James Driscoll // Arts Contributor
The Courier sat down with COD freshman Matthew Gaudiano, keyboardist/vocalist of Marina City to talk about the band’s new EP, sold out shows and a near disastrous road trip.
Lead singer Ryan Alan used to be a back-up performer in Gaudiano’s high school band. Alan invited him to join with a newly formed group not long after meeting him. “The first band I played with just didn’t have a solid direction,” said Guadiano. “The new band had more potential.”
Marina City was much more driven, practicing regularly for shows. After an audition for a battle of the bands at Columbia College, Marina City members grabbed dinner and parked their van in a nearby facility. Afterwards, the band came back to their vehicle to find the windows smashed and much of their musical equipment stolen. To make matters worse, the band’s first show was coming up fast.
To recoup from the mess, they used online donation service Indiegogo, a site that let’s people donate to a project or group in exchange for what the party wants to give out (concert tickets, CDs, etc). The service worked well for them. They raised over $3,000 before their debut performance and were able to recuperate from the incident successfully.
This episode was minor, and sadly happens to many bands. It pales in comparison, however, to a near disastrous road trip in Texas.
The band drove 24 hours straight to play unofficially for South By Southwest Festival in Texas, they reached the venue on time, only to see themselves not on the roster of entertainment for the night. Stunned, they asked the owner of the venue to clarify the change. The proprietor told them that Marina City cancelled their performance months ago.
Turns out, the band members didn’t withdraw their names from the venue, but their booker did. At that time, their booker had a gambling addiction and he used their money on his habit without telling them. To add to the problem, the band was broke. They barely had enough money to drive to Texas and were going to use earnings from the shows to travel back home. Desperate, they made calls and sent dozens of emails asking anyone if they needed a band to play at any kind of event.
“It was scary. Everything you think is supposed to happen — everything stable just shattered…” said Guadiano of the experience.
Luckily, Amanda Palmer, who used to play with a band called Dresden Doll, told them they could open up for her at a concert nearby.
Before the band performed that night, Palmer told her fans the troubles the group faced and asked the crowd to donate money to help them get home. And thanks to some awesome Texans, the group received all the funds necessary to drive back to Chicago.
Marina City’s bad luck completely turned around after the event. Not only were they were asked to play additional shows in Texas, but the booker’s family refunded the band once they returned home. Despite struggles on the road, the band’s live shows have been successful. They debuted to a sold out show at the House of Blues last year.
“It was a real adrenaline rush seeing so many people just anxious and ready and excited to see us play,” said Guadiano.
It helps that Marina City has strong ties to their original community; fans came out in droves see the newly formed group. They have played the legendary Chicago venue a few times since then, garnering a good reputation for their live performances.
Marina City recently finished recording their second album, and while the release date is still unknown, the band intends on making notable changes to their sound. “I felt as though we had a better understanding of what we were doing the second time around… expect to be surprised.”
Marina City will be playing the Beat Kitchen in Chicago on Saturday, Nov. 30 (poster above). They may not be rockstars just yet, but they’re definitely getting acclimated to life on the road and overcoming every obstacle that stands in the way of their success.