Radio station: Listen to music by mi6
Current Status: Split in late 2002
Sound description: A catchy and infectious blend of hard-core and melodic punk mixed together with strong harmonies and high-energy performances gives this band a unique sound and flavor that almost anyone could enjoy.
Influences: (Aaron) Steely Dan, Jawbreaker, Leatherface, Decendants; (Ken) Lagwagon, Snuff, Leatherface, Shania Twain, Cure, Police, Ramones; (David) Nina Simone, Pantera, All, Esoteric; (Jimmy) Samiam, Green Day, Mr. Bungle, Jimmy Eat World
Similar to: Green Day, Blink 182, The Vandals, The Ataris, MXPX
|Kenny "Sarge" Peterson||Guitar, Vocals|
|David White||Backing vocals, Guitar|
|Aaron Riffel||Backing vocals, Bass guitar|
Ok, I laughed when the guys asked me to come up with a complete bio on the band, unfortunately my memory isn't what it used to be, as if I ever really had one, but I'll give it a try.
It all started for me (Ken) back in 1985. I began my musicianship by playing keyboards at Wal-Mart. I must have spent months in the store learning how to play old Rap like Whodini, LL Cool J , The Egyptian Lover & The LA Dream Team to name a few and New Wave songs that were popular on the radio at that time, on the keyboard demos they had there. I know I drove the employees crazy since I insisted on turning up the volume quite loud. After a year of learning, I finally scrounged up enough cash to buy myself an inexpensive board and began practicing at home. After a few years of playing the same melodies over and over again and slowly upgrading my cheap keyboards to Korg and Casio Synths, I decided it was time I started a band.
In 1988, I and some friends from school started a band called "ONE WAY." We sucked bad!!! We played songs like BonJovi and Cinderella and we weren't very good at it. We only played out once as a band and that was the High School talent show, in which we actually won. At that time, I was just learning how to sing and it was pretty awful, but I caught on quickly.
After graduating from high school, I eventually joined the army in 1990 and was stationed stateside during the Gulf War in San Antonio, TX. I basically learned to play guitar there at the community center where I was able to practice everyday. When I returned to Kansas in 1991 to attend The University of Kansas, I bought an Ibenez guitar at a pawnshop and started practicing. I joined a couple of groups as a singer since I hadn't really learned enough on guitar yet. However, I still spent nights practicing acoustic guitar at the coffee shops and open mic nights at the local bars.
In 1993, I joined a band that later became "COCKPIT BISCUIT" or "CB", kind of a mix between PRIMUS and GREENDAY. "This made for great coffee table conversation".
I still wasn't all that seasoned as a guitarist but I could at least hold my own, which didn't matter since they wanted me for my voice. "I feel so used".
Not shortly there after, our guitarist left the band to move to California and we were left holding the bag. So I started playing guitar and singing and we remained a 3 piece. We opened for some pretty big bands, but we couldn't seem to build a following. We recorded two albums and appeared in a few videos from 94-96 and in the summer of 1997, we decided it would be best to just call it quits. We weren't getting anywhere and our musical differences were really starting to put a strain on our friendship, never mind the fact that our bass player had been offered a job at Microsoft in Seattle.
I'd wanted to play punk for some time, since I grew up a Cure, Police, and Ramones fan and listened to quite a bit of New Wave Punk when I used to freestyle on my bike many years ago. So I decided to place an ad in the paper to find musicians that wanted to do the same
In the fall of 97' I placed the ad and one week later, Aaron called me up we got together drank some beers and began to play.
Now from what I understand or at least this is what he's always told me, Aaron was first influence when he was 8 years old after seeing Sammy Hagar's video "I Can't Drive 55" on MTV. He begged his parents for a set of drums. But for not, since his parents only wanted quiet time.
He laid low for another 5 years instead concentrating on his skating skills until He scrounged up enough cash to buy a really cheap version of a Gibson SG guitar (a HONDO Sears Version or something). After practicing just 3 or 4 times, he joined up with some friends in Liberal, KS and they formed "The HOLLOWMEN". None of them knew how to play, and they didn't have a bass player, just a goofy friend who pretended with a broom. "I would have loved to have seen that."
Some time after that, while spending an evening watching Iron Maiden's "Live After Death", they stayed up the rest of the night playing until someone sat on his guitar, breaking the neck and headstock in two. All the Elmer's wood glue and Duct Tape in the world couldn't fix it.
A few weeks after, Aaron met a girl who happened to be a Bass Player wannabe. He convinced her to let him borrow her bass, and after endless hours of practicing in his basement and having his parents yell at him for the low frequency vibrations emanating throughout the house, he actually became quite good. By the way, he never returned the bass to that girl. "I wonder if she was pissed".
