Three Times The Rock

By Andrew Gilhooley / 411

Three San Francisco-based rock bands join forces to provide an evening’s entertainment at Monterey Live on Friday.  MiGGs, American Drag and Thriving Ivory all classify themselves as “Melodic Rock” and cite influences such as Queen, U2, Counting Crows and Coldplay.  For only $8, you can experience all three bands in the comfortable surroundings of Monterey’s newest music venue.

Headlining band MiGGs is a band that embodies the “do it yourself” ethic.  Without the backing of a record label, the band sold over 10,000 copies of its first CD, had a song featured on an episode of “The OC,” earned rave reviews in Billboard magazine and secured an endorsement from Gibson guitars.    

Founder, lead vocalist and guitarist Don Miggs has been a musician since a very early age.  Family legend has him rocking his crib rhythmically for hours on end as a baby in Long Island, NY.  His father and uncles were all musicians, so there were always instruments in the house.  The young Miggs quickly learned to play them, and by eight years old was writing his own songs.  From the start, he had a dream to put together a great rock band.

Miggs formed his first band, White Mist, at age 10.  He taught the other members how to play their instruments.  The band underwent several metamorphoses during the members’ school years, eventually changing its name to the Alliance.  During this time, Miggs played lead guitar but never sang lead vocals.  “I was afraid,” he said.  “I never really thought I had a good enough voice.”  However, shortly after the members graduated high school, the singer failed to show up for a gig.  Encouraged by his band mates, Miggs sang lead vocals that night.  At that moment, Miggs had a revelation:  “I sang, and then I realized that these are my songs.  It felt right that I should sing them too.”

The band, with Miggs as lead vocalist, soon changed its name to Aim Cryer and was playing steadily around New York.  In 1996, the band released a CD on a small label and was on the edge of a major label signing.  Unfortunately, personal issues between the band’s members caused Aim Cryer to break up.

Miggs moved to Northern California, settling first in Santa Cruz and then moving to San Francisco.  Within a week, he met Mark Baker and Jason Gianni, and the three formed a band based around Miggs’ songwriting.  The members of the band pooled together their money and recorded “Anyway,” the band’s debut, released in 2002 under the name MiGGs.  The band played gigs to promote the album at any venue it could find, from acoustic sets in cafes to rock shows at night clubs.  “Anyway” sold over 10,000 copies.

MiGGs released its follow up CD “Insomnia” in February of this year.  The album was produced by Gavin McKillop, who has worked with the Goo Goo Dolls and Barenaked Ladies.  The album has garnered lavish praise from Bay Area and online press.  All of this has encouraged Don Miggs to pursue his dream even further. “We’re not up against all the bands of the day that are going to be gone tomorrow,” he said.  “Our competition is U2, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles… the greats.  I want to leave timeless music behind me.”

First published in "411", The Salinas Californian, October 27, 2005

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