[band]We all know the indie rock thing has been done. The White Stripes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Belle & Sebastian are sure to ring a few bells to those of the particular persuasion. However, few bands have created the unique sound that the Great Lakes Myth Society (GLMS) has. Forget the in sync harmonies and the copious instruments – they’re a divergent and unique group all together.
The beginnings of GLMS go back to the late \’90s, when they were called The Original Brothers and Sisters of Love. The band included a different member and two critically acclaimed albums: 1999’s The Legende of Jeb Minor and 2001’s H.O.M.E.S., both on the New York-based label, The Telegraph Company.
After the departure of their violinist and only female member, Elizabeth Auchinvole, the collapse of a record label, and an album in limbo, a change was in order. Instead of throwing in the towel and heading back to their hometown of Ann Arbor, they adopted a new black-suit look and officially dubbed themselves the Great Lakes Myth Society on Jan. 1, 2004. “One of the things that made the Great Lakes Myth Society come to play is us having a chance to reinvent our band, kinda from scratch as far as an image and a unit,” McClintock said. The first album they released as GLMS was self-titled and hit record stores in April 2005 on the Boston-based label, Stop, Pop & Roll.
Today, GLMS is made up of Timothy Monger on the guitar and accordion, James Monger and Gregory McIntosh on the guitar, Scott McClintock on the bass and Fido Kennington on drums. All the members help to create the distinct vocals.
Their name and look might be a new invention, but the type of music they play hasn’t changed a bit. Could we call them a punk rock band? Close, but not quite. There are too many reverberations of classic rock and contemporary chords in the choruses to call it punk. Alternative? Still not there. Their sounds are missing the jarring bass and raucous voices of the alternative sound. We’ll have to settle on the chronically overused label of “indie rock.”
The indie rock genre may be clichéd, but MSU students still enjoy the contemporary sounds. “I like that they have a folk-like style and it’s not just rock, and they have different instruments to make everything interesting,” said political science/pre-law sophomore Jessica Davis.
“Their lyrics – I can personally really relate to them because they’re about things in Michigan,” Davis said. “I love Michigan, I love up north, and I love all the stories of the state and they work that into their music. That’s really different, there aren’t many other artists out there who try and do that.”
Since the band comes from Ann Arbor, it’s no surprise that some of their fans do, too,” said fisheries and wildlife junior Taaja Tucker, who attended the University of Michigan for two years before coming to MSU. “They have a variety of instruments. I really like the violins. I’m mainly just a Michigan nationalist, so I just like Michigan-based songs.”
[michigan]She too enjoys the band\’s focus on Michigan. “I really like the references to places, like their song ‘No. VI’ is obviously Novi, which is where I pretty much live,” Tucker said. “It’s something you can easily identify with if you’re from Michigan.”
The band is a family-oriented group to boot; a lot of their backing comes from those closest to them. “Our families are always really supportive,\” said Timothy Monger, whose brother, James Monger, is also in the group. \”We’re definitely the kind of band that usually has at least one set of parents in the crowd, and this is after like eight years of playing. The backing to this band has always been really strong with family and friends, girlfriends, wives.\”
Regardless of familial abet, most of the members agree that, as a group, they’ve made it this far mainly due to each other. “As a band, I gotta say we’ve largely been really self-sufficient,” Kennington said. Not only do they survive on their own, but they’ve been really close friends for around a decade, even before The Original Brothers and Sisters of Love was formed.
“There really hasn’t been any real question of breaking up either, even when the label folded,” Monger said. “We really intended to stay together.”
Like their own sound, the band members\’ taste in music is unique. The inspiration they draw does not reside in just one genre, but flows over a broad range of classifications. “I’ve always prided myself in having a really broad taste in music and I have to say this is the first and longest running band I’ve been in, in which everyone else is equally as broad in their tastes,” Kennington said.
While they haven’t released an album in about two years, the group is getting ready to rectify that. They’re currently in the studio in Ann Arbor putting the finishing touches on their new project. They’ll be releasing Compass Rose Bouquet on June 12 this year. “We recorded it in a record six months, which may be long for some other bands but I think the shortest we’ve ever taken for a record is about 12 months,” Tim Monger said.
Back in May 2006, the band visited the original Motown town for the Detroit Music Awards held at the State Theater. They were nominated for “Outstanding Alternative/Indie Artist/Group,” and even though they didn’t win, they were honored to have the recognition. “We donned our suits and sat at a table by ourselves and watched people schmooze and watched our guitarist hump an inflatable Heineken bottle, so it was just fun, and it was bizarre,” Kennington said.
The group has a lot of love for Michigan’s big city. “Detroit has been really great,” McClintock said. “We’ve had a lot of support from the bigger venues there, like the Magic Stick.”
Outside the music sector of their lives (which is a pretty big portion), they all take on different hobbies and jobs. “I went through good bird-watching phase; I still have my binoculars and my little book,” Monger said. “I still do it from time to time, too.”
As for Kennington, “Teachin’ and giggin’, that’s what I do. I don’t consider my job a real job because it’s so much fun.” Kennington gives music lessons and works in four or five other bands along with GLMS.
As musicians first and foremost, the band is the priority. They withstood adversity and encountered the prospect of imploding as a band, but they stuck together and plan on continuing to do so. Say what you will about them, the Great Lakes Myth Society is an entity of great sounds, great musicians and great friends.
“I always say I am the salmon and GLMS is my net,\” said McClintock. \”They’ve caught me.\”

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