Meet The Mean, a band that fuses folk-rock, rap, ‘60s pop hooks, late-'70s soul vibes, and an undercurrent of funk and R&B. Hailing originally from Philadelphia, The Mean consists of Aaron Livingston, Charlie Raboteau, Michael Gibney, Martin Raboteau, Stephen Greenberg, and Jesse Maynard. The Mean recently wrote songs for the indie comedy, L!fe Happens,and are currently working on their third album. I had the chance to chat with the boys from The Mean about some of their favorite shows, biggest influences, and their stop-motion music videos!
YH: How was the band formed/how did all of you meet?
CR: We had all been friends or relatives for a long time. We grew up amongst a massive crew of creative people that all played music together, developing a musical language of our own. This is an extension of that.
YH: What is the craziest show that you have ever played?
CR: This one's a tie -- There's a bar in Philadelphia called the Mermaid Inn. George Washington and those dudes used to hang out there. We played there a lot, sometimes for three and four hours. One time this really drunk lady came in, sat next to my mom and aunt, and, during a pause between songs, told everyone in the room that she smelled death.
AL: Another time at the Mermaid, some guy started yodeling super loud while we played "Gypsy Girl", which is a soft, intense ballad. In between verses, I told him if he didn't shut up, I'd kick his ass, but I'd wait 'til the end of the song. He didn't stop. I chased him out of the place while the rest of the guys kept playing. The owners made him go home before I had a chance to hurt him or my hand.
YH: What was your favorite show that you have played?
MG: We loved playing at the Lakeside lounge in New York, which is closing this month. It's a really tiny place with the best old school jukebox you'd ever find, and a big window right where the stage is. We made a lot of new friends and fans there because of that window, and because only awesome people work there! Because of all that, every show we played there was the best.
YH: Which bands/musicians inspire your music? Why?
CR: Howlin Wolf / Hubert Sumlin. Wolf, because he's so raw and powerful...
AL: ...And Sumlin, because he's like the RZA of the blues guitar. Those together were pure magic, and we're all about magic.
YH: How would you describe the sound of The Mean?
AL: Kind of like Rap punched Folk-Rock in the face.
YH: I noticed that you have made a few music videos. Can you tell me a little bit more about that experience, and what the inspiration/ideas behind them were?
MG: Charlie made these videos without any plot or ideas. He just started drawing with crayons and cutting up paper and letting the music and materials inspire him. Once he had something solid, we just bounced vague ideas off each other till they were done.
YH: What future projects are you currently working on?
AL: We are working on more videos and writing songs for another Mean album. I'm working on an Aaron Livingston Project which will feature The Mean on some songs as well.
Take a listen to The Mean's musical contributions to the film L!fe Happens below, followed by one of their music videos, "Gentle Woman":
For more music, videos, and other info, pay a visit to the band's Official Website!