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| 16 June 2015 | Reply

There is a new rock band out there hitting the roads of the US hoping to continue gaining momentum since the release of their debut release, Final Closure and their single “Crumble,” along with its accompanying video.  Recently, band namesake and lead singer Michael McClinton jumped on the phone with us to discuss everything McClinton…


Toddstar: Michael, thank you so much for taking time out for us today.

Michael: Absolutely.

Toddstar: Well, there’s a lot going on in the world of McClinton right now. Let’s start with you guys are out on the road. I think you’re out in Anaheim.

Michael: Yes, we’re at House of Blues in Anaheim tonight.

Toddstar: How has the tour been rolling along so far?

Michael: Incredible, it’s been a great tour.

Toddstar: You guys are out with Red, I believe?

Michael: We’re out with Red, Adelitas Way, and Bad Seed Rising.

Toddstar: That’s a hell of a bill for a band to be out on.

Michael: Yeah, it’s been incredible, it really has.

Toddstar: What’s it mean to a bunch of guys from Jersey to be touring the country with bands that have the following that bands like Red or Adelitas Way have, to be able to get access to those fan bases?

Michael: It’s really been, I’ve got to be honest, it’s been amazing because we’ve actually been received very, very well. Coming on to this tour with Red being a Christian band, Adelitas Way a straight up rock band, and Bad Seed Rising being pretty young, we were kind of… we really didn’t know how it was going to go. It’s been, I have to say, it’s been surprisingly very, very well. These guys have taken us in like brothers and just… it’s great. It’s great, especially being a new band.

Toddstar: Well, you guys are no stranger to opening or being on tours with other band. You’ve opened for guys like Ace Frehley or Kip Winger, or bands like Stryper and DIO Disciples, so you guys have the exposure, so you guys obviously have what it takes to keep going. You talk about the crowds really accepting the music. What’s it like from the stage point of view when you’re looking out across a crowd that may or may not know all the songs you’re going to play, and then all of a sudden you see the heads banging, the hands in the air, and the mouths mouthing those words back to you?

Michael: That’s a good question, because we just played the Whisky-A-Go-Go the other night. Someone told me before we even hit the stage, “Dude, they’re either going to like you or they’re going to hate you.” He goes, “You’re in California now.” I got up on the stage and the first song, they pretty much, it just was like they didn’t really know what to think and then by the third song, man, they had their heads bobbing, their hands were up, they were cheering. Every crowd has been pretty much like that. It’s kind of strange, like I said, with Red having a big Christian following it’s weird, because they don’t know what to expect. We’re just pretty straight up rock and roll, there’s nothing, no backing tracks, there’s nothing like that. We try to be straight up and it’s coming across very well.


Toddstar: Well, cool. You guys are, you’ve got Final Closure out there and it’s 13 straight ahead rock tracks. You’re out on a fairly newer or smaller label. How does that feel to be able to do something like that, where you’re getting out there and you’re actually releasing music in this day and age when everybody is so download? Everybody wants one song, they want to download one song.

Michael: The label, Jewell Lane Records have picked us up, and they are a new label. Actually, we are the only act on the label. They wanted to do something besides Marsha Jewell, and she wanted to do something new with a new band, and we wanted to show that it was still possible to do this. Why she picked us was because of the music, because of my lyrics. The lyrics are from the heart and the music is driving. Like I said, it’s been an amazing ride so far. We’ve had a heck of a tour. We’re on our third leg of this tour. We started with Framing Hanley and Heartist. Then we were out with Saving Abel for almost a month. This will be our third leg of this tour. It’s been incredible.

Toddstar: It’s great to know that great rock and roll is still being produced by new bands, you know? Nobody has to hang on to what happened 30 years ago anymore.

Michael: Right. Somebody said to me that we sound, we have a 80’s/90’s lyrics with today’s music sound, is what I was told, because everybody can understand what I’m saying. You know, it’s not like rah-rah-rah-rah-rah [imitating a screamo sound].

