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Five easy questions for Flame Tides

Five easy questions for Flame Tides

I caught up with local Charlotte band Flame Tides (Hayley Moran on drums and Mike “Rocketman” McNeely on baritone guitar and talkbox) Friday November 10 at Smokey Joe’s Cafe where they were the opening band for Ish. They are a relatively new 2-piece, mostly instrumental band, although Moran and McNeely are veterans of the Charlotte music scene. They play hard-edged originals and plan on having an album out sometime in the spring.

I talked to them before the show and asked them 5 easy questions.

1) White Stripes. Fair comparison or so far off the mark it hurts?

It’s never going to hurt our feelings to be compared to The White Stripes and it’s easy to make that comparison because of the personnel lineup. But we are instrumental, for one thing, and we have a harder edge, more like Black Sabbath meets the White Stripes. One thing I love about them that we do share is the lack of fear about exploring new sonic territory.


2) Instrumentals: We couldn’t find the microphone or we play too loud for vocals?

We do play pretty loud. We’ve both fronted bands over the years and honestly, being instrumental is quite freeing. We can both focus on the music part of it. Plus we don’t have to worry about saving our voices for the stage. If I were singing tonight, I’d avoid talking pre-show. Now I can scream across the room if I want (he does) and it doesn’t matter. Any vocals go through the Talkbox. Helen Keller could sing through that.


3) Show structure: Well defined set or we make it up as we go along?

Right now, the set list is structured. But most of our songwriting is pretty stream of conscious. We’ll come up with an idea or two and record it then maybe expand on it later. That leads to some interesting flights of direction. We’ve got lots of key changes and weird time signatures because of that but it make for an interesting and fresh sound. We want to be authentic in what we do.


4) Most badass tats: Hayley or Mike?.

Hayley wins on a technicality. She not only wears badass tats but she’s the one who put them on Mike. (Hayley is owner and principal artist at Haylo Healing Arts Lounge on Central Ave).


5) Biggest threat to humanity: Neighborhood gentrification or Kim Jung Un?

(entire table without hesitation) Trump.

See full gallery here.


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