American Pastime

Most of my readers know how I could go on for days about the potential in Birmingham’s local bands/artists, and American Pastime is without a doubt, one of those bands. Thinking back, I don’t know what brought me to The Syndicate Lounge for a show that didn’t have any bands I had ever  heard of before, but there I was with my best friend and coworker Olyvia Kirk, listening to my first local pop-punk band. Little did I know that American Pastime, among others, would be so welcoming into what sometimes feels like their own world they’ve built. Any member of the band will offer up a humble, and somewhat belittling, opinion of their own sound, but it’s my opinion that American Pastime absolutely holds some of the best local talent that there is to offer, even with newly added members. From conversations I’ve held with fellow friends and fans of the band at various events including the successful latest house shows, many would agree that lead singer for Runner Up, Chuck and American Pastime, Mylon Robinson, is one of the most underrated singers we have in this scene. But given his raw talent that has been making an undeniable and at times, controversial, impact on the local pop-punk scene, I don’t see American Pastime flying under the radar for too much longer. Or, at least, I hope not. Olyvia and I spent the day with this band after months of following local happenings and came to an agreement that each member was genuinely kind and held a certain uniqueness to them that together formed an endless positive energy to be around. For anyone wanting to branch out to the local scene, please do yourself a favor, and start out with great bands like this that are constantly working to improve the scene and slowly build what I’m sure will be nothing less than empire in time.

From Left to Right: Austin Peak, Micah Lamb, Cody Peak, Julian Currie, and Mylon Robinson.

SMF Live: Go ahead and start out with the band history including previous members Christian and Evan.

Mylon Robinson (Vocals):We should call them men-bers. Me and a friend, Brad Thomas, started jamming and I met Micah. So, I was like “Hey, come play guitar because he sucks, and I suck, so we need someone who can actually play guitar.” So Micah was like “I suck too.” and I said “Great, you’ll fit right in, lets try this.” Micah and I jammed in that band for a while, and it was going absolutely nowhere, so we pretended that we were going to start another band when really we were just going to kick [Brad] out.

SMF: Do you want this in-

MR: No, it’s cool! He understands, we’ve talked about this.

Austin Peak (Bass): I’m sure he gets it now.

MR: Micah and I started writing acoustic stuff at my house.

Micah Lamb (Guitar and Vocals): I remember that first night we wrote, like, five songs in that one night. Two of them are on our EP.

MR: Later Micah and I decided that we didn’t really know how to sound like a full band…without being a full band. So we got all of our friends that we knew would be interested in participating in a band, and we all ended up living together about a month later. That’s how we ended up writing our EP, pretty much, was by sitting in the living room. Flash forward, now-

SMF: What happened to the men-bers?

MR: We decided that, due to time constraints from other priorities and engagements, that it would probably be better if we decided to go our separate ways since none could make practises. So, for the better of the band, we decided to move forward and add these two [directed to Cody and Austin] who have all of the time in the world to be playing with us.

SMF: What is everyone’s personal history with music? What introduced you to music and how have you evolved as an artist thus far?

MR: I’m not in my final form!

SMF: You’ll go last.

MR: Dang it!

Cody Peak (drums): Okay, I started out- how old are you in the sixth grade? Ten?

SMF: A little older, like, twelve.

CP: Okay, so at eleven, this drum set showed up at my house and Dad said “Figure it out.” So, we figured it out, Austin and I until he gave up.

AP: Yeah, I just decided to give up on that a long time ago.

CP: Middle school rolled around, and you have to decide what you’re going to take, so I picked band. I picked drums-

AP: Naturally.

CP: Naturally, of course, all the way through middle school and all of the way through high school. When college rolled around, I knew the guy that taught drum line at The University of Alabama, and he told me that he thought that I could make it, so I tried and made it. I played quads for one year at Alabama, studied music for one year, and that didn’t pan out because I realized I didn’t want to be a band director because I do not like children. So I quit my band directing major, and a friend in Tuscaloosa asked me “Do you want to be in a band?” “Yes.” but I should have asked what kind of band first, because then I found out it was a bar band and we played-

AP: Dave Matthews cover band!

CP: Awful songs, we played terrible music, Dave Matthews-

SMF: You weren’t kidding about the Dave Matthews thing, oh my god.

[Laughter]

CP: No, dead serious. It was fun because I got to play. That lasted for six months, then I was like “I’m tired of this” so I quit that, moved back home here to Gardendale, and met all of these guys that worked their way through old members and asked me if I wanted to play. This is the music I’ve always wanted to play, and now we’re here.

ML: We’re actually a Dave Matthews cover band.

MR: I was going to say that!

SMF: What about what you listen to?

MR: I got this.

CP: I bet Mylon can do this for me.

MR: I can! Okay, number one, All Time Low-

CP: Right.

MR: Dave Matthews.

[Laughter]

MR: State Champs and American Pastime.