"THE HOLLOWMEN" eventually settled on a new name for the band and they became "THE DEPRIVED". A few years later the other two members of the band moved to Wichita, KS to attend high school and kept in touch on a regular basis with Aaron, periodically getting together to play shows.
Once Aaron graduated from electronics school in 1996 he moved to Lawrence and met up with his old band mates to reform the band. They played shows regionally for a year and a half and recorded one album. By 1997, the guys had started to lose interest in the band and they decided to call it quits, which brings me to where I met Aaron.
So in the fall of '97, after deciding that the two of us would work well we immediately became friends. We auditioned about 5 or 6 drummers and found our first drummer, Mike. We then began to search for another guitarist and I called my buddy, George whom I played keyboards with in "ONE WAY". (That band I mentioned from high school). I asked him if he would consider being our second guitarist, he agreed. So after about 3 months of practicing and lord knows how many hours trying to get us all on the same schedule, I personally felt that there was a major conflict with all or our music styles. Two of us wanted to play punk and the other two wanted something else. (To this day I'm not quite sure what that was). Now I didn't feel I had to right to kick anyone out of the band so I quit to start again. Fortunately Aaron came with me.
Since the two of us had already written about 5 or 6 songs and we wanted to keep the momentum going, Aaron and I contacted my old drummer from "CB", "Smoking" Joe Weaver. We asked him if he'd consider playing again, and he agreed. So we spent some time writing a ton of new songs. The whole concept of the band was to play songs that were fun. We wanted the music to be fun and the lyrics to represent real life, so we spent some time writing more songs.
A few months later, we eventually had the task of naming the band. What do we call ourselves? We'd come up with some really bad names like "Chicken Feedback" ( Isn't that awful) and we couldn't seem to agree on anyone's ideas.
Eventually, while driving to Wichita, Kansas, the name mi6 popped into my head since I'd just finished watching the entire James Bond series on TV's "Super Station" TBS. Nobody hated the name and we'd already spent way too much time trying to think of one. So we all agreed and mi6 was born.
We then practiced for about 2 months and wrote a few more songs and headed for the road as a 3 piece. We begged for gigs whereever anyone would let us play.
In the late summer of 1998 we decided to record our first self-titled demo. The recording went well, and turned out quite good for $500.00. We bought a dual recordable tape deck and made cassettes. We handmade the covers out of card stock and just handed them out to everyone. In fact, I even cruised the high school parking lots and put tapes on everyone's windshields.
We started to gain a very small following and were able to make friends with all the punk rock booking agents in the area. We started to get some really good shows along with the bad ones, opening for bands like: The Suicidal Tendencies, Ten Foot Pole, Good Riddance, and L7 "who thought that I was some kind of psycho pervert, since they had me kicked out of the green room at the show". I guess they wanted their own personal Diva space or something, "I'm still pissed off about that."
In March of 1999 we played a gig in Lamar, MO, where we were kicked out of the town by the police for public intoxication. (We had to use our gig money to bail our drummer out of Jail). However, that's where we met David and Jimmy's band "2 PLAYER OPTION" who opened for us that night. Aaron and I were very impressed with their song writing and playing ability.
Now Aaron and I had already discussed adding an additional guitarist to the band to make it a 4 piece but we hadn't really seen a guitarist that would fit until now, so we immediately asked David if he would be interested in trying out. Without hesitation he met with us a few days later at our practice space and it only took one song for us to know that David was the perfect addition. We asked him to join and he accepted.
Now David began playing at an early age with an acoustic guitar he'd gotten as a gift from his stepfather. After having played for a couple years, his mother enrolled him in a "Classical School of Music". Now mind you David was still in the 5th grade and he was the youngest student in the entire class. After two years of school he decided the strict schedule and stress was too much for anyone to handle and he dropped out.
So with an electric guitar (a red Hondo Stratocaster he got from the JC Penny's Catalog for $85.00) and a mini Gorilla amp (with probably the worst sounding distortion ever created), he began practicing heavy metal riffs he'd heard off the radio. Influenced by musicians like: Metallica and Rhandy Rhodes, David formed his first band "MUCK RAKE" in 1991. The years following he experimented with punk and metal until he graduated from high school in 1996.
After moving to Lawrence to attend The University of Kansas he began looking for musicians who would be interested in just playing punk and in the early spring of 97' he met Jimmy and they together formed the band "2 PLAYER OPTION". They played locally for a couple of years recording 2 demo CD's. Then Jimmy moved to Atlanta to wait out until he could return to school.
But back to the story...
