Ian Kaplan, drummer for the Dayton rock band Motel Beds, is sitting at one of the tables near the bar area at South Park Tavern with myself and the band’s manager, Dave Obenour. The establishment has a pretty decent crowd on this night, even with snow blanketing the city. The mix of classic rock along with some other genres is blaring through the speakers. The superior collection of beers and their fantastic pizza once again gives the patrons the feeling of ecstasy and fulfillment. To those who come here frequently, it’s just another night. While sitting at our table, Kaplan leans his back on the column that is positioned right behind him. While I was drinking one of the assortments of MadTree Brewery that South Park Tavern has on tap and Obenour was taking in his beer of choice, Kaplan slips on a glass of water with a lemon floating around with the ice cubes. It seems that he is savoring this evening at the tavern.
In all actuality, this evening at the tavern is probably a nice break from the chaotic road that Kaplan and his other band mates (Tommy Cooper, Darryl Robbins, PJ Paslosky, Tod Weidner) have been traveling on. For starters, the group re-released their 2011 album Sunfried Dreams on vinyl for the first time in July from Brian Candy Creative and threw a vinyl release party at Blind Bobs. In August, two huge events took place: the band signed a deal with Misra Records and played at the Fraze Pavilion located in Kettering, Ohio. This Saturday, Motel Beds will be releasing their first album under the Misra Records label These are the Days Gone By and will be playing a show at Yellow Cab.
The signing of Motel Beds to Misra Records is one of the recent big splashes for the label. Leo DeLuca, who is part of the folk rock band Southeast Engine, took over the company in 2010 from Cory Brown. Brown, who is owner of Absolutely Kosher Records located in Emeryville, California, signed Southeast Engine while he was running Misra. When DeLuca took over, he operated the label in Durham, North Carolina till 2012. At the time he decided that it was time to pack it up and move back to his hometown, Dayton. DeLuca has signed R. Ring, which features The Breeders’ Kelley Deal and Ampline’s Mike Montgomery, and also has released the debut album from Crooks on Tape (which includes Brainiac’s John Schmersal).
“I have talked to Leo a couple of times over the past couple of years”, Kaplan said on the beginning of Motel Beds being signed on to the label. “I think he saw the momentum building and he said let’s try this out. We were very flattered.”
These are the Days Gone By will consist of 10 songs that the band has previously released over the years, along with two never-before-released tracks.
“With us getting signed with Misra and us being together for 10 years, Leo wanted to put out a ‘retrospective’ of sorts”, explained Kaplan. “We thought that this would be a good introduction for people who don’t know us yet.” These are the Days Gone By has been remastered by Carl Saff, who has helped master albums by Guided by Voices, Dinosaur Jr. just to name a few. Another new wrinkle to the album, Weidner went back and added bass parts to the songs. For fans that have come to know and love the band, they will be thrilled to have this as part of the already impressive catalog that the band has released. For folks that will be hearing the band for the first time, they will be experiencing the band’s eclectic blend of surf rock to the hypnotic lo-fi play. The songs are quick in time with most not going longer than 3 minutes, but leave a long-lasting impression that make you continue coming back for more. To most around the Dayton area, Motel Beds is one of the premiere bands that give outsiders an inside look at just how good our scene is here.
The first 500 LP’s released will have a little something distinctive. Each of the album covers has been individually hand-painted by the artists at We Care Arts, which is located locally in Kettering, Ohio. We Care Arts is a non-profit organization that helps emotionally, mentally and physically disabled adults and youth achieve greater personal independence. To do so, We Care Arts provides a variety of art classes and experiences. They also promote the artist’s individuality, self-esteem, community skills, and ability to focus, life skills, responsibility, confidence and job skills. Extensive training is provided for each artist in a creative area appropriate for his/her interests including painting, pottery, computer art/design, jewelry making and sewing. Through the creation and sale of their individually crafted items, artists are able to affirm their self-worth, take steps back into the mainstream of society and receive a supplemental income. We Care Arts provide all training and materials to artists and a portion of the proceeds of all sales is returned to the artist. The remainder goes back to program funding.
Portions of the sales from These are the Days Gone By will be donated to We Care Arts. The band posted on their Facebook page recently some of the covers that will be gracing the cover, and the response was incredible. “We are getting interest from all over the United States and we even had someone from Europe wondering how they could get their hands on one of them”, Kaplan revealed. This past Sunday, the band, along with Obenour, went to We Care Arts to check out the album covers and filled the sleeves.
The Motel Beds plans for 2014 as of now include performing at their second South By Southwest Music Festival between March 11-16 in Austin, Texas. They will be also performing at the Nelsonville Music Festival in Nelsonville, Ohio on the weekend of May 29-June 1. Motel Beds also plan on playing some other shows on top of those two festivals. Most importantly, their second album under the Misra label will be started. “We have been writing for over a year already”, Kaplan stated. “We really want to keep our hand close on this next one and really knock it out of the park.”
Before the shows start to come, before the chaotic rush begins again, Kaplan was able to take a deep breath and relax for a second on this cold and snowy evening at South Park Tavern.
And that was plenty good for him.
Motel Beds will be releasing a soft, limited release of These are the Days Gone By and will be playing alongside Good English and Smug Brothers at Yellow Cab this Saturday night. Doors open at 7pm, with the show starting at 8pm. To purchase your tickets early, click on this website: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/546766.
Here is the track listing for These are the Days Gone By:
1. These are the Days Gone By
2. Ocean Flows
3. Skymade Suit
4. Cactus Kiss
7. Lights On
8. Western Son
9. Tropics Of The Sand
10. Sunfried Dreams (alternate version)
11. I’ve Been Waiting
12. Smoke Your Homework