I was having a piano delivered to my new apartment and Donn Miggs, the frontman and founder of MIGGS called earlier than expected for our phone interview. I wasn’t ready. He was getting ready to go somewhere with his band and misjudged the time differences. I asked him to hold for one moment while I accessed my notes. He patiently obliged, offering a query on the make and model of the piano and enthusiastically giving his approval before telling me about his own (and the impressive studio set up at his home). We start off with an easy banter, taking a little about the previous albums, his solo effort and the fact that he is now a father.
MIGGS is not a new band, they are actually putting out their fifth album and their last actually looked like it would be their big break. Miggs confides that despite past disappointments, this album has “all of the potential the other ones had, but there is no reason it shouldn’t win a Grammy”. And why shouldn’t it- the legendary producer they worked with this time around has the likes of Lady Gaga, Bob Dylan and Frank Sinatra on his impressive resume. Miggs worked with fifteen-time Grammy award winner Phil Ramone to produce their fifth album 15th & Hope to be released in the September 11 via Elm City Music. Miggs and his band will be hitting the road in October alongside Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers in promotion of the album. The album’s first single, “Stars,” will be released to AAA radio stations nationwide later this month and a video for the song will be released soon.
This was a different experience for the band as they were finally allowed to tell their unabridged story. Donn Miggs reminisced that throughout his lengthy career as a vocalist, producers have always tried to get the sound they wanted out of him. He notes that he’s not complaining, this just is really the first time he has been encouraged to find his own voice and not push someone else’s agenda. He says that “Phil came in and said the same thing; he didn’t want us to change for the record label. I gave him a collection of thirty songs and he picked the twelve he wanted to do.”
The songwriting aspect of the album was almost approached as a collection of poetry, a creative storytelling hewn together to actually tell a story. Miggs was very adamant that while not all the stories are personal experiences, they are songs for the “everyman”. He is so sincere about every aspect of the process that it is hard not to catch his enthusiasm.
I broached the subject with Miggs about the possibility of playing in Philadelphia, and he quickly noted that something was in the works. He notes that “Philadelphia is a city that is tough, and not in a bad way. You better just come to play, because they can tell if you are bullshitting. I love the Philly fans.” He laughs, remembering a corner store one late night after a show in Philly where he felt such love from the fans that he bought everyone Philly cheese steaks. He pauses to ask the rest of his bandmates in the bus if they remember where. They can’t remember the name but Philadelphia left an impression on MIGGS and they can’t wait to come back.
At the interview’s close, I question whether there is a follow up album in the works. Miggs doesn’t rule it out, waxing philosophical as he confides that he realizes life is so short. Since he is here to play music that is what he is going to spend his time pursuing. “I feel like with my children I can change the world, in fact through my children I already have.” Donn Miggs is proud of the finished work and he should be; Miggs has written another story, but for the first time they get to sing it their own way.
Written By: Jenn Kelly