Photo of
Photo By James Moses
Month of Sundaze



Month Of Sundaze

Dirty South

Story by Eddy Metal
Photos by James Moses

They don't need "no steeeen-king" manager. They don't need to follow the next musical trend. And they don't need a pretty boy Lincoln Park image.

It seems that the "regular guy" look and image works fine for Month of Sundaze, the band of South End redneck rockers who play all around town around. Plus, their music and wild, energetic onstage antics have gained them a good following from the beginning.

Month Of Sundaze has played some serious shows in the seven years they have been around, shows other bands would drool over. Venue-wise, they play pretty much anywhere in town. And here is the kicker: these guys don't have a manager.

I can picture bassist Nick Priddy sitting at the bar, drinking a Dos Equis and saying in his best faux "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" accent "We don' need no steeeen-man-acher."

Of course, they've had a few setbacks, but who hasn't? The important thing is that they always work things out and return to rock the scene.

What I really like about this five piece raunchy rock-`n'-roll band from Louisville is that they are unpredictable and don't follow trends of any sort. They do what they like. And if you don't like it? Sorry about yer luck, because these guys are here to stay.

Formerly known as Green With Gills, the band Month Of Sundaze was formed in 1997 by bassist Nick Priddy, guitarist Tony Miller, drummer Terry McAllister, guitarist Dennis McAllister and vocalist Brian Goodman. Guitarist Miller decided to leave the band for personal reasons a few years down the road. Shortly afterwards, acoustic guitarist Mickey Wells joined the group.

After a two-and-a-half year stint with Wells, the band has now reformed with all of the original members except Miller, whose spot is now held by guitarist Lance Rudolph. After a hiatus of a few months, these days it's work, work, work in preparation of their new full-length CD, currently entitled Dirty South, due out in August or September. I asked vocalist Goodman to describe the new CD.

"It is a compilation of everything MOS has done musically and style-wise, but going a bit heavier, yet keeping our trademark melodic style," he replied.

"We are just waiting for the right opportunity to present itself. Then we will take advantage of it to the fullest." He also stated that the band definitely thinks they are ready for a major showcase in front of some record labels. Or as he says - ."Mr. Big."

Gold and Dreams

The 29-year-old Goodman, whose day job is as cable installer and contractor, has an excellent voice with wonderful harmonies and melody. He cites as influences Billy Squire, Maynard of Tool, Creed and Bon Scott. Brian first realized he could sing when his Airborne Ranger Sergeant regularly complimented him for the way he sang the cadence while they marched. It went something like this: "C130 rolling down the strip, airborne ranger gonna take a little trip, pack up, hook up, shuffle to the door, jump right out and count to four." Goodman was the entertainment.

Upon returning home, Brian had the itch to rock for real, so he began to jam with a few guys, but nothing serious came of it. Then along came Green With Gills in `95 and they wisely snagged him up.

Guitarist Dennis McAllister, 32, who works as a manager of an established company and has degree in computer science, is influenced by Eighties `old school' rockers like Motley Crüe, Judas Priest, Yngwie Malmsteen and Dokken. Dennis is also inspired by classical musicians like Mozart and Bach.

Drummer Terry McAllister, 33, was born into the music scene. His father was a musician, as was his grandfather and his great-grandfather and so on. Growing up in a poor family, Terry and his brother received a guitar for their birthdays that they had to share. Having to share one guitar was rough, but Terry finally found his true calling: drums. He started beating on anything he could, to get some sort of sound. At thirteen, he received his first real drum kit: a cheap little kit, that, he says wasn't worth much. But to a young kid with rock-`n'-roll on his mind, they were made of gold and dreams.

Terry listened to everything he could, learning some AC/DC, Eagles and whatever else caught his fancy. He got good, fast. In 1993, Terry hooked up with Green With Gills.

Month of Sundaze, clockwise from top left: Terry MCallister, Lance Rudolph, Nick Priddy, Dennis McAllister, and Brian Goodman. Photo courtesy of Month of Sundaze

MOS's newest member, guitarist Lance Rudolph, 22, is an employee of Musicman Productions. He began to learn guitar at age 12, and cites Tim Reynolds, Trey Anastasio and Dave Matthews as his main musical influences. Lance does mostly acoustical parts for MOS and has certainly been welcomed by the MOS family. He plans to remain in the band as long as he can.

Bassist Nick Priddy, 28, is also an employee of Musicman Productions. His musical influences range from Led Zeppelin to Disturbed, but he really was inspired by his father, Harold Priddy, a bluegrass musician who played in The Fresh Cut Grass Band. Harold Priddy also crafts acoustic guitars and mandolins when not recording or playing. Nick said that his father taught him how to be a musician and a good father at the same time., which more of us musicians need to realize, is possible.

Nick started playing drums and guitar at age four. At age 16, he switched to bass and began to play in bands and with numerous musicians. Besides music, Nicks favorite thing to do is to spend time with his son Nicholas Seth, who also plays guitar and bass - at age four.

