By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
This week, Manned Missiles will start its third attempt at recording the band's debut EP—that is, if everything goes according to plan. But founding member and frontman Benjamin Rodriguez says that even the band's forming last year wasn't according to plan. "I wasn't really thinking about being in a band," he says. "I was happy doing my own solo stuff, and besides, I'd seen my friends in bands dealing with all the typical problems and drama."
What Rodriguez did need was a drummer. He wanted to record a song that he'd written about breaking up with a girl but wasn't pleased with his own bedroom-style drum-machine beats. "I started putting the word out, asking around for a drummer and ended up talking to Gibby [David Gibson] one day, and we got along well." The two started rehearsing together, and before long, Rodriguez says, "Gibby just started leaving his drums at my place."
The rest, as they say, is history. Rodriguez enlisted the help of friends and fellow musicians Ben Gallagos and Johny Diaz, and the band played its first house show September 2008. In the last year, while the Lewisville-based band has had plenty of luck booking shows and making friends in Denton (and, to a lesser extent, Dallas), the band has had, according to Rodriguez, "the worst of luck with this EP."
The bad luck has afflicted the band's debut, Might as Well, and the band's previous attempt at recording an EP. "We recorded an initial EP a while back," Rodriguez says. "But we weren't happy with the recording or the mixing on that one." Also, because several months had passed since the recording session, the band's sound had changed considerably. "We had grown a lot tighter as a band, and you couldn't hear that in the recordings, so we decided to scrap the whole thing."
After taking a break from recording to spend time working on the band's live show and writing some fresh material, Manned Missiles started recording with Joey Gardner (who, until moving to Austin recently, played locally as Mental Dentist). Rodriguez says, "Things went OK at first, but Joey and I started butting heads a bit."
The biggest problem for Rodriguez was that none of the tracks sounded right to him. "I know how the songs sound in my head, and how they sounded live, but that just wasn't coming through on the recordings." The band decided that the EP should be recorded live in a studio, but at the time, Rodriguez says, Gardner didn't have the capabilities to record the band live.
This week, Manned Missiles heads into the studio with Small Town Ruffians' Joel Adair, who recorded The Young and Brave's newest full-length. Rodriguez says the EP will be released by October.