The Men go from punk to Huey Lewis

The Men is a five-piece Brooklyn guitar-rock band, somewhat new, and in touch with their inner Huey Lewis. Not the same band as the Men, a ’90s era Santa Monica group with two women as members...and it’d be more accurate to say that these Men are a former punk band. Pitchfork’s reviewers liked them after they’d abandoned their noise-punk roots and changed over to a sound that the band’s publicist likens to “Bruce Springsteen making desert rock.”

The Men list a range of influences, from Van Morrison, the Flesheaters, the Grateful Dead, and the Byrds. But when I emailed about the band’s cool new retro direction, what with the addition of a horn section on some of the new songs, Rich Samis, the band’s drummer, fired back, “I wouldn’t consider our music ‘retro’ or ‘cool.’ Keep those terms for your new sunglasses.”

Past Event

The Men and Gun Outfit

  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 8 p.m.
  • Casbah, 2501 Kettner Boulevard, San Diego
  • 21+ / $12

The band released Immaculada, their debut, in 2010. By album number three, Open Your Heart, they’d geared up into a pop-country-roots mix, a course they have not strayed from since. But Samis doesn’t want to go there, or even talk about the change that brought the Men a little closer to the cash register. “I don’t really care to revisit an album from two years ago. The answer is already out there anyway. Let’s talk about now. We’re going on a full U.S. tour in a couple of days supporting our new record Tomorrow’s Hits,” released in March.

I’m curious about the process of creation; namely, how the Men manage to sound like one band, considering they have three songwriters. It begins with an idea, Samis writes, that gets bounced off the group. “Things mutate in the most unexpected ways and the end result is always something totally organic.” Not to mention retro and cool.

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