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You could never call frontman Patrick Meese a rock ’n’ roll cliché. Patrick worked past his troubled years long before the label heads were calling, before the Fray was opening for his band and before his song was all over the radio.
There’s a reason the industry has been buzzing over the Denver-based four-piece. Patrick, schooled in music as much as life, is a master of melody. And proof of his unyielding grasp on pop music (as an art form and a populist celebration) is found in the band’s dynamic confection, "Next In Line." One listen to the infectiously soulful "nah-nahs" of the lead single and you’ll understand Meese’s love of fist-pumping, rock-infused pop that begs to be sung along with.
"I wanted something that was dancy and edgy on the CD, a song that would really incorporate our electronic personality with the rock side of things," Patrick said of the addictive "Next In Line." "It’s got a great beat, and I love how the rhythm of the lyrics works with the beat. It’s honestly my favorite song to play live. Something about the attitude of the song just resonates with me, and it makes me feel badass."
Music was a revelation for Patrick, who developed an affinity for club drugs as a quiet Ohio youth in the late-’90s. That addiction transplanted Patrick from the Midwest to the West, and after an in-patient rehab program in Montana and boarding school in Idaho, he moved further south along the Rocky Mountains into Colorado in 2002 to study music at Colorado Christian University.
Patrick fronted a number of Colorado bands – as a drummer, guitarist, pianist and always the vocalist – but it wasn’t until early-2005 that his brother Nathan made the Ohio-Colorado trek and the idea behind Meese was solidified.
Not long after Nathan’s arrival in Colorado, the brothers came across another local band, For the Holiday. Patrick and Nathan liked the group a lot – especially drummer Benjamin Haley and guitarist Mike Ayars.
Patrick says, "I saw Mike and Ben and thought, ‘I bet I can get these guys to play in my band.’"
Sure enough, Benjamin and Mike believed in Patrick’s music, and a few months later, they had joined the Meese fold. A year after the band first gelled, an early-2007 demo of "Tell Me It’s Over" caught on fire at Denver modern rock powerhouse KTCL/93.3-FM. After flirting with various major labels, Meese signed with Atlantic Records in October of 2007.
As it turns out, Meese came together just as things were starting to happen in Denver’s burgeoning music community. Whereas the Fray had opened for Patrick’s previous band, they soon went multiplatinum – taking Meese on tour with them.
"The community in Denver is amazing," said Patrick, who has seen his buddies in the Flobots, OneRepublic, 3OH!3 and Single File playing to larger national audiences in the last year. "Everybody knows everybody and is supportive of each other’s bands – and there’s also great support from the radio stations, KTCL and Radio 1190 included. It’s a unique situation because Denver is way out there. You go to Denver and that’s all there is as far as cities with over a million people, so we’ve had to do our own thing."
And now it’s Meese’s turn. "Broadcast," produced by Sean Beavan (Nine Inch Nails, No Doubt, Depeche Mode), covers the wide spectrum of the band’s many stylistic interests – from guitar-driven rock to avant-garde electronic, from melodic piano pop to four-on-the-floor dance. "Tell Me It’s Over" is the break-up song that has the kids shaking it in the aisles. "The Quiet Side" displays Patrick’s wild side – both as a person and a songwriter/producer who slips glitched-out programming nuances into his songs. The title track is a mammoth, album-defining ballad that thrives off Nathan and Mike’s guitars and ended up connecting with the entire band in an unusual way.
"The song ‘Broadcast’ has really grown on all of us," said Nathan, "and it’s a good example of us mixing all of the styles of music we like into one song. There are a lot of electronic elements in there, and it rocks – but it’s still a ballad. It’s got a great melody and a great hook."
Patrick is the band’s lead songwriter, and he writes songs he would want to listen to. Absolutely essential to a Patrick Meese composition: The oh moment.
"My whole philosophy behind songwriting is the oh feeling," Patrick said. "And I’m always trying to focus on having that oh moment in every song."
Those moments come fast and furious in Meese songs, be it a clever turn of phrase or an unexpected chord change, a subtle bassline that steers the song into new territory or a careening vocal that grabs you by the shoulders and shakes you into a place of understanding. Patrick is inspired by life happening around him, but he finds much of his support from his band – especially his brother.
"It’s really about looking out for each other," said Nathan. "But being brothers is hard. It’s a relationship. You have to work on it, and I know tons of people who aren’t close with their siblings or have bad blood, but we’re lucky enough to have played music together for our whole lives – since I was 9 and he was 10.
"But at the same time, we’re still brothers and so we still pick on each other and fight and beat each other up," Nathan continued. "But the satisfaction from the little success that we’ve had so far is magnified because I get to do it with my brother. It’s more rewarding that, suddenly, something we’ve been talking about since we were little kids is happening."