CP: For about two weeks straight, I’ve been listening to American Pastime.

AP: You still listen to Maylene, don’t you?

CP: Yeah, I still listen to Maylene, and all of the old stuff like Underoath, Maylene…who else? I wish Fixed Til Tuesday was still a thing.

AP: I don’t.

CP: Well I hate you too. I grew up listening to the old stuff from Blink 182 and Green Day.

AP: Typical.

CP: Typical stuff, the same stuff everyone else in here is going to say.

MR: I got Flo Rida-

CP: I forgot, Yelawolf is a total influence. [Laughter] Seriously though, I forgot to add Emery, I love them.

ML: I bet I’m the biggest Emery fan in this entire room.

CP: You probably are, I really liked them back then.

ML: I was in middle school and high school band, and marched on drum line.

CP: There we go!

ML: My Dad was a youth pastor, and one Wednesday he told me I had to learn how to play bass in two hours, so I did and that’s how I started to teach myself how to play bass and guitar. I was in a really crappy hardcore-ish band in high school.

MR: Go ahead and tell them the name!

ML: Warriors Prevail.

[Slow clapping and laughter from Mylon]

ML: Julian was our number one fan but, obviously, that band didn’t pan out. After that, I was in a metal band, and we played three shows, we were called Seek It Like Silver, and that was a really fun band to be in but, again, it didn’t pan out. I moved out of state, and came back, and hooked up with Mylon-

MR: You know what he means.

SMF: Mhm.

Mylon: We hooked up all right!

AP: And then they made a band together!

MR: Out of all these guys, I’ve known Julian the longest, I’ve known Julian since my crappy hardcore band. Influence wise, I was really into the hardcore/metal scene back in the day, so [I listened to] bands like In Irons, and of course Fixed Til Tuesday was fantastic…stuff like that. As for now, I’ll listen to anything, Colbie Caillat is one of my favorites, and anything acoustic. The Story So Far is good-

CP: This Wild Life?

ML: This Wild Life is mediocre at best.

CP: Shut up.

ML: Just kidding, I love them. Mylon?

SMF: Give me your whole story like these guys since you didn’t with Runner Up, Chuck!

MR: It was all in the beginning when I was born in a hospital and my Mom smacked my ass-

ML: Those are side notes.

MR: Right, okay, we’ll get back on topic here. Growing up, my Dad was a youth pastor and he was like “Hey, you’re going to sing in church” So I went “Oh, okay, cool.” And everyone thinks I’m joking when I say this, but I wanted to be the next Usher when I was ten. I definitely wanted to be Usher.

ML: I’ve seen it.

MR: He has! So, I wanted to be the next Usher but that didn’t pan out, because apparently I’m white and can not sing that good.

SMF: Can you dance?

MR: I can’t do that, either! Maybe that was the biggest part, that I didn’t know how to dance. I couldn’t wear Timberlands and slide either, so I was screwed. I had to let that one burn.

AP: It’s cool, because you have me to teach you how to dance.

MR: Right, he’s going to teach me how to dance, so I might be Usher soon. Be on the lookout for it. solorecord.com.

[Laughter]

MR: I was in a bunch of random bands, we didn’t even have names-

ML: There’s one band that had a name that you have to mention.

MR: I hate you, I’ll get there. But anyway, I was in a lot of random bands that played a ton of house shows that consisted of stuff like us getting really drunk and seeing if we could write songs on stage.

SMF: How did that work out?

MR: I don’t remember most of it, so it must have been great! After that, I ended up moving to Gardendale from Leeds, and I joined a band called Outside, that’s the whole secret band, the one I don’t mention.

AP: That’s that good-good.

MR: I did that for…eight months? Nine months? And I just completely quit playing music for a while.

SMF: Why?

MR: I was in a relationship at the time, and the girl was like “music is not going to do anything for you” so she made me quit music, pretty much.

AP: You saw how that worked out, didn’t you?

MR: Yeah, don’t let girls tell you that you can’t play music. I met Micah, and we started writing, and here we are. I still want to be Usher, or Johnny Craig, I’ll take Johnny Craig now days! Johnny is bae…Johnny I love you, have my babies.

ML: Johnny, if you see this, I love you.

AP: Is it my turn?

MR: Sure, Mr. I’ve-never-been-in-a-band.

AP: My story is going to start off a lot like Cody’s did because we grew up together, because I’m sort of his brother or whatever. He was eleven, and I was ten, and a drum set showed up at our Dad’s house. I have no patience, so I quit after about a week. Middle school rolls around, and of course, everything I did had to involve something that he was doing so I joined the band. I thought about playing drums and ended up playing trumpet. I played the trumpet for four years, I stopped playing it after my first year of high school, because I figured out that it wasn’t cool, so I joined the drum line with Cody.

CP: I yelled at him a lot.

