What city or town do you call home?
Are there any fun facts about your band?
-Tony composed a symphony that debuted in March 2014. Our band played accompanied by a full symphony orchestra and chorus.
-We’ve Independently toured through 44 states.
-Lesleigh is a also a registered nurse and works in a Neurology Intensive Care Unit.
-We work extensively with kids. Tony does clinician work, speaks in schools, and is an ambassador for the non-profit organization, the Lucky Fin Project. In 2012, Tony was invited to play and speak at the Superdome, in New Orleans, for 35,000 young people at a national youth event.
What inspired the name of your band? Are there any other names you considered that didn’t make the cut?
Tony Memmel is my given name, but I was once in a band called “Raul’s Wild Kingdom.” (named after the TV show in Weird Al’s film, “UHF.”)
Also, pre-Miley Cyrus, we’d talked about naming our band “Tony Memmel and the Wrecking Ball” in reference to the song… (the Bruce Springsteen version).
What’s the first song you remember playing onstage? Feel free to elaborate if there is a story around it.
Lesleigh and I first performed “The Leaves That Are Green” by Simon and Garfunkel at an open-mic in 2007. She and I had sung together in choir and had recently started seeing each other. We became best friends and eventually got married. Our music has always been something that we have in common, work together on, and have mutual interest in.
You absolutely cannot perform without…
1) Water. You have to stay hydrated when rocking the masses.
2) A trusty roll of Gorilla Tape (duct tape).
Do you have any pre-show rituals before you take the stage?
As a band we like to do a serious huddle where we talk about the show, and express that we trust one another. We usually follow this by putting our hands in the middle of the circle and saying something really corny to lighten the mood… Something along the lines of a whispered, “1, 2, 3, Music.” Or, “Uno, dos, tres, catorce.”
What artists made you want to play music?
Tony: Bob Dylan made me want to be able to write and play my own songs, Kurt Cobain made me aware of left-handed guitars (which made guitar playing possible for me), Ben Folds rocked the piano harder than I’d ever seen while maintaining a certain sweetness and clever lyricism, and Bruce Springsteen speaks to my soul.
Lesleigh: Ben Folds – Early on, I spent a lot of time learning his songs by ear at the piano. I wanted to be able to play like him. I love to sing Iron & Wine and Counting Crows songs with Tony. Their styles and harmonies inspire my musical thinking to this day.
If you could open for any band on tour this summer, who would it be and why?
Avett Brothers, Counting Crows, Jeff Tweedy, Ben Folds… The list goes on.
Sharing the stage and being on the road with a band we admire would be a dream come true.
What is you band’s biggest band ambition?
Our biggest ambition is not solely to become famous, but to REMAIN famous based on the craft of our songwriting, the depth of our story, the passion and precision in our live show, and how intensely we care for our fans.
You just found out your record got to Number One. What’s the first thing you do?
We’d have to thank people – We’d call family and friends, bust out some libations, organize a mega-tour to support the release…Of course, all the while we’d be working on our next number 1 record!
Lasly, is there anything else you want to share with us?
We’re thrilled to be a part of MABF, and to have the opportunity to share our music with you. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to compete. We look forward to seeing you in New York!