Dent May: My Firsts
Dent May on His First Car, First Time Getting Drunk, and Early Musical Experiences
Aug 27, 2012
My Firsts is our new email interview series where we ask musicians to tell us about their first life experiences, be it early childhood ones (first word, first concert, etc.) or their first tastes of being a musician (first band, first tour, etc.).
For this My Firsts we talk to Mississippi native Dent May. In June May released Do Things on Paw Tracks, the follow up to his 2009 debut, The Good Feeling Music of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele.
Read on as May discusses the first album he bought, an Air-assisted car crash, the '90s boy band he loved, and a creepy coworker.
First album you bought?
The first album I bought was a compilation called The Good Feeling Music of the Big Chill Generation. I went to a used CD store with a cigar box full of coins looking for The Big Chill soundtrack. They only had this knockoff, but it was full of oldies bangers. The title of my first album is a reference to this CD.
First concert you went to?
I saw The New Kids on the Block with my sisters in Biloxi, MS. I don't remember much about the show, but I was a legit fan at the time. I still have a complete collection of NKOTB trading cards that will hopefully sell for thousands of bucks one day.
First time you got drunk?
I was drinking champagne at my cousin's wedding on my 15th birthday. My parents suspected I was drunk. I denied everything, but when the whole extended family got together to watch the wedding video, there I was sure enough chugging champagne in the background of some of the footage.
First job you had?
I bagged groceries at the Jitney Jungle. I remember being freaked out when my much older coworker asked me if I knew where to buy a gun that couldn't be traced. He said, "I don't want to hurt anyone, just scare somebody real bad." The next summer I got a job at the indoor center at the local tennis club. I basically sat at a desk booking courts and watching ladies work out. That was more my speed.
First car you owned?
I got my mother's 1993 Dodge Caravan for Christmas when I was 16. Two months later I totaled it while listening to Air's Virgin Suicides soundtrack. The first car I bought with my own money is the 1996 Ford 15-passenger van I'm currently using to tour across the USA.
I learned to play guitar on a Fender acoustic guitar my mother bought as a gift for my father before they were married back in the '70s. I still have it, and that guitar's a prized possession. It's all over the new album, and I still travel with it. If it gets stolen, I'll probably go into a deep depression and never return.
First band you were in?
I was in a band called Flood in seventh grade. We played cover songs by Creed, Our Lady Peace, 311, Better Than Ezra, etc. Our first gig was at a party called "Booty Bash." We recorded a cassette and sold copies at school. I wish I still had one.
First recording device?
We recorded the Flood tape straight to cassette with a single RadioShack microphone plugged into my parents' stereo system. When I was in college and getting more serious about songwriting, I recorded with a Blue Snowball USB mic direct into GarageBand. I let John from Bass Drum of Death borrow it, and I think he still uses that setup.
First professional recording session?
I had a pop punk band in junior high called Your Name Here. We recorded four or five tracks at this place called Terminal in Jackson, MS. There was this one song called "Fast Cars and Football Stars" that was our crowning achievement of the sessions. Unfortunately, I don't have any of those recordings, but I'm not gonna be too sad if they never surface.
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