AP: Yes you did. But anything Cody did, I wanted to do. All through high school we had friends that wanted to play in bands, so we tried starting one a few times and it would never work out. For six years I’ve been teaching myself how to play, or mediocrely play, every instrument I can get my hands on.

CP: He can play the beginning to any song on guitar, but nothing passed that.

AP: Because I don’t have the patience to learn the whole thing.

ML: That’s right.

MR: Raise hell, praise Dale.

SMF: I said that earlier today at the Flea Mall & Antique Center, I’m so ashamed.

MR: Don’t be ashamed, embrace it.

SMF: You guys are rubbing off on me in the worst way possible.

MR: No, it’s good!

SMF: There was just this framed picture of Dale-

MR: I’ve seen that picture.

AP: So, anyway, I’ve been teaching myself anything I can get my hands on, and then I picked the easiest one to play, which is bass. And I’m still pretty bad at it. My music influences are the same as Cody’s, because I wanted to be him for some reason, so it’s State Champs, The Wonder Years-

ML: Nickelback.

AP: Nickleback for sure, Disturbed-

SMF: Wait, so you’re not joking about Nickelback?

MR: No, he’s not, unfortunately!

AP: I’m not going to lie, I’ve listened to a good bit of Nickelback.

[This is where I embarrassingly start laughing so hard that I get out of breath, partially due to the other members of American Pastime singing “Look at this graph“]

SMF: I can’t-

MR: White girl, she can’t even!

AP: For some reason, they thought I could play an instrument, so they asked “Do you want to be in American Pastime? We’ve got an opening,” and I said “Sure!”

Julian Currie (Guitar): Growing up, I had a really musical family anyway, and my Dad was always into hair metal from the 80’s. And he can play the guitar better than anybody I know. My grandmother was a piano teacher, so she made me learn how to read music. My grandfather saw how much I loved music, so he paid for me to take piano lessons. Then, eventually, I met our ex-member, Christian Nielsen, and formed a band called Valiant Flight-

[Everyone starts clapping and yelling]

MR: Best band ever!

JC: with Will A.J., who is now the drummer for Nothing Til Blood. But we actually headlined over Gideon at one point in some of those earlier shows, so that was fun. Apart from that, I know people say they listen to everything, but I literally listen to everything.

MR: I love country music, I’m just going to throw this one out there-

JC: I’ll listen to it, it’s not my favorite, but I’ll listen to it.

MR: I want to start a country band.

SMF: I want to be in the country band!

MR: Yes, please! Right now it’s just Evan from Meadows and I.

ML: What can she play?

MR: What do you want to play?

SMF: Anything.

MR: Deal, you’re in.

SMF: I can play, you know, the bucket that has a string-

MR: You’re so in, you just have to look like you have dip in your mouth, just stick your lip out.

SMF: That’s disgusting, I’m out.

MR: Dang it! We just lost our first member!

SMF: I was the coolest one, you fucked up!

AP: You lost your coolest member all ready.

MR: This bands not going anywhere.

SMF: I’m so sorry Julian.

JC: No, it’s cool, but I play around with a lot of electronic stuff right now. That’s just about it for me.

10

SMF: So what are some goals that you guys have as a band right now? Tell me about upcoming tours.

MR: We’re all going on tour with 50 Cent, and after that it’s Goodie Mob, are they even still a thing?

ML: Probably not.

MR: We actually have a tour at the end of this Summer.

SMF: What’s that tour called?

MR: Summer’s not dead!

[We all start cheering]

AP: Summer’s not dead, she’s sitting right here, we have it figured out!

[Collectively yell “Summer’s not dead!”]

MR: You guys are genius. We’re planning a few tours, but the only one confirmed is-

CP: Summer’s not dead.

MR: She’s just a lap ahead…good ole’ Dale Earnhardt joke.

CP: Dale’s not a joke.

[Silence]

MR: Some goals we have coming up are to record this new EP, and start sending it out to labels, so that maybe we can get a little support to go as far as our little hearts desire, and to keep going as long as people will listen to our terrible music.

ML: We’ll let them!

MR: We’ll let them, I’ll sing any song you want, it won’t be good…but I got you.

SMF: How will touring affect things at home?

ML: The band is like an organism that just kind of grows and evolves. Anytime you do anything with anybody, you’re going through life with these people for a while, but things change no matter what it is. Like, with the guys that were in the band, our relationship has changed, but it’s better because there was a lot of stress and pressure in that relationship that we didn’t need. I think it would be fun to be stuck in a van with these guys for five or six hours at a time.

AP: We did have a conflict last week on what song to cover, and we just flipped a coin!

MR: We typically flip a coin when we can’t decide on something. I guess relationship wise, as far as other people go, when we’re on tour distance can make the heart grow fonder or make it wander. So, if you’re in a relationship, it can completely so either way. I guess that’s my biggest fear.

 


“Raise hell, praise Dale.”

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