Jeff Michaels is singer/songwriter, author, and piano player from Boston, MA who has been compared to a mix of Ben Folds and Billy Joel, yet with a brand of rock all his own.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Jeff Michaels – vocals / piano
Chris Teffner – guitars / producer
Ben Reynolds – bass
Mark Lira - drums
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Jeff Michaels? How long has the band been around?
I started this band while living in California under the name Even Elroy, and when I moved to Boston in 2008 ended up changing the name to my own. Chris and I have been playing together since 2011, and Ben & I since 2009. Our touring drummer, Mark Lira, is also the drummer for the metal band, Trouble.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
Even Elroy came from my desire to not be called “Robots!”, the name my band members in California thought would be great. We were an indie rock band, and went with a suggestion from my bass player’s girlfriend for two words that sounded good together… had nothing to do with the Jetsons!
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
I write the original versions of the songs for my band, and along with my guitarist/producer Chris Teffner we hash out arrangements, structure, and different feels for the song long before we go in to actually record. We’ve sometimes spent years working on an arrangement. I’ve co-written several songs with my bass player Ben too, as he comes up with lines I never would have thought of that seem to compliment my piano parts perfectly.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
I’m a big fan of classic rock, and go back to Tom Petty, Springsteen, who I feel are still making relevant music, if not some of the best work in their careers. Also a big fan of The Killers right now.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
It would be Billy Joel. When he started out he looked the exact opposite of a rock star, with terrible hair, wearing a suit and tie and playing the piano. It was inspiring to watch someone entirely unlike the typical look of the 80s with long hair, tight pants, etc. work to create a career as a musician, and to see the number of people respond to his music has always been an inspiration to me.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, ect …
Few vocal warm ups, and one drink. Then just step into the zone.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
I’ve been fortunate to record with one of my all-time musical idols, Steve Bowman, the original drummer for the Counting Crows. He was the first drummer I ever recorded with, and we went down to Nashville to record with him again on our latest album, TOWNIE PARADISE. He is truly one of the great drummers in rock, and his instinct for where a song should go is unparalleled. Just being in the studio with him raises your game to the point where you want every song to sound like it could be played in a stadium.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
I would love to open for Tom Petty. His vibe is exactly what I hope to achieve each and every time on stage. Relaxed, polished, rock n’ roll perfection. I think his audience would relate to the stuff we do, and our focus on quality songwriting with unique lyrics.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I think we’re at a unique time in music history where artists have an “anything goes” mentality. We’ve worked hard to carve out our own niche of rock music that doesn’t always agree with what the mainstream is playing, but we’ve stayed true to our sound, and tried to grow with each new album. My only hope for the industry is that listeners take the time to seek out those bands who have dedicated this time to developing their careers, and give them a chance.