A Real-Live “Interview” With Monk & Neagle

About a week ago I emailed some questions to the Monk & Neagle boys because I wanted to do something SPESHUL to commemorate the release date of their CD. I mean, I’ve blogged about the CD at least once a week for the last two months, and it wouldn’t make much sense to abandon my obsession now that it’s finally, you know, IN STORES.

But the M&N guys were not content to do a somewhat impersonal Q&A, OH NO – and they suggested that we actually sit down and talk in person since I was going to be in my hometown for their show this past Saturday night.

I thought about it for about five seconds, said yes, and then made them promise that they would not make fun of me for my complete and utter lack of any interviewing skills whatsoever.

So what I’m saying is that I was completely professional from the get-go.

Saturday afternoon I parked around the corner from the tour buses, gathered my trusty computer and microphone (NERRRRRD!), and met Michael Neagle in person for the first time, though you’d be surprised at how comfortable you are around someone who has been playing in your car non-stop for about eight weeks running, to the point that your little boy does not know how to respond if anything different is playing and will say, “Mama! Mama! We need NICKEL NEAGLE to sing!”

Really, it’s a wonder those boys haven’t filed some sort of restraining order against me.

Oh! Here’s a tender memory for you: when Michael and I were about to walk through the theatre door, another guy was coming down the sidewalk, and Michael said, “Hey man, this is BooMama BlahBlah. BooMama, this is Shane Everett.” As we were shaking hands I realized that he was one of THE SHANES, and here is what I said:

“Hey! Good to meet I was just listening, uh, CD in car and LOVE ‘Beg’ want me sing it?”

Thank you. Thank you so much.

So for better or worse, this is my “interview” with Trent Monk and Michael Neagle, two fabulously talented guys who love the Lord and made me laugh a whole bunch.

Also: Trent drinks diet Coke.

SCORE.

Here’s part one:

[much blathering on my part about how the theatre used to be a clothing store]

[I even used the phrase “it’s a little jewel” in regard to the theatre]

[and yet they did not flee]

Do y’all hang out when you’re not on the road?

TM: We do some – but I tend to become a hermit when I’m not on the road.

MN: I do, too.

TM: We’ll do couples’ nights where we all get together.

Do your wives ever get to come on the road with y’all?

MN: They did before – they don’t anymore. They meet us sometimes – we met in Austin a couple of weeks ago.

I bet that’s hard.

TM: It can be – but God gives you grace for what He’s called you to do. Both of our wives are very strong – they’re not wilting lilies. We’ve kind of committed now to not going for more than two weeks without spending time together. In the past we’ve been on a run for six weeks and were kind of like, “Well. Hello.” when we got home. So we see each other more often now.

Now I have a few questions from “the internets,” so I’m going to run through the list, okay?

TM: Aw, I love that.

So when did y’all first start to realize that this CD is really special? Because it is, you know. So you’re not being arrogant if you say it’s special.

MN: Aw, thank you.

Well, it’s true. It’s totally special.

TM: It was in the studio when we were recording it. We’d finish a song, and we’d be so excited about it. When we finished “The Twenty First Time,” we thought, man, the Lord really did something special with this song. And then we started working on “What Soldiers Do,” and when we got that one done, we were like, MAN.

So do y’all write as you go?

MN: “Soldiers,” definitely. It started a long time ago. Trent had a melody, and he and our producer, Ed, just knew there was something special there. Trent talked to a buddy who was in the military and was getting ready to leave for thirteen months. That’s what inspired it – and in the studio we’d write, get a version done, like it, and the next day, we’d be like, Oh, it’s gotta go. We’ve gotta change it. We can do better. That was the one that was kind of the monster in the studio. We wanted to get every word right on.

And I can honestly say that with this record, and this time in our lives, I feel the hand of the Lord on [the CD].

from Veronica: Where do you strike the balance between artistic freedom and Christian faith? Are there areas of music or lyrics you want to explore but feel limited by the Christian genre?

MN: That’s a great question.

[laughing] It wasn’t mine.

TM: Well, the natural tendency is to feel that way. And we’ve always kind of been rebels in that…we’ve always written love songs and put them on the records, we’ve always wanted to tell stories. Like “Soldiers” – it’s not a worship song, it’s a story song. We’re hoping that we’re kind of pushing the boundaries out a little bit.

Well, I think part of the reason the love songs resonate so much with women is because marriage can be such a huge part of how we live our Christian faith. But you don’t hear about [marriage] a lot in Christian music.

TM: We’ve been really blessed with our label. They’ve just been very flexible – a lot of labels would have said, “No, sorry.”

MN: I think in the beginning there definitely was a wrestling with the thought of having to maybe keep things in the box. Just naturally, for me, I was in youth ministry for five years, and there was just a tendency to try to put [an overt Christian message] on everything. Even with “Soldiers” in the studio, we wrestled with it. Our producer had an idea to take the last chorus and put a twist on it…

…to spiritualize it?

MN: Yeah. And we ended up just saying, You know what? It is what it is. It’s spiritual just like it is. It doesn’t get much more real-life and heartfelt than that.

from The Preacher’s Wife: So, the internets would like to know about your wives.

TM: Like, everything?

[laughing]

TM: Well, I met my wife at our home church.

What’s her name?

TM: Sorry. I’m, uh, a little new at this. [laughing] Her name is Micah, and she’s a registered dietician who’s going to go to med school. She’s independent – very caring, very loving, and she’s a big dreamer. No kids for us yet. Really, I just love her to death. I miss her like crazy when we’re gone and love spending time with her. She’s awesome.

