If there was ever a band that met by God’s providence, it would be MIKESCHAIR. To be fair, Mike Grayson (lead vocals, guitar), Sam Tinnesz (lead guitar, vocals), Jesse Hale (violin, keyboards, utility, vocals), and Jon Haire (bass) were all living in the same dorm at Belmont University. While others in the highly music student population were awash in a sea of music dreams, the quartet began writing songs, playing shows, and finding success. After singing to Curb Records, MIKESCHAIR released their self-titled debut album in July. Currently, the band is on The Altered Minds Tour with Lecrae and After Edmund (for a full tour schedule, click here).
Because it was his chair that inspired the band’s name, Mike Grayson kindly answered the questions for Backseat Writer’s latest Take 5. I want to see pictures of your diva chair, Mike!
Tell me about MIKESCHAIR, like the chair itself. I hear it¹s become a diva since it inspired the band name. True or false?
HAHAHA!! I tell you what, ever since the band was named after the chair, “Mike’s Chair” won’t let anyone sit on it because it thinks that it is so much more than a chair now. The chair refuses to leave my room out of fear of being mobbed by fans. If that’s not diva then, I don’t know what is.
The band has a great “how we met” story. You’re all talented musicians rooming in the same freshmen dorm at Belmont and… (finish the story).
The whole thing started with a song. One of the guys in the band and I sat down and started writing a song. In the middle of the process Jesse (our violin/keyboard player) walked across the hall into the dorm room and said that he played violin and wondered if he could come and play with us. We agreed and thankfully so because Jesse is an amazing violin player.
The three of us then decided that we wanted to record this song but we didn’t have all the necessary instrumentation to complete the song but decided to start recording anyway. A couple days later we were talking about how we really needed electric guitar on the song. To our surprise Sam (our lead guitarist) happened to be walking by the dorm room and mentioned that he played electric guitar. We added Sam to the song and then rounded out the group by adding Jon to come play bass.
During this whole process all of the guys except for me lived on the first floor of the dorm. Because of this I spent all my time with the rest of the guys down on their floor–to the point that I was constantly sitting and even sleeping on their floors. One day I came back from class and the guys went out and got me a chair so that I could have something that was mine down on their floor. I wrote “MIKE” really big on the chair and from that point on whenever we wrote and or played music the chair was always involved. The name MIKESCHAIR is simply a reminder of those times and how faithful God is to bring us from a dorm at Belmont University to the platform we have today.
Your first single, “Can’t Take Away” is so catchy with singability through the roof. What inspired the writing of this song?
“Can’t Take Away” was actually the very last song to go on the record. In fact, the record was finished when we wrote this song, but we knew right away that it had to go on the record. This song was written right when gas had reached over $4 a gallon, a hurricane had just hit down south, election season was well under way, and the news was about nothing but the bad economy. We sat down to write, and practically all we could feel was defeat.
As we were talking it was almost as if rebellion set in, and we decided that even though the world around us is in turmoil God is still exactly where He has always been—on His Throne! No matter what is going on in our lives, no matter how bad it gets, no one and nothing can take away our God. This song is our reminder that it doesn’t matter who is in office or what the economy is doing or what troubles come our way, our hope and our trust lies in the hands of a God who is unchanging.
My favorite song on the album is “Silhouette” or “Outside of Me.” I can’t decided which I like more. Which song do you think should be my favorite?
First off,I am so impressed by your favorites!! Most people always choose the radio singles as favorites and you have chosen two of the more artistic songs on the record which I LOVE. It’s always hard to pick a favorite for us because it’ like saying you like one child more than the other, but in this situation I would have to say that I think “Silhouette” should be your favorite. “Silhouette” is one of the songs on the album that we all love from a lyrical and musical standpoint. This song will never be a radio single but the imagery the songs paints is something that we all love.
Does your band have any unique quirks that you’d like to make public? (Like maybe you¹re all obsessed with Planet Earth or have a fascination with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—let’s hear it!)
When it comes down to it MIKESCHAIR is nothing but quirks – hahahah. Just to name a few:
1. Jon and Jesse can’t stand people touching their necks
2. Sam hates all fruits
3. I snore like a beast
4. And we used to watch That Thing You Do every time we were in the van!!
5. We mostly communicate in different accents when in the van.
To connect with MIKESCHAIR, go to myspace.com/mikeschair and hit up the band on all your favorite social networks!