Just Around Midnight

Midnight Vinyl releases EP on the cusp on graduation day


Midnight Vinyl is (L to R): Andy Beggs, Gavin Snider, and Jacob Simanowitz (not pictured: Kyle Robinson, Katy Clagett, Sam Avery, David Mason)

This week, the fellas of Midnight Vinyl will graduate from college and cast their lots with the brave new world of economic hardship and Susan Boyle. They’ll probably never be as famous as the latter, but at least they can say that in two years time they learned to play their instruments and wrote a few good tunes. The group recorded five of its faves for its debut release titled “The Perpetual Motion EP.” With horns blazing and keyboards blooping, the disc blends the unbridled energy of The Hold Steady with Sportscenter bumper music and over-the-top hooks that would get Rocky Balboa amped. We teamed up with singer Gavin Snider, drummer Andy Beggs, and trombonist Jacob Simanowitz to discuss music, NBA rappers, and ex-girlfriends who dated DMX.

lawrence.com: Are you guys excited about this EP? It’s the first thing you put out.

Snider: The first and maybe the last. We’re all graduating in a week, and none of us have jobs. So as of right now, the band is still together.

Podcast episode

The Dog and Pony Show

Just Around Midnight: An Interview with Midnight Vinyl

With horns blazing and keyboards blooping, Midnight Vinyl blends the unbridled energy of The Hold Steady with Sportscenter bumper music and over-the-top hooks that would get Rocky Balboa amped. We teamed up with singer Gavin Snider, drummer Andy Beggs, and trombonist Jacob Simanowitz to discuss the group's new "Perpetual Motion" ...

Download podcast

How does it feel to be graduating at this time? Does KU have counseling sessions?

Snider: Yes. They’ve had many meetings basically telling us to have faith about not getting a job, and to do something that you really want to do.

Beggs: Music keeps us sane, though. You have long days and then you come home and music is a release. It’s what keeps you going.

Any memories stand out from your first few years as a band?

Snider: In Midnight Vinyl’s long and storied career, which has lasted about two years, we really learned how to play music. Andy bought a drum set for $200 from my girlfriend’s parents. It was at a Lebanese bar, and when he hit the cymbals they bent. He had a hole in his bass drum for the whole first year we were playing.

Beggs: I was playing on the wrong end of the drums. I had no idea what I was doing … Somehow people actually listened to us.

Snider: We would make as much noise as possible in a tiny apartment over on 9th and Emory and have house parties. Sometimes Andy would come home drunk and start playing drums and the neighbors above us would bang on the floor or leave notes on our door telling us to stop playing. Thankfully we had guys downstairs who liked us. I feel like if they weren’t there, Midnight Vinyl wouldn’t exist. They came up and jammed with us and kept the band going.

Beggs: It all came together when we decided we were going to bring in horns. One day Gavin and I were like, “This is really sucking and we really need to do something different.”

Snider: Jacob introduced us to all these new concepts of tune and tempo and learning how to tune your guitars – things we never even knew about before. We were really angry at him for a while for bringing up all these things that we didn’t even know anything about.

Simanowitz: They were bad, and I had to tell them as a friend.

On your MySpace you mention influences such as “Garth Brooks as Chris Gaines.” “Lionel Richie videos,” and “NBA players who think they can rap.”

Snider: Those are people who realize that making music is about what makes you happy and not about pleasing somebody else. Basically Garth Brooks put aside this whole huge country career to play as Chris Gaines, and maybe nobody liked it, but he wanted to do it and damn it he did. And Shaq wanted to rap, and he did too.

Do you have a favorite NBA rapper?

Snider: I’ve read Allen Iverson’s lyric sheets, and Allen Iverson had the most terrible lyrics.

Simanowitz: We should add professional wrestlers to that list, because I like Macho Man Randy Savage’s rap album (“Be A Man” from 2003). It’s pretty good … Maybe it’s the voice. I don’t know if it’s comparable to DMX, but people like it.

Snider: DMX is a sensitive subject for me right now. I recently split up with my girlfriend of five years, and when she was in Lawrence she went on a date with DMX. I’m not even joking. I was in Seattle at the time, and she called me like, “I just ate sushi with DMX.” It took a minute to register, because I didn’t really understand what she was saying, but apparently her and her roommate were walking to get sushi and DMX and his posse approached them on Mass. St. and asked them to dinner and asked them to come with them to the club afterwards, which turned out to be a strip club. So I feel like Midnight Vinyl is inextricably linked to DMX, and always will be.

Past Event

Midnight Vinyl / Rusty Scott / The Noise FM

  • Thursday, May 14, 2009, 10 p.m.
  • Jackpot Music Hall, 943 Mass., Lawrence
  • 18+ / $5 - $7


Do you think she’s with DMX now?

Snider: No, actually she turned DMX down for me. We were still together two years after that. It turned out to be a good decision, because I think he’s in prison now. But she said that he does actually growl and grunt in his speech like he does on his albums. He also doesn’t eat sushi, because he “doesn’t eat that raw shit.” And he takes care of his Grandma. He’s really a soft guy at heart.

What are your plans for the record release show?

Sinder: It’s Thursday at the Jackpot with our good friends The Noise FM and Rusty Scott. It’s our CD release party, and we’re the third-best band playing, so it’s going to be great.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.