The Midniters! Interview with Steve Midniter

Posted by Dee-Ann On June - 14 - 20181,381 views
The Midniters are back with a new album and gigs in 2018. Rockabilly Online interviews founding member and songwriter Steve Midniter. 
The band originally formed back in the late 80’s in Brighton, England. After some gigs the band were signed first to Fury Records and then Razor Records. We achieved some success with our first two albums, “Easy Money” and “Walk The Line”. 

We played many gigs across the UK and Europe at places like the legendary Klubfoot in London, Night of the long knives and recently at Psychomania and Bedlam Breakout. We also supported the Stray Cats across the UK on their 1989 ‘Blast off’ tour and gigged with many of the main neo rockabilly and psychobilly bands of the time such as The Meteors, Long Tall texans, Demented are Go, Restless and Guana Batz to name a few. 
We originally finished playing in 1990 but reformed briefly in 2012 for some one off gigs which then had to be put on hold due to other commitments I had at the time and despite a few setbacks the band is back in action with a new line up, new album and gigs in 2018.
So what is the Midniters sound?
The Midniters sound has moved on from the fast neo – rockabilly of our debut album to a harder alternative rockabilly sound dotted with a wide range of influences such as Adam And The Ants, Surf , Blues and Garage.  For me it’s about pushing the sound forward. Rock and Roll is about challenging the norm and therefore we try to stand out in terms of sound and production. 
How did your love for this music start?
Music was always around when I was growing up. My parents were into music in a big way my dad was a Greaser and my mum was into sixties bands like The Rolling Stones. She and her sisters used to go to blues clubs in London so there was plenty to see and hear. 
When I was at school and also as a teenager there was a real pandoras box of musical movements from Punk, New Wave, Gothic, Electronic, Ska and Rockabilly to disco, soul and funk. I traveled to the dark side exploring the former rather than that of the glitter ball soul boy scene of the later. But you are subconsciously influenced by it all, whether you like it or not!
I think for me the first time I heard Brand New Cadillac by The Clash in 1979 from the London Calling Album was a particular turning point especially when I found out it was a cover version. I then swiftly explored The Cramps, The Meteors and The Stray Cats and anything else I could get my hands or ears on. The more twang and slap bass the better. 🙂  I loved the early Gene Vincent capitol stuff and most of the early Sun Records artists. I am also a big fan of Chicago and Delta Blues. Without the blues there is no rhythm and blues therefore no rock and roll, hillbilly or rockabilly etc etc.  
In my guitar playing I have a few influences but I try to experiment and play my own way. But key string benders that have influenced me are Cliff Gallop, Brian Setzer and Billy Gibbons. I also like the original Texan Guitarist Mark Denman and Mark Harman from Restless.
I have been the songwriter for the Midniters since we started. This was by default rather than by desire. No-one else wanted to write anything and after a while you kind of have to do more than just covers. 
My influences are mainly visual I get pictures in my head and get a sense of the emotion of the setting for example on our new ‘Terror Incognito’ album the first track is called ‘Got Too Hurry’ and it is about a saboteur who is on a mission to blow up a secret Government base. I wanted to recreate that film noir movie trailer feel of the 1940’s and 50’s that sense of being hunted, scared and paranoid.
I have been playing Guitar for over thirty five years now and so another source for writing is when I practice playing, there is always something new , some new twist on an old theme that you can squeeze out of a guitar and so I tend to have loads of riffs and half finished songs. Some of which I never use but some seem to work and get developed.
Tell us about your latest cd
“Terror Incognito” is our third and critics say our best album our second album ‘walk The Line’ was released way back in 1989 so its been a while! There are twelve tracks on ‘Terror’ 10 originals and 2 covers of “hard rockabilly colliding with psychobilly” When reviewers say “The Midniters are hitting back hard  and you just know they still have more gas in the tank” it makes me very happy especially after such a gap of time.
We have also re-released our debut album “Easy Money” which is available for the first time on digital download and CD. This release includes the original album remastered plus demos and live tracks making it the ideal Collectors edition. 
Both Terror Incognito and Easy Money are available on Planet X Records.
Is there an artist you would like to work with in future?
Yes I’d like very much to produce some new artists for Planet X. There is a studio which I love to work in called the Devil’s Playground and so music production is what I like spending my time on now. 
I’d very much like to work on some tracks with either Marks’ Denman or Harman and recently I’ve been working with Serena Sykes from Bamboozle who is a top musician but more importantly a good person to work with. I am really happy to say that Serena is in the new line up of The Midniters for 2018 along with a fantastic drummer called Chris Barker.
Do you regret anything?
I regret not pursuing some opportunities that came up e.g. we got on really well with The Stray Cats, their tour team and were even getting encores as the support band so I wish we’d taken up the opportunity when we were offered the support slot on the European leg of that tour but our record company didn’t have the money  (as you had to pay to play on tours back then). But is some ways we proved our impact and value as the The Stray Cats invited us to support them at the Town and Country Club in London the following year and paid us! So I don’t have that much regret.
What are your future plans?
The Midniters are playing Bedlam Breakout in September with other dates in the UK to be announced during the Summer. I am really excited about playing with the new line up and playing a selection of songs from our three studio albums plus a few live favourites. After this we will see what happens.
I have been working on a new album by an artist called Killer Tone Jones which should be released later this year. This is an eclectic mix of surf, garage and Psychobilly with other influences such as Tom Waits and Nick Cave.
Finish this sentence: we will never ever…. be rich or famous, but that’s rock and roll and I like it!
More details can be found on the Planet X website and on social media
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