Smile Politely

Covering all the bases

You can listen to Steve Meadows on WEFT Sessions tonight at 10 p.m. You can listen in at WEFT-90.1 FM or stream it online.

Steve’s between day jobs right now, but he’s staying plenty busy with his solo work, as well as multiple band incarnations. I caught up with him on the phone last Thursday night, and here are the results:

Smile Politely: Have you played for WEFT before?

Steve Meadows: I did last year, and I did a couple of times with a band, Missing the Point, that I still play with, but that was in ’03 and ’04 I think.

SP: Can you give a little history of your musical career?

SM: Sure. I started with my band, Missing the Point, in ’01, and by ’02 or ’03 we were playing around locally and regionally. I started playing in a couple of cover bands. One of them’s called Uncle Boff’s Discount JamBox, and we started in the fall of 2007. And that got me into playing the cover scene, and I had fun doing that. And I got another group together that also does covers, we’re called Late Night, and that’s to fill the times that the other cover band couldn’t play. And then recently in the last year, I’ve been playing acoustically, just myself. Depending on where I play, I’ll play originals or cover songs. I probably have about an hour of original music, and about three hours of covers or more.

SP: I’ve just listened to a couple of songs on your MySpace, a cover of “Lodi” and I didn’t recognize the other songs as covers.

SM: Right, there’s an electric song on there, which is a Missing the Point song that has not yet been released, and there’s an a capella song that I made in 2006. I’ve been meaning to update the player; I’ve been working on making some better acoustic recordings. A lot of what I have is demo stuff that I use to book things.

SP: Are you originally from the Champaign-Urbana area?

SM: Yeah, I grew up in Urbana. I’ve lived here since I was three years old, so I’m kind of a townie.

SP: I’m assuming you’re not a full-time musician; do you have a day job?

SM: Yeah, I don’t actually have a day job right now because I’m between jobs, but I just do music on the side. I need a day job, I guess.

SP: Good luck with that. Did you attend the U of I?

SM: Yeah, I attended the U of I. I graduated in May of last year. Before that, I went to Parkland for a couple of years and went to Urbana High School.

SP: What kind of music did you grow up listening to?

SM: My favorite bands, I listened a lot of ’90s rock and a lot of classic rock. Some of my favorite bands are CCR, Red Hot Chili Peppers, but I really listen to a variety of stuff, almost any genre.

SP: Is there anyone that Missing the Point or yourself solo have been compared to that you didn’t like the comparison?

SM: I don’t know. I think people say that Missing the Point these days sounds like Our Lady Peace, and I don’t mind that comparison. I like that band. I guess we just consider ourselves alternative rock. As a solo performer, I don’t think I’ve been out enough to really get a lot of comparisons. I just started performing within the last year by myself.

SP: How does your solo act differ from playing with a full band?

SM: I have a lot of songs that I wrote that never really became Missing the Point songs, and I have some different arrangements of Missing the Point songs, and then different arrangements of covers that can be done with just a guitar. And i sometimes have an ajimbe and a bass player with me when I do acoustic gigs.

SP: How does the songwriting process work for you?

SM: For me, I usually start with a melody, and sometimes the melody starts with words and sometimes it doesn’t. If it starts with words, then sometimes the words and music get written simultaneously. If it doesn’t, then the words get added later. But I usually start with a melody and add a chord progression, and the words get put in between there.

SP: What do you like doing with your spare time when you’re not playing in several bands?

SM: Well, I don’t have a lot of spare time, when I’m working at least. I like running and reading, and sometimes watching TV. I spend too much time on the computer, that’s something I don’t like, but I’ve been on computer jobs all the time for my day job. I don’t mind it, but sitting on a computer all the time can be a little bit much.

SP: What would you say is your favorite album of all time?

SM: I don’t know if this would be the one, but right up there would be Red Hot Chili Peppers’ BloodSugarSexMagik.

SP: Right on, that’s a good one. Have you seen RHCP live?

SM: I saw them at the Assembly Hall in ’99, and I missed them the time they came here since, because I was sick. I’ve only seen them once, but I’d like to see them again. I don’t think they’re touring right now.

SP: I didn’t realize until recently that John Frusciante is in The Mars Volta now. Is he splitting time between the groups?

SM: I hadn’t heard that. I heard that Chad Smith was in a supergroup with Sammy Hagar, but I wasn’t aware that any of the other members were doing stuff for other projects. But that’s cool, I like the Mars Volta.

SP: Any other upcoming live dates that you’d like to mention?

SM: Yeah, actually, July 16th at Aroma Cafe is a solo gig, July 11th at the White Horse Inn is a gig with my band Late Night, and July 23rd at Firehaus is another solo gig.

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