Toddstar: Yeah, I’m not a big post-hardcore, metalcore guy myself.

Michael: Yeah, I’m not into the, as my wife calls it, screamo.

Toddstar: You mentioned this is the third leg. You’ve been out there with some bands. What are the couple things that you’ve figured out now that you didn’t know when you hit that first leg, when you got in the van or in the bus? What are the couple things that you figured out real quick that you should have brought with you from home?

Michael: More clothes. It’s kind of weird. From the first night we started with Framing Hanley, I think we learned a lot. Because when you first show up, you’ve got to realize when you first show up on a tour, everybody is so focused and concentrated on that first night and getting everything done. When you’re new and you just show up, you’re like, “Why is everybody treating me like you’re nobody?” That first night, it’s always that first night, no one talks to you, you’re kind of like the dirt, but they’re focused. Then as the day and the day and a half go on, it kind of relaxes and everybody is like, “Okay, we got the first show done,” and then it just becomes a new thing, you know? Then that tour, the piece of that tour just because that piece of that tour. Everybody gets along out here. It’s weird. It’s like you expect to go on our tour and you’re expecting everybody to be like going their own separate ways or whatever, but it’s not like that. We’re going to Magic Mountain with Adelitas Way and Bad Seed Rising in a couple days. We’re going to go have some fun.

Toddstar: There you go. That’s what it’s all about. You’re out there working your ass off, getting to where need to be. To be able to take a day or two and just be yourselves and enjoy the ride, so to speak.

Michael: Yeah, because on this tour, there’s really no time for enjoyment or enjoying the ride. We’re playing five shows a night and then we have a day off driving, and we’re driving. It’s like, remember the movie Groundhog Day? Yeah, that’s what touring is like. Yeah, you wake up, you know? You got to wake up in the morning and it’s like, “Where am I and what day is it?” We feel every day is a Friday here.

Toddstar: Cool. It’s a least good that you’re enjoying the ride. So many bands get out there and they just assume it’s going to be something, and they take it for granted.

Michael: Well, I mean, and I’ll state this as this, a lot of guys come out here and they think, “I’m going to be a rock star.” Yeah, okay. No rock stars any more, man. You get on the stage, you play your music, you go off the stage and you hope fans come and meet you at the table for a buy of some of your merchandise. This isn’t the 80’s any more, man. It’s really funny, because it’s like … I got to quote somebody that said to me the other night, he goes, “You’re a rock star!” I was like, “Dude, no I’m not. As a matter of fact, I’m the furthest thing from a rock star.”


Toddstar: You mentioned you’re on the third leg with Red right now. This wraps up in 10 days, 15 days, something like that.  Then, it looks like you’ve got a few days off and then you’re kicking into a fourth leg with Art of Dying.

Michael: Correct. I think we have 10 days off before we jump on to the Art of Dying tour.

Toddstar: Which will put you guys in Michigan, so it’s good that you guys will finally get to get somewhere near the original and the real rock city. I’ll tip my hat, in Jersey you’ve got Springsteen and Bon Jovi, I’ll give you your due, but here in Detroit, man, we take it serious.

Michael: Hey, listen, I’m a big fan of Pop Evil so I get you.

Toddstar: There you go. A lot of times when people hear Jersey rock, the first thing they do think of, like I said, you think of the Springsteens, the Skid Rows, the Bon Jovis, things like that. But coming up, who are the guys who really influenced you in the direction that you wanted to take in the rock world?

Michael: None of them. I mean, I was more of a Queensrÿche, Van Halen, and then I just grew as the years went on. When new stuff came out, I evolved to that. I went from from Queensrÿche to right now, I’m a big Five Finger Death Punch, over it I mean, I’m sorry, otherwise, Pop Evil is one of my favorites right now. Back then, I think I was majorly… Queensrÿche and Geoff Tate is the reason why I wanted to become a singer. I feel even their new lineup with Todd La Torre is amazing, Whip is an incredible guitar player. I love everything about music so it’s not just the vocal. I’m a singer, but I love everything about music. I produce back at home, I’m an engineer back at home, so I do everything that has to do with music. Matter of fact, putting this tour together with Chip, I pretty much did all the management end of it as well. I know pretty much almost all the ins and outs of the industry now. I may just want to do that afterwards, you know, when we’re done, but we’re far from done. We’re recording another single right now.

