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For the past two weeks the guys of Middle Distance Runner have been driving around the country bringing their music to towns and cities less fortunate than us who don’t get to see them regularly.  From Memphis, to Austin, crammed in a van, these guys have certainly lived the life.  Luckily they are returning to play a homecoming show here in Arlington at Iota this Saturday.  I got a chance to talk to Stephen Kilroy from the band while during their travels.   I must say, even if you are not a major MDR fan, you cannot deny the heart and spirit these guys have for music, so I recommend everyone who can come out on Saturday night and see these boys in action.

BYT: For the past two weeks you guys have been traveling around the country (the south and midwest) for your tour.  Which stop so far has been the favorite?  And of course where did you get the best BBQ?
SK: My favorite stop was Austin.  I love the weather, the people seem friendly and sincere and the BBQ is superior.  The Salt Lick is the best BBQ I’ve ever had.

BYT: While at SXSW did you guys get a chance to listen to any other new bands?  Any recommendations?
SK: We saw Casio Kids play in the glaring sun at Red House.  Their sweet harmonies and club-bumping beats really go well with sunny days.

BYT: Who got the most ass out on the road?
SK: I ate a lot of BBQ on this tour and most of it went straight to my ass… I’m sure I’ve got the most ass at the moment.

BYT: Although I’m biased, I loved your video for “The Unbeliever” how did you guys come up with that concept and the story line?

SK: We sat around and drank beers with Max Sorensen (the claymator behind the video, and former Let’s French guitarist) and basically knew one thing – we all wanted to have a gruesome death scene.  So we performed a good ol’ MDR demonic seance and then shit got weird.  Our equipment became possessed and well, you know the rest.

Middle Distance Runner “The Unbeliever” from maxwell sorensen on Vimeo.

BYT: When you sit back and reflect on how far MDR has come from your first album “Plane in Flames” to your latest “The Sun and Earth” what can fans expect from this album?  How has your sound evolved over the years till now?

SK: I think it’s evolved quite a bit.  It’s a lot more raw and organic… and classic sounding.  I don’t know if that makes sense, but it feels right.  On this new record we explore some new places that we probably would have been too reserved to explore in the past.  Por ejemplo: There’s a guitarmony solo on “Sundays Are Hell” that would make Brian May proud… and even a drum solo!  One of the new songs doesn’t have any drums at all which i think is a first… and it’s probably my favorite song on the album.

BYT: What is your favorite song to play in concert?

SK: It changes all the time.  It used to be “Monochrome Boys” because I liked to watch people dance to it like it was a club jam.  Lately it’s “The Sun and Earth”.  The other night in Detroit when we played it, just before the outro the guys turned around and looked at me and there was just so much energy, I felt like we were about to lift off the stage… it was such a glorious feeling.

BYT: What was the craziest thing you saw out touring our great country?
SK: Oh man… so much good stuff:
– Every restroom in the Midwest seems to have industrial-strength air hand-dryers.  They’re so strong that they blow your skin around like a skydiver’s cheeks.  I couldn’t help but hold my bare belly up to it and watch it jiggle.
– We saw a running cow in Texas which is supposed to be good luck!
– On our way out of Chicago, we almost died.  We saw a jet-ski fall off the back of a truck, an there was a man running into the highway trying to clean the debris who we nearly hit.  We slammed the brakes, skidded about 500 feet across a gasoline covered highway, fish-tailing all the way.  It all happened so fast.  Pretty gnarly.
– I tried to jump over a trash can in Memphis and failed miserably, landing on my knees and tearing my new jeans.  I would’ve cleared it if Steve didn’t push me.
– Steve and Tony got on stage with the B.B. King All-Stars in Memphis and shook their tail-feathers.
SK:  Because you are a single woman looking for a good time with 5 handsome gentlemen.

BYT: Why should we come out and see you guys on Saturday night at Iota?