Mystery Date Make Cold War Romanticism Catchy on New Noir

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Mystery Date | Eagles Club 34 | Saturday, January 17
Imagine opening up your door for a mystery date and you're confronted with the three guys from St. Paul garage rock band Mystery Date. Do you: A) shut the door and spend the night with Netflix, B) take a chance and have a nice dinner, or C) get out on the dance floor to their Clash and Costello-evoking album, New Noir? The answer: C.  

Before their album release show at the Eagles Club 34, Gimme Noise sat down with Johnny Eggerman and Steve Splettstaszer to chat about the Cold War and how they feel "closer to competent" than they ever have.
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Band Members:
Johnny Eggerman (guitar, vocals), Steve Splettstaszer (bass, backup vocals), Grady Appleton (drums)

Gimme Noise: You guys define yourselves as a St. Paul band. What do you feel St. Paul has to offer over Minneapolis -- or what makes it an underrated city?

Johnny Eggerman: The Midway/Frogtown neighborhood has just felt like home to me since I got here. To all you Minneapolitans who think St. Paul is lame, I urge you to hold fast to that belief; the rent is still cheap, and we couldn't afford it if you all moved here. I've got to be honest, at the end of the day it all seems like one city to me.

Steve Splettstaszer: I don't think I ever called us a St. Paul band. I think of us more like a fake British band from the '70s. Plus I only moved to St. Paul a little over a year ago, though I have been a river-crosser for years now. Minneapolis may be oversaturated with venues but that's cause there are that many musicians and artists and projects going on. I feel like St. Paul doesn't offer as much as far as music is concerned. You can go to the Dubliner and see Irish folk bands or shamrocks and see lame cover bands, pay five dollars to risk your life going to Big V's for basically a new band night every night, or you might see something you like at the Turf. Too bad Midway House is done.

How do you feel you've evolved since your last album?


Johnny Eggerman: I could list all the same hackneyed elements like being more focused and such, but it's not worth talking about. The biggest difference is that the writing process became a lot more cooperative. At this point it's pretty common for Steve to write the guitar parts while I write the bass parts; we write the parts for each other. Also we toured and got more competent, or perhaps I should say closer to competent, and had a really good time. The shows were not well-attended, but we grilled out in parks before nearly every show and got to spend a few days exploring abandoned buildings in Detroit.

Steve Splettstaszer: I agree with Johnny; it's become way more of a collective thing. J used to come with songs and we'd fill in the blanks sometimes with suggestions from Johnny. Now we write songs together more.
 

Tell me
more about the Cold War theme on the album. How did that get weaved into the tracks?

Johnny Eggerman: It's partly my fascinations creeping into our music and partly the overarching themes and concepts which tie the totality of our work together. Espionage is compelling, the aesthetics and even the concepts of romanticism which existed during that period really resonate.

Steve Splettstaszer: The Cold War theme is all Johnny.

Did any of your work from your other bands play into this album?


Johnny Eggerman:
Ha! Well, Eli [Hansen], who plays with me in Real Numbers did some background vocals on the album and has been there from the start with advice and support. Nums and Mystery Date have many overlapping influences but are still really distinct bands. I wouldn't want to be in two bands that sounded the same. What a waste of time that would be when there are so many things to try! 

Steve Splettstaszer: At this point we really have to thank Eli a ton, or at least I do. He really helped me with my back-up vocals. I guess that changed since our first recording too. Our back-ups sound quite a bit different now.

Tell me about the super catchy track "Cosmos." What was the story behind that song? 


Steve Splettstaszer: Oh man, I totally remember the day Johnny whipped that one out on me. It was a mildly warm summer day. Not long after noon, we stopped at the Sun Rise Inn for a dose of...culture, I guess you could say. We ended up back at the Midway House, hanging out back and forth from the back yard to the basement playing the shit out of that one. I totally liked that one from the start.

Johnny Eggerman: Like all our best work it came from trying to do everything wrong. I don't want to get too musical, but it boils down to forgetting music you've heard before unless you have an opportunity to do something you were told not to do. The bass is doing something completely different from the guitar and not even playing the root notes most of the time and on guitar I'm playing a mixture of the first four chords I ever learned and chords I made up. Add vocals that are out of our registers and as many drum fills as you can, and there it is!

What are you excited to share at the album release show? And why did you choose the Eagles Club to hold the show?

Steve Splettstaszer: I'm super-stoked just to play. It's been a time since our last show. I'm also super-stoked about the record. I'm really happy with it. I think we may have talked about the Eagle's Club before we knew how this record was gonna be released. It's some place different than we normally play, which makes it seem special, to me anyway. It feels like the mix between a VFW and a junior high school dance, a real odd combo which I think makes a great environment for an fun night.

Mystery Date will release New Noir at the Eagles Club 34 on Saturday, January 17, 2015 with Vats and Teenage Strangler.
21+, $5, 9 pm

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