by email on 3/29/13


1. What is the current line-up of your band (include band member names)?

Doug Skipper, Roger Manning, Bob Quintano, Alan Patterson


2. How and when did you get started with your band?

The core of the band had performed with each other here and there doing other genres. After a couple of kick-it-around sessions we all agreed that it was just a blast playing all these cool Old School Surf tunes. It was really a refreshing break from the normal material we had been collectively playing. The Surf format essentially sold itself and in short order we decided to go "all in."

We started gigging together as a Surf band in 2009.



3. What bands or music have influenced you most?

Wow, hard to say as our influences are so varied and many. The great thing about this band is we all have a great appreciation of good music across the board and spanning many genres. No musical snobbery with this group.

That said, here's a few surf & instro bands that we all seem to really dig and respect: The Astronauts, The Pyramids, Link Wray, The Ventures, Dick Dale, Los Straightjackets, The Chantays.



4. What is the break down of cover vs. original material in your live shows and/or recordings?

Currently for live shows it's about 70 / 30; for a one set gig we can now play an all original set if needed.



5. What recording have you done?

We have a bunch of rough demos for songwriting purposes and quite a few live recordings from various gigs but nothing we consider production quality at this time. An EP is on the horizon though. We really need to get it done as we are constantly asked for CDs at gigs and events.



6. What kind of gear do you use?

DiPinto and Fender guitars. Fender, Music Man and vintage Acoustic amps. We also incorporate a digi synth, monotron and percussion effects into the mix.



7. What is your bandís favorite food/beverage?

Anything our drummer Roger cooks! He's a chef and ex-restaurant owner. Old Grand Dad 114 seems to be our favorite thing to drink as of late.



8. How do you get gigs?

For local area gigs I've established and fostered many connections over the years. So normally that's just a phone call, visit or e-mail. Of course venues come and go so that's always a work in progress. For regional and other we look for opportunities and reach out. Then there's word of mouth and social media.



9. What are the difficulties you find playing your kind of music in your area?

It's getting better but Surf music can still be a tough sale. By and large most people just don't understand what the genre encompasses. Half the battle is just getting your foot in the door at certain venues. Once we play there we normally always get of positive feedback and often times many local area musicians come out to attend the shows which is always a big compliment. That said we've started "picking our venues" somewhat at this point. We try to strike a balance between reaching new audiences vs. playing to our demographic.

I wish there were more Surf / Instro bands here as this would surely help the scene but as one of the only area surf bands, adequate exposure can be a bit of a challenge. There seems to be no shortage of "cover" bands locally so we're always having to compete with those groups in a sense as well. If we manage to get in the line-up at a decent venue it's usually once or twice a year amongst a slew of rock or dance cover bands which makes it difficult to build a following.



10. What positive attributes does your band have that sets you apart from other bands (of any genre)?

Dynamics! We strive to create an overall dynamic sound / feel when performing live and song writing. Our general open-minded attitude and appreciation of all forms of music is also a great asset. Work ethic and musicianship should also be mentioned.


11. What have you found to be the single most effective promotional tool youíve used to further your bandís musical path?

If I had to pick one I'd say live video. It seems many venue managers, booking agents and event organizers prefer a live video clip opposed any other forms of media. I've even had a few tell me that "audio only" demos are too easy to manipulate and that they've booked bands that sounded nothing like their recordings. The video doesn't lie and it also demonstrates your stage presence.



12. Whatís the most interesting performance experience youíve had? 

Well we've had some pretty wild experiences over the years. One that we always seem to bring up is a gig at a local beach venue. After playing till last call (2:00am) to a rockin' party crowd of wealthy foreign visitors (I forget which nationality, but I believe they were from somewhere in South America?), they then invited us to play at the beach house they had rented and continue the party. Unfortunately the party was nixed when the local law enforcement intervened.



13. What do you hope to get out of being a NESMA member?

As a NESMA member we see an opportunity to network with other out- of-state bands via the org.



14. Anything else?

The Meteor Men feel privileged be a small part of an ultra cool genre. We encourage all our fellow musicians to be part of the scene. It's really up to us to support each other and make things happen. We completely understand that real jobs, family and "other" will always compete for our valuable time, but try to attend shows when you can, work with other bands, support events, help each other, network and support live music!


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