So sweet….

MN: My wife’s name is Rachael – I met her at a Bible study almost nine years ago. We’ve been married eight years now, and she’s actually pregnant with our first right now.

AWWWWW.

MN: [laughing] Yeah, we’re almost eighteen weeks along.

Are you going to find out if the baby’s a boy or a girl?

MN: Yeah. We actually have a sonogram scheduled in a couple of weeks. My wife is also really independent – very well-spoken, very gifted at communicating. She was teaching school – but had just quit teaching seventh grade science when we got pregnant.

You realize that your life is about to turn upside down in every good way.

MN: I know – my heart already hurts. It’s awesome.

from Sara: What’s your least favorite thing about being on the road – besides being away from your wives?

TM: We enjoy it so much – I think that if we have a really long run without a break, too much of anything is not good. You get worn out and burned out. Sometimes that happens, and you just get physically and mentally worn down. We try to find balance with that. Otherwise, I just absolutely love it.

Do you ever forget where you are?

TM: EVERY DAY. I roll out of the bunk and ask the first person I see, “WHERE ARE WE?”

MN: It’s like Groundhog Day.

Do you get to where you can sleep on the bus?

TM & MN: OH YEAH.

MN: It’s addicting. There’s this huge fan set up at the end of the aisle, and it blows in cold air from the lounge area, and you get in your little bunk and pull the curtain while that fan blows – it’s like a cave.

TM: OH, I love it.

So after a show, how long does it typically take you to wind down?

MN: A while. On the road, we’ll finish the show around 10:30, go hang out with the audience until 11:30, tear down the merchandise booth at 12:00, call our wives – that’s usually the best conversation of the day – and then we get on the bus, and everybody’s wired.

TM: We usually watch movies, watch TV – it’s usually 3 or 4 before I go to bed.

It’s like college!

TM: It IS like college. It’s like a big dorm room.

MN: You want to be up and talk about the show and have a good time – you don’t want to be in bed while everybody else is up talking and having fun.

Yeah, ’cause you might miss something.

TM: Oh, I’m definitely that guy.

I’m that girl!

(And I’ll post part two in the morning….)

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Comments

  1. As if I couldn’t like them enough already! What great guys.

    Great interview!

    I cannot wait to see them in concert. I see a great date weekend without my children in the future!

  2. I heard 21st time last week on the radio and went inside and pre-ordered the CD, I had to have it.

    Thanks for sharing the interview.

  3. Great interview! I think you have sweet skills!

    Thanks for letting us live precariously through your fun life and meeting famous people! :)

  4. This is TOO! MUCH! FUN! :) My giveaway cd fiiiinally came (thanks oodles, S!), except that since I had them send it to my parents, I won’t get to listen to it till Thursday…. but I’m quite excited. Now I especially can’t wait to hear the “Soldier” song, since my hubby is about to head Over There for 13 months himself. Looking forward to it… uh, the cd, that is, not the deployment. ;)

  5. Honest comment here. I had never heard of them before your blog. Ahem, I am a song person and never really notice who actually sings a song. But those guys seem really nice and down to earth. I have heard 21st time on the radio and now I actually know who sings it. Tres cool!

    I LOVE this interview! Y’all are cracking me up. I can’t wait for part deux.

    I’m off to order the CD now. :-)

    Marsha

  6. Ooh, I loved reading this. My husband used to be in a band (a local one – no tour bus but we had a sweet Chevy van LOL!). I just walked down memory lane a little. Thanks for your support for Christian music, Sophie!

  7. It’s official. You are now a full fledged celebrity interviewer like Joan Rivers or something. (But a lot nicer and less obnoxious. Oh, and you have sassier pants too!)

  8. I totally would have come up with a more impressive blog ‘handle’ had I known it would have been used one day in an interview with someone, well, Famous. :)

    Lovin’ the interview…And if I weren’t going to buy their cd already, I would now. I do have to say I’m just a tad bit mad you didn’t call me from North Alabama to come be your stenographer! :))

    Lisa
    The PW

  9. oh that was very good. you sound so professional. this makes me want to hear the cd.

  10. that’s a fantastic interview! good job! how wonderful that they’re able to spend some time to connect with their fans and really feel comfortable being so open with you.

  11. loving the interview!! They seem like really great guys. I need to get this CD.

  12. Well, you sounded like a professional to me. You’ve definitely made me want this CD. . . Hey, maybe you should go into PR.

    ~Cheryl

  13. Look at ya – and Bossy knew you when…

  14. You did a great job! I enjoyed reading part one and am looking forward to #2.

  15. I didn’t know this was your hometown! My daughter and son-in-law were at that concert. She said she REALLY liked Monk & Neagle.

  16. You did such a good job! This interview (NOT “interview”) is great!!! :)

  17. Sophie the roving reporter! This is such a fun interview… I could totally see you sitting there, laughing with Nickel and Neagle. (Oh tell me you didn’t accidently call them that!) So the really big question is this: WHAT DID YOU WEAR TO THE INTERVIEW?!!!

    This blogging gig suddenly has a whole new slant…

  18. I actually haven’t heard their music, but what great guys! Now I am off to listen. Great job on the interview, Sophie! (Love the name Sophie. It rocks just as much as BooMama.)

  19. Good job BOO! You’re a fantastic interviewer!

    Jamie

  20. Nice job!! I can tell you all had fun.

    I’m glad that they didn’t change Soldiers. It has a great spiritual message to me, just as is. It’s one of my favorite songs on the CD.