Written by Austin Schumacher; Media by Michael Trieb.
Taking the Greenville College Campus by storm is the new hit wonder group by the name of The Allen Miller Band. With their sudden rise to fame, many are wondering, who these guys are and where did they come from? Managing to get a personal interview, I was able to sit down and chat with the members to get a feel for what’s really going on behind the music.
How did The Allen Miller Band get started?
The concept for The Allen Miller band, as told by Tyler Semple and Brian Gertler, came during Brian’s first semester at Greenville. Brian was not at GC, yet, but he and a friend were watching a football game, and a Black and Decker commercial came on. A moment of jumping around screaming ,“Split that wood up!” turned into a song idea. When Brian did finally make it to Greenville, they wanted to record the song, but had no intentions of starting a band. In fact, the two members were part of a cover band last year called Bunchupus ,along with four other people who will remain nameless at Allen Miller’s request. However, this year, they decided to keep things rolling with new stuff, and we are now blessed with the madness known as The Allen Miller band.
What is your inspiration for these crazy songs that you make?
The inspiration for the two most popular Allen Miller songs come from television. The first, “Split that Wood Up” obviously was inspired by the B&D commercial. The second number, “I’m in Love with a Mannequin” was originally prompted by MTV’s show Taboo, where one young man was actually in love with a mannequin. At the time of this writing, they are currently working on a new song called “Hangin’ at the Home,” about hanging out in a nursing home in memoriam of Fair Oakes in Greenville.
When it comes to writing the songs, the lyrics are mostly covered by Tyler, while Brian, who has been playing drums most of his life, focuses on the beats. Tyler revealed that he has been writing rap lyrics since high school, so whenever he finishes writing, he shows them to Brian, who comes up with the beat behind it. Tyler revealed that he was actually surprised how fast Brian came up with his tracks, after it took only six lines of “Mannequin” for Brian to have a beat in his head about how to do the song. Once they have the beat established, the backtrack is then created by Brian and Mike Porter. The recording is usually done in 3rd Mannoia, which Allen Miller remarks as being “fun, but everybody hates us.” After cleaning up lyrics and beats, the song is then ready to release to the public.
So, why did you do the singer/songwriter competition?
As it turns out, Allen Miller’s relaxed attitude extends to most of the other areas of performance and not just songwriting. When talking about why they decided to do the competition, Brian comments that he was in Whitlock practicing for a recital when he got a text from Tyler at 8, asking if he wanted to do the competition at 9. “He was just like, ‘Do you wanna play “Split that Wood Up”?’ So, we did.” According to Tyler, he just wanted to perform the song live. The response that they got was much larger than they expected. When they found out that they had advanced to the next round, the first reaction was awesome, but then came the revelation that they needed to more songs. Reactions? “Uhhhh….” Luckily, having just recorded “Mannequin,” Tyler had already written the cover song “Tots,” so once again, they set out to perform.
When approaching a performance, Tyler admits that he gets extremely nervous, but Brian’s calm demeanor allows him to perform well. Having never practiced the songs prior to the competition, Tyler said that he was really hoping that the audience would get into it and like them. It makes a world of difference just to “hear them laugh.” Brian, on the other hand, has been playing drums live for quite a while. However, with a microphone in his hand, he said that it’s completely different. “I freak out. I need to be either funny or loud.” Luckily, this band allows him room to do both of those.
Where are you going from here?
So, now that Allen Miller has achieved all of this campus-wide fame, which they allow is rather nice, where do they plan to take this? In all honesty, they revealed, “This could stop tomorrow.” If anything, the guys consider it a bit of a burden, albeit a fun burden. Concerning the Singer/Songwriter competition, “We were glad we didn’t advance because we didn’t have three new songs.” While they certainly have a fun time making it, creating the tunes takes up a lot of time, and since they started not expecting anything, they don’t necessarily need to take it quite so seriously.
Overall, the plan is for The Allen Miller Band to slowly sneak out whenever the hype dies down. A lot of it depends on the audience, they claim. “If they want more, then we’ll do more.” Tyler loves writing lyrics, so it just depends on what people want. Both artists concede that they have so many ideas that they could turn into songs, that it they “…can just keep spittin’em out.” Still, it does add up time-wise. Since it’s not either of their majors, it’s a harder thing to do. Finding the time can get rather tricky.
Still, The Allen Miller Band loves the response that they’ve been getting, saying that it’s nice to walk around campus and be recognized. One of the best parts, they revealed, is that even though they don’t consider themselves excellent musicians (in the words of Tyler), the music people respect them. “I can’t play instruments, and can’t sing, but those who can are cool to me,” he says. In fact, Tyler is a Communications major and Brian is majoring in Pastoral Ministry. Although it is true he used to be a Drum Performance major, Brian admits that “…that’s not my thing anymore,” and enjoys taking music and making something that isn’t so time-consuming. In this situation, they control how much they put into it.
The question every one wants to know….Who IS Allen Miller??
In trying to come up with a name for the group, Brian and Tyler decided to ask the populace for suggestions, and got some pretty interesting ones including Bleeding from the Inside. Wow. However, the actual name was brought up by Tim Birch who mentioned it to the two of them. When asked who Allen Miller was, he simply responded, “I don’t know.” Thus, the name stuck. Brian reveal, though, that there is currently an Allen Miller Band in existence, which is actually a country band in Texas, and often jokes that “…that was the old us.”