Toddstar: Looking back at, like you said you’re an engineer back home, you’re out on the road, this isn’t your first, so to speak, time at the rodeo. This isn’t something you started last week in your basement. Looking back over what you have achieved in the business, and again, this is a business that changes daily let alone where it’s gone over the last couple of years. What are the couple of things that you’ve done so far, Michael, that you’re just proud of, that you want to be remembered for at this point?

Michael: I think this national tour is probably something that no one can or will ever be able to take away from me. People said I couldn’t do it, people said my band couldn’t do it. Just playing the Whisky, honestly, the other night was like playing Madison Square Garden for me. I’ve always wanted to do it. Some of the other places, like Vegas as well, was just amazing, amazing. Getting up and doing 18 days with Saving Abel three times, three or five times, was incredible. Those are things that I’m very proud of it. Signing to Jewell Lane Records I’m very proud of because we worked really hard to get the deal done so we could actually come out here and do this. The band I’m with now, the guys that I have now, I’m very proud of them because we’re not making a lot of money out here, because you don’t, but they stick with day in and day out and they don’t cry about it. They just want to do what we’re doing and that’s what I’m proud of, because we’re doing it and we’re doing it the hard way. Paying our dues.

Toddstar: That’s what it’s all about, man. Unfortunately, there’s no Voice or American Idol or whatever concocted TV show you’ve got that helps break rock bands, you know?

final mclogo2-2

Michael: Yeah, that’s all garbage. I hate to say this, but that’s all garbage, you know? I tried out for The Voice four times. I sat in there and smoked some of those people and they took people that were 10 times less talented than I was because they were a lot younger than me. That’s how I feel about that, they’re all garbage. They’re all corporate-ran garbage.

Toddstar: Anything else going on with the band right now?

Michael: Actually, we have a fifth leg of the tour that we’re working on right now, to be honest with you. We’re actually going to go back out with Adelitas Way, probably. We’ve been in talks, we’re in talks with everybody about that, yes. Rick [DeJesus] wants us to come back out with him, so we’ve got to be doing something right.

Toddstar: Yeah, if you get a guy like to Rick to sign off, that’s what you need.

Michael: Yeah, he told me, “Tell Andrew [at TKO] to call me, I’ll take care of it,” so you know. We’re very proud of what we’re doing, and we’re doing it, and we’re turning people’s heads. That’s what we really wanted to do, because we only needed the opportunity to show people how good we really were. I feel bad for so many bands out there that don’t get this opportunity to do it. I know just in Jersey alone, I can name off four bands that deserve a shot and don’t get a shot. Thanks to Jewell Lane Records, we’ve got our opportunity be out here and do what we’re doing. Our whole team around us, you know, or promo people, including Chip and our booking agent, just incredible, every one of them are just incredible and we owe a lot to them.

Toddstar: We wish you well on the road, man. We’ll make sure everybody knows to get out there and shake a hand with you guys when they’re in your town and buy a t-shirt and share the love, and make sure you guys can stay out on the road.

Michael: Absolutely. Even if you don’t want to buy a t-shirt or a CD or whatever, just come talk to us, because we just want to get to know who the fans are, because that’s what helps us stay out here. That’s what we’re doing this, because without them, we can’t do this. Without you guys doing stories about us and stuff, we can’t do this and we really, really appreciate that.

Toddstar: Well, people can do that here in Michigan on July 17 when you guys are in Westland, Michigan at the Token Lounge. Until then, safe travels. Enjoy the ride, man. And enjoy Magic Mountain.

Michael: Thank you so much. Thanks, man, I’m going to. Talk to you soon.

Toddstar: All right, brother. Have fun and we’ll talk to you soon.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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