Today, we’re pulling an interview from our vault, so to speak.
Last summer, we chatted with Nick Redmond, singer and guitarist from one of Memphis’ favorite bands, Star and Micey. We talked about growing up in a small town, gymnastics, teaching oneself to play music by ear, the life of a professional musician, and life saving. Read on to get the inside scoop on our conversation with music man, Nick Redmond.
Star and Micey’s, Nick Redmond isn’t a native Memphian, but he’s darn close. Nick grew up in Somerville, Tennessee, about 45 minutes east of Memphis. Like you might imagine, Nick loved music as a kid. He found an old guitar in his Dad’s closet and taught himself to play. He also played piano and learned to write songs on the instrument.
What you may not know about Nick is that, on top of being a musically inclined kiddo, he was also a gymnast for 11 years. It was only when rotator cuff and knee injures ended his dreams of competing at the national and international levels that he focused all his energy on music. After graduating from Somerville’s Fayette Academy, Nick attended Full State University and earned a degree in Recording Arts.
Even before leaving for college, Nick had an album under his belt. At age 17, he recorded an album at what is now Memphis’ American Recording Studios (then, it was called Easley McCain Recording), so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Nick returned to our music city right after graduation. Since then, Nick and his bandmates in Star and Micey have become central figures in the Memphis music scene (and they never fail to rank among the most popular bands in our fair city. For examples of their favor among Memphis music lovers, take a gander here and here).
In addition to touring with Star and Micey, the band Nick (guitar and lead vocals) formed with fellow bandmates, Josh Cosby (guitar and lead vocals), Geoff Smith (bass), and Jeremy Stanfill (drums), Nick worked for Ardent Studios for seven years and now spends his days as the tour guide extraordinaire at Sun Studios. So, it’s appropriate to say that Nick lives and breathes Memphis music.
“Star and Micey is a group of four songwriters, four singers, and four multi-instrumentalists,” said Nick (who plays every instrument, save the drums). When we asked Nick to describe Star and Micey’s music, he first said, “Well, it’s positive music for positive people,” only to laugh and say, “nah” right after that. We tend to agree that the music of Star and Micey does have a positive vibe. It’s folk. It’s pop and, fundamentally (as Nick says, “based on the guitar instrumentation”), it’s rock and roll.
Now, for a moment, we digress a bit.
To get at the core of the musicians we interview, we typically ask them about a memorable day in their lives. Nick’s day-in-the-life story truly stands out from our pack of usual responses.
A few years ago, Star and Micey was on tour and were stopped at a McDonald’s outside Gulf Port, Mississippi. Nick excused himself from the group and went outside for a smoke break. A monsoon-like storm rolled in. Nick, under the cover of the restaurant’s entry, noticed a woman get out of her car, only to immediately and literally disappear before his eyes.
He realized that she must have fell but, when he threw his cigarette down and ran in her direction, he still couldn’t see her. As he ran toward her, he “felt as though he’d been hit with a bucket or water…that’s how hard the rain was pouring,” he said.
When he reached the woman, she was face down in water over her head. She’d apparently hit her head on impact and was “out cold.” For a moment, he was able to rouse her and get her to her feet, only to have her pass out again and take him to the ground with her. “On the ground with this woman, I couldn’t see and could barely breathe. I tried to lift her off the ground, but she was dead weight. I screamed but, for a time, no one came. I guess they couldn’t hear me. I felt like this woman was dying right then, and I didn’t have anywhere to put her” he said.
Soon, a stranger approached and lifted Nick and the still unconscious woman to their feet. The man then took over and took the woman, half-conscious and bleeding from her head wound, inside. Nick never told the guys in the band what happened (until now…surprise guys, Nick’s a legit hero). The moral of the story, said Nick, laughing: “That woman would be dead if he hadn’t been smoking.”
Like that terrifying day outside Gulfport, Nick seems to take the life of a musician in stride. When asked about Star and Micey’s success, he notes that he’s proud that the group has gone from being “just four guys,” to a bonafide LLC. Star and Micey is managed by Thirty Tigers. Skyline Music handles their booking, Shore Fire Media, their press. Nick also emphasizes that their’s no such thing as overnight success.
“You have to put in the work. You reap what you sow and get back exactly what you put in. Hell, even Elvis’ first record was driven around the country for a year and a half before a radio station was willing to play it.” He continues with, “touring isn’t glamorous…sleeping in broken down VW buses, on hard floors, beaches, wherever. Some years, we’ve played over 200 shows. The hard part is staying alive while you’re doing this. Still, as long as you’re having fun, it’s worth it. If you stop having fun, you should quit.”
So, what’s next for Nick and the rest of the guys in Star and Micey? More shows and more music. They release their next album on March 11th. “We’re not changing too much, but we’re not staying the same. We want our audience to see that.”
Follow Nick and Star and Micey on the next leg of their journey. For tour dates, beginning with a stop down the road in Nashville on March 1st, and other info, visit starandmicey.com. Connect online at the band’s Twitter and Facebook pages. Finally, be on the lookout for Star and Micey’s next full-legth album on March 11th.
Thanks to Nick Redmond for chatting with us. Much obliged, Friend.
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