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Songwriter's Monthly, April '11, #135 - Spinn

Songwriter's Monthly, April '11, #135 - Spinn

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The charming girls from Spinn offer a lively chat about writing songs, harmonizing, and lugging gear while wearing high heels!
The charming girls from Spinn offer a lively chat about writing songs, harmonizing, and lugging gear while wearing high heels!

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Published by: SongwritersMonthly on Apr 08, 2011
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Sp n in n Spinn in p S

Three Girls Walk Into A Bar . . .
Songwriter’s Monthly - April ’11, #135 http://www.scribd.com/SongwritersMonthly

Three girls walk into a bar . . . No, it’s not the beginning of some joke, it’s the beginning of a n i g h t t o r e m e m b e r. Cheryl Lynn and Stephanie Spinner along with Megan Battaglia are the two brunettes and a blonde who comprise the core of Spinn, the dynamic acoustic rock band driven by superb three-part harmonies. And, they might not walk into the bar as much as they dash in on three and a half inch heels lugging equipment. Last weekend, for instance, the girls walked into a bar for Gorilla Productions’ Battle of the Bands . . . and won! Earlier this year, the band advanced to the next level of an online competition — due to an impressive 12,000 votes! — for a $25,000 record deal with Rock X Records and a 25 city US tour! Their current album is entitled SHE WAS HEARTACHE. Songwriter’s Monthly recently engaged in an early morning, sugar-andMountain-Dew-fueled phone conversation with all three of these dazzling individuals. Even at the muchtoo-early hour, the girls’ energy, charm and sparkle was simply off the charts! Songwriter’s Monthly: Good morning, have you had your Mountain Dew yet? Stephanie: I did! I also had a doughnut, so I’m on a sugar high now! Songwriter’s Monthly - April ’11, #135

SM: Are all three of you there? Stephanie: Yes. SM: [Joking.] Great, now I have to constantly remind myself to not talk about the one I don’t like. Stephanie: Oh yeah, and how could you figure that out? Even our closest friends can’t figure out who is singing what on the album. SM: I know, that’s exactly what I mean, your voices go so well together. You and your sister [Cheryl Lynn] obviously have similar vocal qualities, but that other girl you brought in . . . Stephanie: Oh yes, the blonde, one of these things does not belong. [Laughing.] SM: Did you audition her? Was she a friend? How did you figure out she would be such a great fit? http://www.scribd.com/SongwritersMonthly

Stephanie: Actually, what happened about I manage you!” We say, “Nah, was, we went to Monmouth University that’s cool, we’ll do it ourselves for and we lived in a very small dorm — now.” Anyway, we went in to listen and our dorm only had 30 people in it. the song was not too good, but, wow! Megan lived in the room right next door she had a great voice! Cher and I were to us and Cher and I were practicing for focussing more on our songwriting at a choir thing — this was probably the that point, so we started writing songs first week of school of for Megan, but our freshman year — eventually we asked “Whenever the and one of her if she’d like to sing roommates came into three of us walk into three-part harmony our room and asked, a bar, people tend to with us. She said, “You guys sing?!” We “Yes!” were like, “Uhm, yes, think we are the obviously.” Then, she SM: How about the groupies.” said, “My roommate guys in the band, are sings, you guys gotta they pretty much come listen to one of her CDs because expendable? How did you find the she’s really shy.” We’re all pretty musicians or should I call them the shy . . . well, we were back then, but non-vocalists? now we’re not. S t e p h a n i e : O u r b a c k- u p b a n d ? SM: Yeah, I was going to say, there’s [Laughing.] They are actually maybe no way I’d consider you shy! our 4th set of bands. When we first started playing, we just had a guitarist. S t e p h a n i e : L o t s o f t h i n g s h ave Then, we added a drummer and a changed since then! So, we went in and bassist. Our guitarist left and our we listened. Megan was working with a bassist became our guitarist. Then, that little producer at that point who wound guitarist moved to Florida. Our current up being a creep . . . guitarist is one of our best friends from home and we found our drummer on SM: Unfortunately, many “producers” Craig’s List. can be creepish. Especially when they have the chance to work with young SM: Craig’s List? You girls are a little women. reckless, aren’t you? Stephanie: I know, we have found that out. SM: Managers, too. Stephanie: We don’t currently work with a manager because everybody’s like “Three girls? That’s nice . . . how Songwriter’s Monthly - April ’11, #135 Stephanie: We were a little scared because apparently one of our sister’s friends used to date the Craig’s List Killer! SM: Wonderful. Stephanie: At first, we just needed http://www.scribd.com/SongwritersMonthly

him to record the album because we didn’t have a drummer and we needed drums. We put the notice up on Craig’s List and we got a lot of offers back. He seemed like the most normal, so we listened to the music he was working on and found it was right up in our alley, so we gave him a shot.

