The Minni-Thins are in that stage of their collaborative courtship. They harness a mature, reciprocated sound of six mastermind musicians who share the spotlight. Not much more than a year ago, Jeremy Strickland (lead vocals, guitar) had a vision, a dream of an Indie Rock band, but with an edge. A drop-dead gorgeous edge.
He sought the touch of two virgins with uncalloused fingers and found Damon Green (bass) and Kenny Sprinkle (guitar). Jeremy's brother, Aaron Strickland (drums), already had numerous notches on his sticks from a previous band.
"I think early on we all just played as hard as we could by each trying to be the loudest and get the most attention onstage," says Jeremy.
"But it was too much."
Instead of letting egos get in the way, the persistent Minni-Thins slimmed down the clutter. Incorporating emotive songwriting, boxy percussion and The White Stripes-wish-they-wrote-them guitar serendipities, they are Indie all the way.
But Jeremy's signature screaming, an instrument in itself, is Indie-evolved. It's not just the band members or their sound that's growing up; the genre of Indie Rock is getting bolder, trading in Emo-whinetastic bells and whistles for screaming honesty.
"Since Damon and I were really learning to play for the first time, it was difficult and put a lot of pressure on us," says Sprinkle. "We were excited about the band and wanted to just be able to play."
At a Minni-Thins show today, expect a confident creativity that shows the band is truly comfortable with their approach and how to market it.
"Kenny recently implemented probably the best Minni-Thins marketing play ever," says Jason Wells (keys), who evolves the band further with an appropriate piano/synth vibe.
"He signed up for some vampire freaks dating service," says Jeremy.
"It's not a dating service," interrupts Sprinkle. "It's one of those rate-my-picture and read-my-journal sites," he clarifies.
Apparently, Sprinkle (the Minni-Thin with the Punk/Goth look) posted a picture of himself wearing a black suit, sunglasses and pink hair that looks like he is inside a snow globe. Only, using a little computer magic, floating all around Sprinkle are the Minni-Thins' "M" logo. The caption reads "Here I am acting silly."
"It's really a bunch of 13-year-old Punk girls on the site, so if they e-mailed me saying they liked my look, I would respond with 'Thanks a lot. You should visit my band's Web site,' " says Sprinkle. The stunt added about 50 hits a day to their site for a week or so. Finding new fans is always refreshing, even if they are teenage vampires, says Jeremy.
The band has been laying down tracks for their first album, In Black Cause I Asked, scheduled for release in June 2005. Meanwhile, the group has joined the soon-to-be-launched Vibrating Needle indie recording collective, and will have an EP fresh for the pickin' near Valentine's Day.
Before recording, Darin Strachan joined in on lap steel and trombone. "It seemed that if there was a third guitarist, the Minni-Thins could really get people to believe they use at least three chords in their songs," he says.
For six people of different spheres of influence, the near-complete tracks embody controlled confusion that dares you to not like it. It exudes emotion and energy with the marriage of substance-rich lyrics and orchestral noise.
"We're really on as a band now; there's a lot of love here," says Jeremy. The band plans a tour after the release and roadie applications are being accepted in the form of rigorous make-out sessions, adds Jeremy, as he cuddles with his band in Wells' bed. A lot of love here, indeed.
THE MINNI-THINS' Web site is at minnithins.com.