Interview With Sam Spade
(The Midnight Devils)
Shannon W - For my readers who don’t know you and your band, could you describe what The Midnight Devils sounds like?
Sam Spade - “Absolutely. We’re a glam slam rock ‘n roll party band. We take old school, mix it with new school, and cover it with glitter, hairspray, and lipstick. Pure and simple: it’s fun.”
Shannon - How did you guys all meet and how did you end up in this band together?
Sam Spade - “I knew our guitar player, Chris, for a long time. We both played in a hair metal tribute band together and we wanted to do something along those lines but still unique and our own. We ran into Jimmy at this huge rock festival - Rocklahoma - and he decided he wanted to join the band. Our drummer bailed on the tour and Jimmy said he’d love to join and all we had to do was pick him up in Chicago. We left the tour in Kansas City and drove to Chicago, picked him up, and drove back down to Oklahoma in one day. Then we played a huge festival with like 20,000 people and we’ve been together ever since.”
Shannon - Because The Midnight Devils have a unique look, can you talk a bit about where your inspiration/idea for your look came from?
Sam Spade - “We all grew up listening to similar music but slightly different styles. I grew up listening to Kiss and Elvis and that is what my vision was for The Midnight Devils: a mix of glam rock and boogie woogie music. So it’s kind of a unique thing that not many bands have done. It’s refreshing but still really cool. Our guitar player was influenced by Van Halen and he is the leader of our group. He keeps us all in line. Our drummer, Jimmy Mess, grew up listening to punk bands like The Ramones and The New York Dolls, but also that weird ‘90s-era glam rock that didn’t really go far.”
Shannon - You guys are based in Nebraska. What do you find to be the best and worst part about your location when it comes to the music industry?
Sam Spade - “The best part is that we are centrally located so it’s easy to get to either coast within a day. It’s really cool we’re able to travel where we want to go without a huge hassle. And we have been, we’ve been touring relentlessly the past two years. We hit both coasts in the past year. The worst part is guys that wear lipstick and dresses in Nebraska is very frowned upon. It’s cool but there’s not a big calling for it.”
Shannon - At the beginning of 2020, The Midnight Devils toured with The Quireboys. What was the like for you and how do you feel that benefited you guys as a band?
Sam Spade - “The Quireboys were one of the most amazing live bands I’ve ever seen. It’s so cool to be touring with a band that influenced you. When I was a kid, I saw a video of The Quireboys playing at the Monsters of Rock show in England and to now be friends with the guys is amazing. We worked our asses off to get there. It was the week before tour and they called us to be in Salt Lake City for the first show. It moved us up a level as a band. We had to get our shit together, at least good enough to open for The Quireboys, and we did 10 days on tour. It was really one of the best experiences I’ve had.”
Shannon - For you, what is the best part of playing big festivals such as Rocklahoma versus playing smaller shows?
Sam Spade - “The big festivals have such a diverse audience. The crowd is full of people that might not typically listen to your music or take the chance of going to see you show. But people go to these festivals and are exposed to so much new music. It’s almost like a summer camp - you get to know and love all these people. It’s really fun, it’s a huge stage, huge production and The Midnight Devils go very well on a big stage. We kickass at 100% when we have a big production.”
Shannon - In your opinion, what defines rock n roll?
Sam Spade - “Rock ‘N Roll - it’s very easy - is not necessarily what you look like or the image, it’s the music that conveys emotion and when that is together with the look, that makes rock. It’s the ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude that does it for me. We’ve been doing this for years so when people tell us we look ridiculous or that hair metal is out, that’s fine - I’m in a rock ‘n roll band. I’m gonna go out and give it all I’ve got because I love it. It doesn’t matter to me if there are 10 people or 10,000 people because we’re going to bring the same epic show because we love it so much.”
Shannon - In 2018, your debut album, ‘Something Bigger’, was released. Is there a new album in the works and if so, will it be even bigger than ‘Something Bigger’?
Sam Spade - “I don’t know when it will be released. The coronavirus was definitely a blessing and a curse for us because our tour got cancelled. We still had another month of tour left with The Quireboys and that was heartbreaking. I’ve looked at it as getting the chance to write a record at our own pace rather than in a hotel room or on a bus. We have 10 songs ready to go. The blessing in disguise is that we got to write songs in a comfortable space. I think we’re ready to go, we’ve got plans to work with Chip Znuff as the producer for our next record and I think that will be incredible.”
Shannon - Anything else you’d like to include?
Sam Spade - “We haven’t announced this yet, but we are going to be supporting Loudness in the U.S. in October and November. It’s 30 days, 25 shows, and it’s gonna be huge.”