Midnight To Twelve
'Time Waits For No Band'
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
The quote is attributable to Seneca, a Roman Philosopher from the mid 1st Century AD. It holds a particular significance, however, for the members of Southern California rock band, MIDNIGHT TO TWELVE. Jon Hartman (vocals), Al Baca (bass), Steve Oliver (keyboards), Daniel Jordan (guitar) and Drew Molleur (drums) made their own luck with every step they took toward living their dreams.
From Southern California by way of Iowa (Hartman) and Oklahoma (Molleur) with a stop in Nashville for Al and Jon, the band took full shape in LA in 2000. After meeting Steve through a friend and Daniel through the classifieds, the band added Drew and the time was right to get things going. Finding the right name took a long time for the rockers – the idea for MIDNIGHT TO TWELVE came when discussing the shift Al was working in order to make time to write and rehearse with his cohorts.
Always willing to do the hard work involved in establishing themselves in a competitive market like Los Angeles, the band played all around town, slowly building their audience. “Our motto was, whether the audience was five people or 5,000, they got the same show,” says Hartman. Eventually the band was headlining Saturday nights and selling out storied clubs like the Roxy.
MIDNIGHT TO TWELVE sold some 13,000 copies of their previous independently-made recording out of its tour bus. These sales figures are a testament to the band’s powerful live show – as both a solo touring act and as opener for such bands as Buckcherry, Jimmy Eat World, Evanescence, Joan Jett and Saliva.
Taking it from the top, what were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your music today? Al Baca - "Journey, Rage Against The Machine, Foo Fighters, Stevie Wonder. They are all still influential."
For the Average Joe who may not have heard of you and was thinking of buying your new CD, how would you yourself describe your sound? "We are a rock band that is both technical and passionate and strive to project emotion and passion through our music. Each track should take you on a bit of a personal journey."
Where does the bands name originate? "Jon and I were trying to come up with a name for the band and I was telling him about the next shift of work that I had to do which was the midnight to twelve shift. The name has become synonymous with our work ethic and schedule."
Please tell us how you came across the local paper The Recycler in the first place and - for those that don't know - what it ended up providing you with! "I have been placing ads in the recycler since childhood; it is where I purchased most of my equipment. I always couldn’t wait till Thursday to pick up the new copy."
How easy (or hard) is it to constantly create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderment's/accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "I think as long as you do things with an honest delivery of what is inside of you and you do it with great excellence then people will respond. I think if you try to create for the sake of creation people can tell it is forced."
Please tell us something about your favorite song on this upcoming new CD and what - if anything - it means to you on a more personal level? "'Good Morning Again' was written at a time and place that is beyond personal. Someone very close to me was diagnosed with Leukemia. 'GMA' is about loving every moment that we have and never forgetting what every new day has to offer."
So, what was that very first gig on the Sunset Strip's infamous Coconut Teaszer like in reflection? Indeed, did it all go according to plan? "To be able to play Saturday night in Hollywood is the dream for many bands. There’s such a history in Hollywood for rock music and even though it was our first show there, over a hundred people showed up. It couldn’t have been a prouder moment for any of us."
What is your quirky connection to the 'One Tree Hill' groupies? "One Tree Hill was a tremendous opportunity for us to get our music heard. To this day we still get emails from all over the world from people that have heard us on the show. The show has been a great help in getting our name out to the masses."
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today ... and why? "‘Wake me Up’ by Wham ... do you really have to ask?!"
Lastly, Exclusive Magazine loves Penguins ... do you? "I’m starting a non profit organization called ‘Save the Penguins’ which rescues them from oil spills."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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