HomeInterviewsHappy Mondays Interview Series: Nick Ryan & The Mess

Happy Mondays Interview Series: Nick Ryan & The Mess

Photo Credit : Bella Liberati

One of the great things about doing this interview series is stumbling across a band that’s just getting started.

Nick Ryan & The Mess are no strangers to the scene yet, as a collective unit they’ve only been jamming together since late summer. The unbridled excitement that this band brings whether it’s on stage, or even in just talking to them is joyously infectious. You can’t help but feel hyped about this band and their future, because they are truly all in on this project.

The band performs tonight at Happy Mondays at The Wonder Bar and we caught with lead singer Nick Ryan to talk about the band’s formation, his thoughts on the scene, and will there be some records coming out for them in the near future.

Nick Ryan & The Mess Are (Band Members & The Instruments They Play): Nick Ryan : Lead Vocals/Guitar, Jimmy Franklin : Lead Guitar/Vocals, Michael Squillace : Saxophone, Julian Michalski: Bass/Vocals, Jordan Bowen : Drums/Vocals, Casey O’Connell : Keys.

Year We Formed: 2019

We’re Based Out Of: Asbury Park, New Jersey

The Story Behind Our Name: It’s funny. We spent what felt like FOREVER trying to find a name that felt authentic to who we were as people, but that also felt “cool” enough to be a band name. Jordan, our drummer, and I were out grabbing drinks after an awful day and I had just nonchalantly said “Man, we’re a mess. Why don’t we just name the band that?” And we did just like that. It stuck.

You’ve Seen Us in Other Bands Before Like: Taylor Tote Band, Jake Tavill and the Indigo Soul, Pepperwine, The Rock and Roll Time Machine, Levy and the Oaks, Brian Kirk and the Jirks.

Our Sound Has Been Liked To: A twist between the old-school “Jersey Rock” sound of Asbury Park and new-school pop-rock. With a saxophone and two lead guitar players, there are sure to be harmonies that share the likeness to Thin Lizzy, the strong backbeat compares Springsteen and Tom Petty, and the songwriting and melodies give you a tinge of familiarity that is on the radio today.

Famous/Awesome Bands We’ve Shared The Stage With: Everyone we’ve played with so far are absolutely awesome! Bryan Hansen Band, The Extensions, Sean Tobin, Foes Of Fern….so many. I don’t want to leave anyone out.

You guys came together over the summer — can you talk about how you guys came together?

I had been playing guitar with so many amazing acts around The Shore and absolutely LOVED it, but I had a pile of songs that I was writing that I felt like I needed to give the proper light of day. Mikey and I had done some duo shows and played a bit of these songs out, and while they sounded cool (his sax makes anything sound super cool) we both wanted to bring it to the next level with giving it the full band treatment. Jordan had played with us in Jake Tavill’s band and shared the same love for Springsteen’s music that I have, and his voice added some absolutely beautiful harmonies that made these songs sound so polished.

Julian was my first call for bass, him and I played together for years in the beginning of Taylor’s band and our friendship and stage chemistry was something that needed to happen again. Casey had played bass for my previous original band, the Machines and also for Jake, but his true love is actually piano. He’s a musical genius, classically trained, and has such a killer ear for arrangements. Last January I met Jimmy on set of a music video shoot for Taylor and we hit it off and I NEEDED his energy on stage. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out since we were all still playing with other bands (and still are), but after the first show we did it seemed that there was an undeniable chemistry and brotherhood that we couldn’t throw to the wayside, so we all decided that we would do everything we could to make this work.

You have original tunes you perform — any places on an official release (album, EP, etc.)

Not yet! But, we just cut an EP and we’re working on more stuff as we speak. Be sure to be on the lookout on our social media and website for our debut release this December!!

Can you talk about the Asbury Park music scene and how it is being a new band in a scene that is teeming with bands?

It’s so amazing that we have such a rich music scene that we can call home base. Everyone that has been pioneers in this scene for years has been very supportive of us already and have allowed us to plant our roots in this wonderful town. Some of our favorite shows so far have been in town; from the Wonder Bar shows we did this past summer, to the nights we spent rocking at the Asbury Hotel, to the energy of the Asbury Lanes show we did with Bryan Hansen. And all the bands we’ve played with are super talented and I think we’ve all learned so much from the musicality and originality that these Asbury bands have.

What do you love about being in this band?

I love the authenticity. I love the fact that we all love playing together and are on the same page. I love that our lives can be an absolute “mess,” yet we can all get together and, collectively, everything is great.

What’s a definitive goal you have for the band in 2020?

We have a lot of music to release, that’s the main goal. I can’t wait to continue to keep writing these songs and playing these shows, the opportunity to go out and do that is an utmost blessing.

Nick Ryan & the Mess performs with The YeahTones, Biplane at Happy Mondays in Wonder Bar in Asbury tonight, for free.

Bill Bodkin
Bill Bodkinhttps://thepopbreak.com
Bill Bodkin is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break, and most importantly a husband, and father. Ol' Graybeard writes way too much about wrestling, jam bands, Asbury Park music, HBO shows, and can often be seen under his season DJ alias, DJ Father Christmas. He is the co-host of the Socially Distanced Podcast (w/Al Mannarino) which drops weekly on Apple, Google, Anchor & Spotify. He is the co-host of the monthly podcasts -- Anchored in Asbury, TV Break and Bill vs. The MCU.
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