Ryan Dillaha & The Miracle Men are one of those amazing bands that makes sure that everyone who comes out to see them had a excellent time. They are talented musicians who know how to entertain. When you attend one of their shows you can't help but get up and dance.
This Friday they are throwing a party at The Magic Bag in Ferndale and releasing a 45 on New Fortune Records. This release is extremely important because it is the only music that they recorded with their recently deceased friend and bass player, Michael Millman. The band made a point to release these songs in honor of Michael. It is not easy to deal with losing someone that you love, especially someone that you made music with, but the best thing we can all do is throw one hell of a party for the release.
I asked Ryan Dillaha to define what music meant to him, to talk to us about the release of the album, and to tell us a little more about himself. He is one of the most charming people that we have ever interviewed. He actually made us smile and cry in just a few paragraphs. There is no doubt that he is an infectious person with an amazing personality and a kind heart. He is someone who understands that you can't take life too seriously, sometimes you have to just throw on a hat, grab your friends, down a shot, and dance.
HID- What does music mean to you?
Ryan Dillaha- "Any intimacy I have ever experienced in my life has involved music in some way. I think it comes from my first encounters with music, which were always through my parents. They would have parties in our basement, and spin 45s all night, drink highballs, and do a lot of those old 50’s dances. I think I learned then that music is dancing with your lover and laughing and drinking with your friends. Plus, it makes corporate greed and the imminent demise of the planet easier to take."
HID- You describe your music as Detroit Americana, define that term.
Ryan Dillaha- "Musicians are asked to describe their music a lot, and as Elvis Costello once said, “Talking about music is like dancing about architecture.” I think most of us would prefer people to just listen and make up their own minds. But, since you have to entice folks to check you out, that phrase was probably an attempt to refer to many influences in few words. To me it means all the folks that came to Detroit from all corners of this country and all the musical expressions they brought. Except for techno. Fuck those dudes. I kid! I kid!"
HID- You are releasing a 45 on New Fortune Records. What made you decide to work with that label?
Ryan Dillaha- "Of all the label folks we met with, Kevin Pachla served by far the best champagne and sported the dopest gold rope chain. The choice was obvious. Also, he is a friend of mine and has helped me with other projects, and he knew Mike, so it was nice working together on getting this record made and released."
HID- Your bass player Michael Millman recently passed away. First of all, we would like to offer our condolences to all of you and all of the people who loved him. We read that these are the only songs that he ever recorded with the band. Was it important to you to make sure that they were released in his honor?
Ryan Dillaha- "Thanks very much. It was a hard loss for all of us in the band, and of course for all of his family and friends. We were—and in some ways still are—in shock. Mike was a dear friend and brother to us, and his bass playing was exceptional. Just before Mike passed away, our drummer Tim Rios left the band for a job that was demanding a great deal of his time, so I’m really glad we recorded three songs last summer to document a moment in time that turned out to be more fleeting than we all thought it would be. We had planned on just putting these songs on the next record, but now that we have a new line up, we wanted to release them to celebrate the music we made and the laughs we had with Mike. I was driving to an interview once and I was talking to Mike on the phone. I said good-bye and Mike said, “Hey wait!” I said, “What?” He said, “Don’t forget…it’s M-i-l-l-m-a-n.” At the interview I said, “I have the best bass player in the entire Detroit music scene,” because I believed that and I wanted Mike to read it in print. The quote didn't make the published interview, so I had to include it here. Mike was a real creative force on the bass. Any band in town—in virtually any genre—would have been lucky to have him. I learned a great deal from him about both playing music and being in a band. I’m glad we have these recordings to listen to. Mike was more excited that day in the studio than I had seen him at almost any other time. He was proud of the music that we made together, and that always meant a great deal to me."
HID- There is a $10 cover for the show, but it comes with a special download. Tell us about that.
Ryan Dillaha- "I forget whose idea it was, but I think it’s a good one and it wasn't mine. I got together with John Freeman and friends from Dutch Pink and Oak Bones, and someone had the idea that we should give people more for their hard earned dollars, so we’re giving four downloads at the door: one from each act on the bill."
HID- Where do you find your amazing hats?
Ryan Dillaha- "Same place Johnny Griffin got his pants: Copenhagen."
HID- What is your drink of choice and why?
Ryan Dillaha- "Captain and Coke because of the alliterative quality of the order. Also, I like cheap beer and will imbibe a small amount of Irish whiskey on special liturgical observances and holidays: any given Tuesday, for example."
HID- Your stage show is as entertaining as your music. How did you learn how to take over a room and own it so well?
Ryan Dillaha- "Thanks a lot for saying so. It’s probably due to the fact that as the youngest of three children, I had to take over the room as a child in order to get any affection whatsoever. Kidding. But, if there is one thing I learned growing up as a skinny dude downriver, it’s that you look a lot tougher with some bad motherfuckers standing beside you. So playing with Jason, Jeremy, and Jesse certainly makes it easier to command attention and set the mood in the room. The truth is, I’m not sure how whatever happens at our shows happens, but I will say that I just genuinely feel so much joy when we’re playing that I don’t think about it much at all. I try to keep my heart open at all times, and the fun we’re having on stage is usually contagious."
HID- Anything else that you would like our readers to know?
Ryan Dillaha- "I would love them to meet our new rhythm section. We have Jeremy Mackinder on the bass, and Jesse Soriano on drums. Both have twenty years experience in bands and on the road. Add our lead guitarist Jason Portier, and those three have sixty-some years experience between them. I have already learned a lot from playing and rehearsing with these three guys, and the band has a muscle, a swagger, and a soul that makes playing music with them an absolute blast. We are going to be hitting the road in late summer, and we hope to have a full release out very soon!"
Ryan Dillaha & The Miracle Men play this Friday, June 27th at The Magic Bag with special guests Dutch Pink, Oak Bones, and John Freeman. Tickets are $10 at the door, but as Ryan mentioned, this fee includes a digital download form all four bands to take home with you. Doors are at 8 p.m. and The Magic Bag is located at 22920 Woodward in Ferndale.