Friday, January 22, 2010

Chatting with Mike Schmitt, guitarist for Genuine Uprising.

[Genuine Uprising: (From left) Mike Schmitt (guitar and vocals), Chris Augustine (drums), Blake Williams (vocals), Kyle Waller (guitar), and Matt Holley (bass).]

This blog began as a music review, not an interview. But anyone who has spent 5 minutes with Mike Schmitt, the endearing hooligan that doubles as a Leisure World lifeguard and lead guitarist for the Orange County band Genuine Uprising, knows that it is impossible to capture the essence of Mike's off-the-wall witticisms. Therefore, rather than taking my chat with Mike about Genuine Uprising's bright future and summarizing it down to a lackluster band spotlight, I decided to just give you our exact conversation.

[Mike Schmitt mid-jam]

AH: First of all, your full name? 
MS: Michael David Schmitt Jr.

AH: Age?
MS: 20

AH: Day job? 
MS: Currently Life Guarding at Leisure World… Yup.

AH: What would you describe the Genuine Uprising sound as? 
MS: I would describe our sound as the ideal mish-mash of rock, ska, and punk all held together with some sort of sticky reggae glue, kinda like Bob Marley’s boogers.

AH: What bands would you compare it to? 
MS: I know it’s not a band, but I would probably compare Genuine Uprising to a huge, savory burrito filled with only the tastiest and freshest ingredients. But as far as bands, we often get compared to groups like Sublime, The Expendables, 311 and any other contemporaries from the California reggae scene.

AH: Who are your musical influences? 
MS: Our musical influences as a band are Bad Brains, AFI, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slightly Stoopid, No Doubt, Pink Floyd, the mighty Bob Marley, and NOT The Jonas Brothers.

AH: How did you guys come together as a band? How did the magic begin? 
MS: I’d love to tell you this crazy story about how 5 strangers were held hostage in Guitar Center and used the instruments in the store to write an amazing song to win over the heart of their captor before creating Genuine Uprising, but that would be untrue. It’s not that interesting; we basically were just a bunch of mutual friends who wanted to start a band to avoid the 9-5 routine lifestyle.

AH: I wish that story were true! Who writes the songs? 
MS: I write most of the music and some lyrics and our lead singer Blake writes most of the lyrics. Sometimes we jam things out as a band and collaborate but that’s how it goes for the most part.

AH: Goals for the band? 
MS: Our ultimate goal for the band would be to bring together all kinds of different fans through our music and promote positivity into their lives. We have agreed from the start to endorse a positive message in our songs rather than trod the mainstream path of vanity. It’s amazing to see the legacy left by people like Bob Marley and the Bad Brains and that is what inspires me to use music to affect people’s lives. As far a short-term goals, I know our drummer, Juicy, would like to have a higher turnout of groupies at shows.

AH: Any upcoming gigs you wanna plug for our readers? 
MS: This Saturday, January 23 we are playing in Long Beach for the 1st Annual Dub City Music Festival with bands like Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds, Through the Roots, and Seedless. You can find more info about the show and any other upcoming shows on our Myspace page.

AH: What were the three best albums that came out in 2009? 
MS: My personal top 3 albums for 2009 would have to be Shpongle’s Ineffable Mysterious From Shpongleland, Porcupine Tree’s The Incident, and probably Converge’s Axe to Fall, in no particular order.

AH: If you could open for any band/musician who would it be? 
MS: In all honesty as corny as it sounds, I think it would be sick to open up for Blink 182. Those guys are awesome and hilarious.

AH: Best movie you’ve seen recently? 
MS: Hmm… I’m not much of a movie guy but Zombieland was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time.

AH: What are you reading right now? 
MS: Don’t tell the government, but I’m currently in possession of a book called How To Stage A Military Coup: Planning to Execution by Ken Connor.

Don't miss Mike and the rest of Genuine Uprising this Saturday at the 1st Annual Dub City Music Festival. Click the poster below for festival details. Check out the boys on myspace [here] and become a fan on facebook [here].

- Amy
Listening to: Genuine Uprising's "Today"

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