Hey Monea

Hey Monea

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When Dan Monea sings, “I’ve been to church/ But I don’t pray/ and I ain’t gonna start today/ because praying ain’t no fun/ When you’re the devil’s son,” near the start of Hey Monea!’s new album Cheap Souvenirs, the piano-pounding front man isn’t being melodramatic. He means every single line. Because while Dan and his brother Nate—the Canton trio’s drummer, rounded out rhythmically by bassist Adam Orin—left the Jehovah’s Witnesses long ago, its rigid belief system is one of the reasons they pursued music so passionately in the first place.

“We came home one afternoon to an incredible purge of our record collection,” says Nate. “There were roughly 20-30 broken CDs, including Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy, Ben Folds Five’s Whatever and Ever Amen, and basically every Metallica album. Of course, forbidden fruit is always that much sweeter, so they became some of our favorite artists after that.”

Now before you get the wrong idea, Nate and Dan’s parents aren’t doing the door-to-door circuit anymore either. In fact, they’re such big supporters of the band that the pair’s father once bought a left-handed bass so he could jam with them. He didn’t get the gig, but you can’t blame him for trying. After all, he’d spent years watching the brothers sharpen their sound in the family basement from noon until night, fine-tuning it to the point where every song was starting to reflect the records he grew up with, from Elton John to the Eagles.

Which brings us to the group’s debut EP (2010’s Wine, Women and Song) and a headline-grabbing story involving face-slapping fish and cross-dressing grandmas. Between the former’s release and a lot of touring, Hey Monea! heard about Hard Rock Rising, widely billed as the world’s biggest battle of the bands. Unafraid of embarrassing themselves in the name of rock ‘n’ roll, the trio attacked every stunt thrown at them, even the one that involved snorting salt, slamming tequila, and squirting lime in their eyes. More importantly, the contest gave the group an opportunity to show what years of tireless rehearsals and van-tethered road trips gave them: the experience one needs to be able to not only impress, but floor a panel of judges that included Steven Van Zandt. No wonder why they ultimately ended up winning last year’s contest, scoring a record deal in the process. Not to mention the chance to open for Bruce Springsteen at the Hard Rock Calling Festival.

“We thought the songs would speak for themselves once people were drawn to the project,” says Dan, “and I believe they did. Our shows during that time were very highly attended, and the majority of those people have become loyal fans. I think that’s because while we have a great time and don’t take our personal lives too seriously, the music has always been the balancing voice.”

In the case of Cheap Souvenirs, that means a record that remains true to Hey Monea!’s classic-rock roots without relying too heavily on the hooks and harmonies we’ve heard a thousand times before. So while the band’s wry lyrics, bittersweet love songs and major-keyed melodies feel strangely familiar, they’re still fresh enough to resonate with audiences of all ages.

Hey Monea! is:

Dan Monea – lead vocals/guitars/piano
Nate Monea – drums, harmony vocals
Adam Orin – bass

Canton, Ohio’s Hey Monea! (pronounced “moh-nay”) is an alt-pop trio consisting of brothers Dan and Nate Monea and bassist Adam Orin. The band was signed to Hard Rock Records after their crowd-winning set opening for Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band at Hard Rock Calling 2012. The band chose Grammy-winning producer Dennis Herring (Modest Mouse, Ra Ra Riot, Counting Crows) to help them make a timlessly classic piano-based pop-rock record. The result is Cheap Souvenirs, a ten-song set of radio-ready singles reminiscent of the classic Seventies sound found in artists like Billy Joel, Jackson Browne, Billy Joel and The Eagles in their recording prime. Hey Monea!’s live show showcases their exceptional vocals and timeless songwriting. Don’t miss Hey Monea! coming your way in 2014.

Hey Monea – Adeline