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Ménage Détroit: "It Came Into Fruition Very Naturally. Duos Are Also Easy Because We Can Actually Communicate and Schedule Stuff"

The wild-eyed and chaotic as ever duo Ménage Détroit have just released their debut cassingle "I'm a Fool" b/w "Would You Say (I'm in Love)" (Painters Tapes). To celebrate the new tape, we chatted with Joey and Tex all about the origins of their latest band, the new single, and the possibilities of recruiting a third member.

First tell me what you've been up to as of late. Have you been reading, watching, or listening to anything you'd like to share with our readers?


Joey: I've been reading "Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince," watching "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and listening to a lot of The Kinks.


Tex: I've been listening to Bob Dylan a lot, and I've been reading "The Princess Bride."


Take us through the origins of Menage Detroit. What was the idea behind forming a band together?


Joey: So, in 2020, I bought a Harmony Stratotone and it inspired me to write a bunch of songs because it just felt right to play. It got me writing songs inspired by Coach Whips. The idea of a band came about from these new songs I was writing. I tried to recruit 208, but they unfortunately didn't make the cut. It took a long time to get the ball rolling, but it felt right when I met Tex and found out she could play the drums. It felt like I could do something with these two-year-old songs. It took us another two years to start playing them, though.


Tex: The name for the band was from a dumb story I wrote during my undergrad about a musician who felt suffocated by the fumes emanating from Zug Island, but in reality it was just the smell of his own bullshit. Real groundbreaking stuff. I thought it was funny to use it as our band name because we were playing with a third at that point. We lost him, obviously. 


Joey: It came into fruition very naturally. Duos are also easy because we can actually communicate and schedule stuff.


Tex: And now we have a bit we're looking for a third.


What has the experience been like so far and how do you think the band has evolved since starting?


Tex: Once we started gigging, I wanted to rebrand as a duo called If Toeheads Can't Play because our first shows were literally just because Toeheads couldn't do it. I think it felt really low-stakes because of that, actually. We weren't taking anything seriously, and it just felt like fun. It still feels like it's just for fun.


Joey: In terms of songs, we're collaborating more now. Instead of using pre-written songs, we work together. 50/50. 


Tex: I think our music tastes have also expanded a lot since starting. Like, I admittedly like pop music now, and it's clear our new songs are embracing the pop qualities of garage rock.

What can you tell me about Joey's pulled pork sandwich and is it really the third member?


Joey: My pulled pork sandwich is slow-cooked in a sous vide with my homemade BBQ rub for 24 hours. Then it goes in the oven and roasts until you got a good bark. Served with the sauce and my homemade coleslaw on a butter bun. At Outer Limits Lounge only.


Tex: If anything's our third, it's probably Outer Limits.


You've played tons of great shows so far this year, but what was it like playing with Les Lullies back in March? 


Tex: The French are the best. It was the second French band we played with, and they never think twice about the name.


Joey: We had a great time hanging out with the guys after the show. One of them was a foodie, and when I said I didn't like sweets, he rubbed my stomach and said, "Are you sure?"


Tex: It was just a great show. Les Lullies rocked and Sugar Tradition is a lot of fun to play with. That was the first gig that made me think, "I'd quit everything to do this."


Today we're premiering your debut cassingle "I'm a Fool" b/w "Would You Say (I'm in Love)." What can you tell us about the origins of these two tracks and what it was like recording them?


Joey: "I'm a Fool" is about saying I love you too quick, which is something most people have experienced at least once in their lives.


Tex: We felt like we had to do that track so much justice. We did like 50 takes. It's the song we start all our shows with, and it feels the most representative of Ménage Détroit's genesis. We wrote the lyrics to "Would You Say" together. He kept saying all this pessimistic, typical Joey shit, and I thought it would be funny if all of those sentiments descended into love. The idea is, "I'm in agony… would you say I'm in love?" In the midst of crashing, it's burning love.


Joey: That was the first take we were happy with when we recorded. We doubted pretty much everything until we listened back to it. 


Tex: "Would You Say" sounded like we wanted immediately. I think the rest of our songs aren't really comparable, and that's why it's really special to me.


Joey: I recorded them on my Tascam 424 at the Russell Industrial Center. It was a lot of fun, but not without hardships. Lots of running back and forth to the soundboard, trying to figure out tones and change mics. We recorded a total of seven tracks, hoping to get something before we went on a tour.


Tex: It was just the two of us in there for the three days, tripping over 15 foot cables, googling how they got John Bonham's sound. One thing that blowed was I broke two cymbals. Every time we'd find a drum sound we liked, we had to dig around the space to find a cymbal and start over.


Joey: Recording vocals was also rough. Track three and four on the four track stopped working. Toasted. So, arranging to use other peoples' four tracks to record was a challenge.


Tex: The DIY gods did not want Ménage Détroit to DIY.

What are the inspirations behind each number? 


Joey: Women. No, both songs are about young love and the mistakes that come with it.


Tex: The whole idea of being a fool in love is timeless. It's a right of passage for everyone, but especially musicians. 


Are these two tracks previewing a larger release? If so, when can fans expect that to come out?


Joey: We've got two more cassingle releases coming this year. I know nobody really listens to a record in full anymore, especially when it's a new band putting it out, so we’re starting with the singles route.


Tex: Plus, it's nostalgic to release singles. All of our favorite bands started by putting out singles. We're both champions of that period when singles were popular and the radio was the only way you could get a hit. 


Joey: After we release our singles and go on at least one tour, we might actually have someone listen to our record. We want to record a full-length record by the end of the year, and hopefully people will give it a listen. 


What else is on the horizon for Menage Detroit later in the year? Also anything happening with your other bands Toeheads or Pharma we should be on the lookout for? 


Joey: Well, we've got our release show at Outer Limits with Tin Foil, Wiccans, and Dusty Rose Band tomorrow. We're also going on tour down south from June 20-27th. I'm ready to play our first gigs out of town as a unit.


Tex: Hopefully we'll do release shows for the next cassingles with more of our favorite friends and their bands.


Joey: Toeheads has a record coming out this year. Pharma's on a break right now, but me and Will have been playing in Coffer for fun. Might have an EP coming out in the nearish future. 


Any final thoughts or advice you wanna share with our readers?


Joey: Learn three chords and start a band.


Tex: Always double knot your shoelaces.


"I'm a Fool" b/w "Would You Say (I'm in Love)" is out now on Painters Tapes.



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