Melody and Aggression

The music of Month Of Sundaze is kind of like a pretzel. It twists around quite a bit. Pulling first in one direction, then doing a 180-degree turn, musically. The music is laid-back by metal standards and might even be called "commercial radio music" by some of the heavier bands in town. But make no mistake, there are heavy moments that demand a fist in the air, or a foot or two to tap uncontrollably under your night club table. You have no control, your limbs have taken over your mind.

The songs of Month Of Sundaze are clean-sounding. real stories of real life that start out slow but evolve into fist-raising stompers with positive messages in a not so positive time. The well-thought-out lyrics come from the lives of the band members, with a focus that they think listeners can relate to. Even if you don't like the band, chances are you'll be a foot-tapping fool when they play.

Guitar-wise, these guys write very catchy hook-laden riffs that can't be denied, courtesy of guitarist Dennis McAllister. McAllister plays Gibson Les Pauls exclusively, because when it comes to massive chunk and sustain from hell, Les Paul is the way to go. Dennis' choice of guitars and his Peavey 5150 Cabinet make up the essential MOS guitar sound. Contributing significantly is the band's soundman, Chuck Farrow of Musicman Productions, who has been running sound for twenty-five years for artists ranging from Alan Jackson to Sevendust.

An excellent example from the band's latest release is "Something Wicked." It begins with some very cool, clean riffing with a slight delay and phaser effect. Then the vocals come in so smoothly that you just know the blend and style of these five guys are perfect for each other, unlike some bands, where the singer and the music just don't match. Goodman's vocals are full of soul and emotion, yet are a bit rough, gravelly and full of confidence, plus, he stays on key and has good range. This guy almost sings like an old black bluesman but playing metal.

The songs that are most popular in clubs (and which are personal favorites of mine), are the energy-packed "Gravity and the power-ballad rocker "Broken Wings." Both have received much airplay on both Louisville rock stations.

As far as the bottom end rhythm section goes, Terry McAllister and Nick Priddy got that covered in spades.

" We just want to make our music or die trying," bassist Nick Priddy explained. "But yeah, our goal is the almighty record deal."

"We are not just a band, we are brothers. "

Of course, they really aren't brothers, but the guys in MOS are definitely as close as brothers. While it's very common for band members to fail to get along in the music business, frequently fighting and breaking up, MOS has stayed together for over seven years. They attend many local music shows together, possibly more than any other band. They love this scene and support its musicians, a very admirable and unusual habit.

Achievements

There are several qualifications that are needed to get a cover story in this publication and MOS has pretty much got them all covered. Here are some cool things the band has done:

1. The band played at the world-famous C.B.G.B's in New York City.

2. Month Of Sundaze was a `Top 5' finalist in 100.5 the Fox's "Kickstart Your Career " contest.

3. Month Of Sundaze was a `Top 5' finalist in the 100.5 the Fox and Budweiser True Music Search.

4. Month Of Sundaze played at the WLRS Fest 5 concert on the Waterfront, opening for trapt, Sponge and Suicidal Tendencies. They played in front of six to eight thousand people in one show. (Ed: I played on the same bill and I can tell you, it was incredible.) Month Of Sundaze has also opened for Soil at Jillian's and Flaw at Phoenix Hill.

5. Month Of Sundaze had considerable studio experience, recording at such places as the Tyler Music Corp in Nashville and Distillery Sounds in Louisville. They are currently recording at DSL Studios in Louisville.

6. Month Of Sundaze came in second at the 100.5 The Fox's 1998 Battle of the Bands at the playground.

7. The band is a good draw, with a decent turnout at every show.

8. Longevity is important, too, and MOS has that one nailed.

With the Dirty South" CD scheduled for late summer release, the band is ready and prepared for other opportunities that might come their way, in particular (they hope) some label interest and more opening slots for some touring national acts. Whatever happens, they say, they will be happy and contented, as they have had a helluva time doing what they like to do: playing their music for appreciative people. For MOS, that is their reward, though having reached their current level of expertise. Month Of Sundaze could easily push it into "overdrive "and kick some serious butt this year. When the CD comes out, this hardworking band hopes that the scene will embrace it enthusiastically - as in `buy it.'

Personal Notes: First Encounter

My first encounter with Month Of Sundaze was in 1997 or 1998 and was quite unforgettable. At the time, I was working on-air at 100.5 the Fox and was asked if I would judge the battle of the bands event at the Playground. Sounded like fun (and it was part of the de facto job description), so I said yes.

At the end of the battle, there were the two remaining bands: Planet and Month Of Sundaze. It was close. Both bands were good, but in the end, the judges went for the super-funk style of Planet by a nose hair. Chaos erupted. Drunken Month Of Sundaze fans went on the rampage. Old ladies were cursing the judges. Bottles were flying in the air towards the 100.5 Fox area. It was a drunken stampede of angry buffalo. In a small room. The truth is, that night was a freak accident, with definitely too much alcohol consumed by the MOS fans.

Seven years later, I am proud to say that these guys are my good friends. I have played several shows with Month Of Sundaze and have booked them on several shows.

Month Of Sundaze sends thanks to all people who have helped them, particularly to their fans. A complete list will appear in the liner notes on the new CD.