Motel Motel says goodbye to fans with farewell tourWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
After five years together, Motel Motel stopped by the Ottawa Tavern March 27 for the second-to-last leg of what has become its farewell tour.
“We’re not going to play together anymore,” Erik Gundel said. “We’re playing Pittsburgh on [March 29] and that’s it. It’s kind of bittersweet. We’re all going to move on and do different things. It’s kind of that time. It’s been fun. We’re going to do a party show back in Brooklyn with our friends. It’s kind of sad.”
Gundel plays several instruments for the Brooklyn-based band, including keyboard and lap steel guitar. He is joined by Mickey Theis, Timothy Sullivan, Jeremy Duvall and lead singer Eric Engel.
The band’s struggles stem from a lack of interest in its self-produced album “The Big Island,” which was released in August.
“There haven’t been too many crowds,” Gundel said. “It’s been kind of tough. We put it out ourselves, so we didn’t have any kind of machine working for us P.R.-wise or labels giving us money. It was hard. It never worked up any kind of real buzz. We’re just touring behind it and hoping people will listen to it.”
One positive of the self-produced album is the creative freedom afforded to the band.
“Our first record ‘New Denver’ was more scattershot and each song sounds different than the one before it,” Gundel said. “This record is more cohesive. We recorded most of it live at the studio, so it has a fundamental sound. The first one was kind of pieced together at a bunch of studios and overdubbed.”
The band is best known for the single “Coffee” from its 2007 debut EP “Old York,” which was featured in a Crown Royal commercial. With the band’s alternative country sound combined with its tendency to jam, Motel Motel sounds like a cross between The Avett Brothers and The Allman Brothers Band.
“It’s hard to describe your own music,” Gundel said. “I guess it is kind of indie Americana with a country twang vibe. We try to make it fresh.”
The unique sound comes from a diverse blend of musical interests.
“Everyone in the band likes different music,” Gundel said. “I like heartier pop music. I listen to a lot of guitar players. James Blackshaw is really good. Everyone likes country. Some people like reggae. We sometimes do a cover of a song by Mastodon. They are one of my favorite bands.”
As his band’s run comes to a close, one of Gundel’s fondest memories is a humanitarian tour the band performed in Cairo, Egypt as part of the “Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad” program.
“The U.S. Embassy had done exchange programs with classical and dance troupes and they wanted to send a rock band,” Gundel said. “We happened to know someone who knows someone in the state department. We stayed there for two weeks and played five different places. They aren’t really used to our kind of music. They seem to like ’80s metal.”
For more information on the band, visit www.MotelMotelMusic.com.
By Jason Mack
Toledo Free Press Star Staff Writer