Mr. Martin & the Sensitive Guys want you to like them
A loose-lipped rebel and a hopeless romantic team up to bring you one of the more intriguing rock 'n' roll offerings from a Wisconsin band.
Mr. Martin & the Sensitive Guys popped up on Bandcamp with their debut album Couch Potato late last fall. Immediately, you could tell these guys had been in bands before. An intoxicating songwriting style differentiated by two distinct personalities and a lot of buzzing guitar. Colin Bares and Dylan Martin are the tag team guitarists and part-time drummers leading the way with bassist Jarad Olson.
Dylan played in underground bands in the Marquette, Michigan area before gravitating south to Stevens Point where he joined up with Colin who was a local fixture. Eventually, Dylan wound up in Madison and Colin is not far behind.
It’s relatively easy to be liberal and rebellious in Madison. Try doing that in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula. You need the resilience of a Navy SEAL and a heavy dose of beer to make that happen. A comedy element may also help and that’s where the recording of Mr. Martin and the Sensitive Guy’s album takes a Fargo twist. Dylan and Colin made the album in a studio owned the by the infamous hosers from Up North, Da Yoopers.
Ok, maybe you’re not up on all the subgenres sprouting from the cult of Weird Al Yankovic. Da Yoopers, a novelty comedy band from Upper Michigan, were responsible for such Dr. Dimento classics as The Second Week of Deer Camp and Rusty Chevrolet. You never know, Killdozer’s Twelve Point Buck album title could have drawn some inspiration from those goofy guys. Dylan gives us the low down later on.
Mr. Martin & the Sensitive Guys have an ACLU benefit showcase lined up for Sunday, March 5 at The Frequency, complete with an art show and two other bands. We had a chance to speak with Dylan and Colin on the joys of being in a band together among other things.
How did Mr. Martin & the Sensitive Guys get together and end up in Madison?
Dylan: Jarad and Colin used to play together in a band called Good Grief when I originally met them. Watching Good Grief during that period would later have a lot of influence on what kind of band Mr. Martin & the Sensitive Guys would become.
I had been admiring Colin's songwriting for years before I had a thought about forming a band together in the Spring of 2015. We were both living in Stevens Point with a lot of time on our hands. We both really needed an outlet for our new ideas. I'd say we were both in the midst of a prolific period and more motivated than usual. And really, we both just wanted to let loose and rock out.
We played as a two-piece for a while and played a couple shows in that formation before adding a bassist. Jarad had been asking us about being a part of the group for a few months before I finally opened up about the idea of adding him to our line-up. We sounded so much better after he was added, it makes me wonder why I took so long to take him up on his offer. In October, I relocated to Madison and Colin is moving down here after Summer. We definitely get more interview offers when I say we're based out of Madison! (laughs)
Colin: I'd taken a break from music for a few years and after moving back to Stevens Point really felt like I needed to get back out there. And Dylan was willing to let me learn how to play drums as we went.
Dylan: He caught on quick! I was self-taught on drums from being in Wild Animalz. I learned as we went, same way Colin did.
I noticed two distinct writing styles on the album. Let me guess. Colin is the more sensitive type while Dylan definitely has that anti-establishment attitude?
Dylan: Yeah, I've got what they call an 'attitude problem'. (laughs) I just sound pissed off in most my songs I think. I wish my songwriting could be as sensitive as Colin, he writes the most interesting love songs. Though I think it's more accurate to call them break-up songs.
Colin: More often than not.
Dylan: Even with our varying degrees of sensitivity, we're all momma's boys at heart.
Colin and Dylan both play drums along with guitar and songwriting duties. Who plays drums live?
Dylan: We both do awkward switching every 2 to 3 songs. It's funny for people that can't see the stage because sometimes they don't even know it's happening. They're probably just thinking 'wow, is this the same singer? they're voice sounded so different than the last song!'
What's the story behind Da Yoopers Studio in Ishpeming, MI where you recorded the album? There's an independent studio in the Upper Peninsula?
Dylan: The studio was originally started by Jim DeCaire, one of the founding members of the musical comedy group, Da Yoopers. The studio was used primarily for independently recording all of Da Yoopers albums, a purpose it is stilled used for today. It is also currently used to record any band looking to record in the serene setting of the Upper Peninsula. I used to play in the local music scene in Marquette, MI with Jesse DeCaire, son of Jim DeCaire and member of The Terminal Orchestra, who helped hook our band up to record in this space. (Editor's note: The Terminal Orchestra is playing at Gates of Heaven for a Tone Madison event on March 9. We're pretty sure they won't be covering any tracks from Da Yoopers!)
Who are some of your favorite Wisconsin bands?
Dylan: Locally, I'm very into The Hussy. There's a band in Appleton called Backer who we have played with a couple of times and I like Miserable Friend also from that area. Have to give a shout-out to our local Stevens Point bands Bag-Dad and Elk Startled by Thunder.
Colin: Heavy Looks, if that isn't weird for Jarad.
The Frequency show is an ACLU benefit with an artist and band showcase. Tell us more about the event.
Dylan: We were putting on art and music pop-up shows in Stevens Point so I decided to try doing one here in Madison now that I live here. There will be a number of local artists displaying work including prints, paintings, collage, and more with the viewing starting at 6:00 PM. At 8:00 PM, the music starts. We will be joined by noisy Madison locals And Illusions as well as Matty Ann playing acoustic punk songs. Door money will go to support the American Civil Liberties Union. It will be held Sunday, March 5. It's gonna be real hip so don't miss it!