It’s impressive when a successful indie rock band writes, produces, records, mixes and masters all their own material. Fever Marlene is one of those self-sufficient bands that clearly demonstrates how it can be done with their determination and, of course, the dexterity of talent among musicians. Hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, band members consist of Scott Starr-lead vocals and guitar player, Kevin Dunphy-drummer and vocals, Dan Mahony-bass player and vocals, Christian Hansen-guitar player, and Ryan Gardiner-synth player and vocals.
Scott talks about the differing of originally being a duo band in 2003 to becoming a five piece band. When it was just Scott and Kevin there was more freedom in the creative process. More frequently they would write together in synchronicity, which put them on the same page. And without much effort, just be in the moment together. They were able to build the foundation of the band and form their sound that other bands sometime struggle with. Now with five members, the time factor and different schedules can be challenging. But for Scott, it feels more grown up in a way because there’s a lot of writing individually which is still very gratifying.
Music of Fever Marlene
With Fever Marlene’s 2013 release, ‘Medicated Friends’, it shows how the DIY band has grown with the compatible talents they all have. “I’ve always wanted our records to be the kind you’d listen to in your car on a long drive front to back. Typically records like that leave me with a nostalgic feeling. Or put me back in a good place,” says Scott.
The song ‘Khemitones‘ from ‘Medicated Friends‘ was the first tune Scott and Kevin wrote together back in 2005 while Scott was playing bass pedals and they were figuring out how they were going to make it as a duo band. “I believe the title happened by mistake when I was trying to explain to someone how the sound of the song reminded me of something chemical. It was one of those out of the air spontaneous songs that we wrote in an evening. Just happened to work on some level,” says Scott.
Playing shows in the big cities are exciting for Fever Marlene, but they feel the most comfortable in their self made studio, Dirty Earth. The guys gutted the A frame attic in Scott’s house and constructed a proper studio space. “A lot of sweat went into it,” he says. Over the years they’ve collected a lot of really cool recording gear and learned how to mix and master their own music by watching YouTube videos. Having their own space allows them to write and record whenever they want without having to work by the hour while renting space somewhere else.
Outings for Fever Marlene
Even for Fever Marlene, meeting other celebrities can be amusingly strange. One of the bands finest moments they shared was meeting Paris Hilton at Caesars Palace in Vegas. After playing at a fashion show at The Venetian the band was invited to an after party where there were about 20 people including the band Linkin Park. So when Paris walked in and her bodyguards started questioning Fever Marlene who they were, the band knew the bodyguards wouldn’t care. So they told the bodyguards they were David Bowies back up band which was the first thing that came to their minds. “I remember taking shots with Wilmar Valderrama. Things happened. Lots of pictures. I remember Kevin falling off a table and spilling our bottle service… Then being escorted to the entrance by security,” laughs Scott.
Along with all the exciting fun also comes the business side of music. Scott confesses about the continual difficult struggles he’s had to deal with in the industry and the politics that go along with it. He came to terms with realizing that luck definitely played a part in their success In the beginning. Fever Marlene was never the type of band to send out CDs in a fancy package in hopes that they would get hired by someone with a bunch of money to make more records. “We enjoyed making music. And Milwaukee has been just small enough for us to pay our rent and make some noise while gaining traction… Without leaving the neighborhood,” says Scott.