A few months later, Joe said he would be quitting the band for personal reasons. He wanted to go back to school and was bored with the music we were playing "He thought he wasn't being challenged or something". He was looking for a Blues/Jazz/Funk thing. (Whatever gets you off, I say!) "With the talent he has he could certainly go far, and to this day he still sits in on a set with us once and awhile".
So we called our friend Jason "The Mullet" and asked if he'd fill in on drums. He agreed and we were able to finish our summer shows.
During that time Jimmy was living in Atlanta and David insisted we try him out as our new drummer. Aaron and I agreed, however Jason wasn't too thrilled about the fact that he was in limbo for 4 months waiting to see if he got the job. Obviously he didn't. Now it wasn't so much that he was a bad drummer. In-fact, he's quite good. It's just that we couldn't stand ape drape.
Jimmy moved back to Kansas City and tried out for "mi6" in the spring of 1999. Aaron and I immediately liked his personality and his ideas were some of the best we'd heard yet. We hoped we'd finally found a permanent drummer.
Jimmy grew up listening to the Buck Rogers Soundtrack, ABBA and Sesame Street Compilations. At the age of 10, his band teacher told him that he should play the trombone even though he preferred the drums. Unwillingly, he played the trombone for about 8 years while traveling all over South Korea and parts of Okinawa because of it.
During his senior year in high school, a couple of close friends had mentioned needing a drummer for their band "BENCH". Jimmy bought some drumsticks and volunteered for the job. There were maybe 2 punk bands in all of Seoul, Korea at the time and they were one of them.
After high school, Jimmy moved to Kansas. Leaving his parents back in Korea, as did the rest of us he enrolled in classes at The University of Kansas. Almost immediately Jimmy began playing drums for a few bands in the area. In early 97', he and David met and hence "2 PLAYER OPTION" was formed.
Once again back to the story...
So now that we were a complete band again, we tried to concentrate on the new album. We'd already made plans to record our first full length CD, Alcoholiday, in the summer of 1999 and we didn't think we'd be able to reschedule since we had to drive out of town to do it. Jimmy learned every "mi6" song in only 6 weeks. "Mind you we only practiced twice a week, so in my book that's pretty impressive."
We drove to Liberal Community College in Liberal, KS and recorded all the music for Alcoholiday in their band room from Friday night to Sunday Morning. We just put each member in a corner of the room and played non-stop the entire weekend, hoping that we'd be able to fix the mistakes we made, in post production. The really cool thing is that it only cost us about $200 since we stayed with one of Aaron's good friends there.
A few weeks later, we booked some time with BMG Studios in Kansas City to do all the vocal work. Which took quite some time, since I was having throat problems, which we later found out was a cyst on my vocal chord due to the screaming I'd done in CB and that my throat had never had a chance to heal. "I'm sure my smoking didn't help".
We then booked time at West End Studios in Kansas City to do all the mixing and mastering, which is where we met our Engineer Paul Malinowski. He did a great job fixing the problems with the recording and cleaning up all our mistakes, including re-doing some of the guitar and bass tracks.
In the May of 2000, we released Alcoholiday to rave reviews from the local papers and websites. We immediately began receiving responses from internet websites and magazines that had reviewed our album. We later found out that we were #1 on GarageBand.com, an independent music website (kind of a sister site to FarmClub.com.) Because of our internet success we were contacted by the New York Times to do an article on the band. Little did we know that we'd end up on the front page. (There it was a picture of Yassar Arafat, Bill Clinton, and mi6 on the front page).
So almost overnight we were receiving solicitations from record labels and we thought it was about time to start soliciting back. I stayed up all night making promo packs and sent one out to just about every punk and major label out there.
We continued to practice and write new material and at the same time I was unable to sing due to the surgery I'd just had on my throat a few months earlier to remove that cyst I mentioned earlier. "It's all better now".
Now here's where Kung Fu records comes in. Joe Escalante from The Vandals called me around August of 2000. He'd heard our music and was interested in talking with us. Apparently his wife had listened to our cd and thought we were great and had to beg Joe to have a listen. After about a month or so, Joe flew to Kansas to meet us and watch us practice. He basically told us right there in our basement that Kung Fu wanted mi6 to sign on, and that he was willing to offer a good solid contract.
It didn't take long for us to decide that we liked Kung Fu records more than any of the other labels we'd talked with, never mind the fact that we'd all idolized The Vandals growing up and couldn't believe that they wanted us on their label.
We knew that Kung Fu was the best place for us to have some fun and we'd already felt like a member of their music family, even though we hadn't even signed with them yet. So after 6 months of negotiations between our attorney and theirs, we signed in the spring of 2001. We immediately returned to the studio, this time with a larger budget and recorded our latest CD Lunchbox.