TURN IT DOWN: A survey of Lansing's musical landscape
|By Rich Tupica|
No end in Sights
The Detroit garage rock scene is either scoffed at or revered by music lovers. Most of this is due to the overdose of media hype it received in 2001 thanks to The White Stripes blowing up into a worldwide success.
Since then, many of those garage bands have dissolved or moved out of the city. Even Jack White has abandoned the Motor City for Music City.
However, one band that has not only stuck around well after the hype simmered, but also continued to tour, record and improve on its bluesy-rock values are Detroit mainstays The Sights.
Led by singer/guitarist Eddie Baranek, the band has kept busy for the last 10 years, recording a pile of records with famed analog producer (and former Lansing resident) Jim Diamond and touring all over America and Europe.
While Baranek, the band’s chief songwriter and founding member, simply describes the band’s sound as “good songs with some harmony and a good mix of rock ‘n’ roll,” the band is also known for its dynamic, high-energy live show, which has steadily gained notice far beyond the streets of Detroit.
The media attention the band has received has all come from hard work and countless tours.
“We did it at a grassroots level,” Baranek said. “We didn’t get a hit song, and then get big or anything. It’s been a very organic thing. I’m very proud of that.”
That hard work has earned the band opening slots on some bigger tours across the map.
“We’ve done all these tours supporting bigger bands, like Robert Plant, The Donnas and The Kills,” Baranek said. “We always have gotten a lot of support. People would come up to us after the show and say, ‘Wow, you guys blew the headliner away.’ That always meant a lot to me.”
These days, the band is getting set to release two new records: a full length LP titled “Most of What Follows is True” (due out in 2010) and “Silver and Gold,” a vinyl single.Lower Peninsula Records, a vinylonly label owned by Lansing musician and producer John Krohn, will release the single. The label’s past releases include a double LP by local favorites Frontier Ruckus and a compilation LP, “Headed For the Ditch: A Michigan Tribute to Neil Young.”
Krohn said the upcoming foursong record by The Sights will have a unique appearance, and will be released in early December 2009. “‘Silver and Gold’ will be a 45 rpm maxi-single, which means it’s a 12-inch LP that spins at 45,” he said. “There are only grooves on one side. There are songs on the A-side, meanwhile the B-side of the vinyl is just smooth vinyl with a screen printed design on it. It’s going to be a really nice looking record.”
The Sights recent recordings maintain Baranek’s explosive guitar playing and vintage organ sound, though he said maturity has altered his lyrics. “In the early days, I just had nothing to write about. I was a 17 year old and writing lyrics. Why would anyone want to listen to me?” Baranek asked with a laugh. “Then you get older, and you write about who you are. I just feel like I’m getting closer to whatever the truth is.”
Along with more thoughtful lyrics, Baranek said the new records will be his most candid work to date. “It’s the most honest record I’ve ever made,” he said. “It really scares me. Lyrically everything is out there. It’s all laid out there and it’s brutal sometimes … it’s pretty ballsy and honest.”
Friday, Nov. 20 Mac’s Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing w/ Flatfoot, Narc Out the Reds, Dead Scene Radio 9 p.m., $7, 18
Visit The Sights online www.myspace.com/thesights