Though Midnight Reruns had an EP in circulation already, the release of the band’s next-to-flawless self-titled 2013 album truly brought the rock outfit to local consciousness and saw them privy to nods from national music pubs as well. Last year found the Reruns playing in support of said record while writing and recording another full-length, while turning more listeners on to their timeless, all-around outstanding sound. Some of those listeners just so happen to be in The Replacements, who tabbed Midnight Reruns the opening support for the legendary act’s show at The Rave on May 2. Moreover, Replacements member Tommy Stinson opted to record the up-and-coming band’s forthcoming record.
On the cusp of the band’s biggest show to date, Milwaukee Record spoke to Midnight Reruns singer-guitarist Graham Hunt about the amazing opening opportunity, recording with the renowned rocker, and the EP the Reruns will release on Friday (and that’s embedded below) to tide listeners over while the full-length awaits label support.
Milwaukee Record: I wanted to begin with the opening slot you got for The Replacements show at The Rave. How did that all go down? I know both bands being associated with Ben [Perlstein] played at least a small part in it. When did you learn that you’d be doing it and what was it like to know you’d be opening for a legendary band?
Graham Hunt: I think [Ben] told me that’s a thing that might happen during the Pablove benefit at Turner. I was in that thing with like 55 musicians switching off doing Replacements songs. Ben was there playing a couple songs and he was like, “The Replacements are probably coming to Milwaukee. They’re probably playing The Rave, and you’re probably going to have you open.” It got talked about back and forth over the next few months, and it wasn’t confirmed until just like two weeks before it came out to the public.
MR: Was it really hard to know that it was happening and having to hold it in?
GH: Yeah. And we knew it was probably going to happen for months, so you just want to tell everyone, but you can’t.
MR: Beyond Ben, there’s also another association between you and The Replacements. You did your next full-length with one of the members? Tommy Stinson, right?
GH: Yeah, Ben has managed Tommy Stinson for a long time and he mentioned in passing a few years back when the album first came out that Tommy might want to do the second one. I guess he showed him the record and he liked it a lot. He was trying to get into producing bands and asked if we’d want to come out and do it. I thought that was amazing.
MR: Yeah, what was the experience like? You went to New York and did it. Was it all in one lump or did you go back a few times to finish in pieces?
GH: We did it all in one [session]. We drove out there, and it was all in his house. He had his studio set up in his den, and he had another room attached to that where all the recording was done. We spent four days there and pretty much recorded the whole time. We did it pretty quickly because it was mostly done live. There aren’t that many overdubs.
MR: What was the impact Tommy’s involvement had on the final product?
GH: It’s hard to tell. You think about how you would’ve done it. Before we knew Tommy wanted to get involved, we talked about maybe doing it with Shane [Hochstetler] at Howl Street. It was weird because Tommy’s style was really similar to Shane’s—really “you should sound how you sound [live]” and “play everything live as much as you can, don’t do too many overdubs, and use as much of your own equipment as you can.”I don’t mean to say he was really hands off like he didn’t add anything or have any suggestions. He did. The first three days, he let us do our thing and hit record. Then the last day, when we were doing some overdubs and stuff, he kept telling us to record guitar solos and was like, “You should put a tambourine here” or “You should put a vocal harmony here.” So had a lot of input when it came to the little things. We just bought a bottle of whiskey and were up until like four in the morning doing weird shit.
MR: I’m sure with it not being done locally after work on nights or weekends, you probably got in the mode of focusing on making this record the best you could.
GH: Yeah, I don’t like making records in pieces. If I made a record here, I just would get four days off. I don’t like to have any distractions or be thinking about anything else.
MR: Well now that the record is done, it’s sort of in limbo. You mentioned to me that you’re sitting on it for a while as you look for label support. In the meantime, you’re doing an EP that will be out in early May?
GH: The EP will be out May 1. We wanted it to come out in time for that big show. We had a couple new songs and we didn’t want to be sitting around waiting for someone to out it out. We wanted to keep moving and keep doing stuff and keep busy so we don’t feel stagnant. We had this idea where we take one song from the record as a teaser for it and three new songs. Those three other songs we recorded with Steve Strupp from Sat. Nite Duets in his basement. He has a really good DIY setup that sounds pretty awesome.
MR: Back to The Replacements show, are you nervous at all?
GH: Not yet. I feel like when we load in, that’s going to be the time when I start shitting my pants. It’s definitely going to be our biggest show we’ve ever played.
Midnight Reruns will open for The Replacements’ SOLD OUT show at The Rave on Saturday, May 2. Buy the band’s new EP Get Me Out on Midnight Reruns’ Bandcamp page starting May 1. Stream the EP [via Punktastic.com]—which includes a cover of The Mistreaters song “The Other Man”—below.