Krauss, sweet but still a little rock, so we give her the parts that need

“Excuse me, sorry, we ARE the band!”
substance behind it — and Meg has a little country vibe. We kind of write the parts the way that that person would want to sing. Sometimes it doesn’t work and we wind up having to switch it up, but none of us cares, you know, we have no jealousy, no egos, we just want the songs to sound good. SM: Do you experiment with harmonies or do they just come naturally? Stephanie: Harmonies are kind of our thing, they just sort of appear in our heads. Cher and I have been singing in the church choir since we could talk. When we were sophomores and juniors, we were singing with the adult choir and we were making up the harmonies for them because . . . well, for other people, it just doesn’t seem to come as naturally for them. SM: Speaking of Cheryl, can I talk to http://www.scribd.com/SongwritersMonthly

SM: How do you come up with your vocal parts? Stephanie: Between the three of us, none of us cares how much we sing or what parts we sing: whoever sounds best, they sing that part. When we’re writing, we do have somebody in mind for parts because we all have different styles: I’m a little bit more rock, Cher’s voice is just completely dependable — kind of like Natalie Merchant/Alison Songwriter’s Monthly - April ’11, #135

her for a little bit? Stephanie: Sure. Let me pass the phone to her so she can answer some of your questions. Cheryl: Hello? SM: Are you sure you really traded the phone? This could be the same person. Cheryl: [Laughing.] SM: Would you agree with everything

that Stephanie has said so far? Cheryl: Oh yeah, definitely, she hit it pretty much on the head. SM: How about the actual songwriting, how does that go? Does one of you have an idea and the other follow along? Cheryl: Actually, that IS the way it goes. We just will have . . Oh, Applebees is calling [Note: All three girls currently work at Applebees to pay

“Harmonies are kind of our thing.”

Songwriter’s Monthly - April ’11, #135


the bills.] . . . let me reject this . . okay, call rejected. SM: By the way, you’ve just been fired. Cheryl: [Laughing.] Steph is going to call them back on the other phone,

Cheryl: You didn’t? SM: Now you’re hearing voices in your head? We’re they at least in harmony? Cheryl: [Laughing.] Anyway, that’s how it goes, we just try to bring whatever idea we have and then we work it out together. It can be really hard to figure out what you want to say and then write it so that it rhymes and it makes lyrical sense, but that’s where we come together best. SM: “High Road” is probably the most lyrically sophisticated song on the album. There are a lot of catchy images and wordplay in that song. I like the line, “Staring down a long dark alley somewhere between Stubborn Street and Are You Crazy Avenue.”

“We’re all bartenders, so we get to hear a lot of woes of the world.”
sorry. Now, what was I saying before I was so rudely interrupted? S M : We w e r e t a l k i n g a b o u t t h e songwriting . . . Cheryl: Oh, yeah . . . we tend to write about people that we know, people we’ve seen and stories we’ve heard. We’re all bartenders, so we get to hear a lot of woes of the world. We try to write so people feel like we are talking directly to them . . . and a lot of times we are, but they don’t know it. One of us will get an idea for a song like, say, “High Road” which is about trying to keep your mouth shut even though you think that you’re right — sometimes it’s not about the fight, it’s about the relationship being more important than getting your way. That was actually Steph’s idea, but she was busy — I think we were at work — so I sat down in the back to try and figure it out. I worked out a chorus and then we came back together to work on . . . Hmmm? What did you say? SM: I didn’t say anything. Songwriter’s Monthly - April ’11, #135

“We try to write so people feel like we are talking directly to them.”
Cheryl: It’s funny that you said that because that’s what we named our publishing company: Stubborn Street Publishing. That really sums us up! The three of us are really personable, we’re people pleasers, we like everybody to be having a great time at all times! We like everybody to look at us and see these nice, sweet girls . . . but we are as stubborn as hell! We have our own ideas about love and life and they come through at the most inconvenient of times. SM: But that’s good for your art. http://www.scribd.com/SongwritersMonthly

Cheryl: Yeah, let’s go with that, it’s really good for our art.

“We’re people pleasers, we like everybody to be having a great time at all times!”
SM: Speaking of people pleasers, I’m betting that at a live show, “Bottom of the Bottle” is the song that everybody waits for. Your encore, maybe?

Cheryl: Actually, we throw it in the middle of the set so anybody who doesn’t know us or isn’t listening to us then they listen. It’s like Lady Gaga taking off her clothes. “Bottom of the Bottle” is when everybody starts drinking. It’s our favorite part of the set because that’s when everybody brings us shots of tequila . . . and we always accept gifts in the form of tequila. [Laughing.] SM: Is there anything else you’d care to confess before I talk to Megan? Cheryl: Uhm, no, I could pass you on

Songwriter’s Monthly - April ’11, #135


to blondie. It was nice chatting with you.

Megan: Sometimes they have said to me, “Did you notice this song might be about you?” In the beginning of college, Megan: Hello [mumbled], I’m eating a I wasn’t around as much. I was dating blueberry muffin. this guy and it wasn’t “I don’t know what e x a c t l y t h e b e s t SM: What is it that relationship, but it was it is, but once the my first one and, hey, makes this situation click for you? Why are I learned a lot . . . but three of us get these two girls so we got some songs together, it’s like out of it! We draw a special to you? lot from each other in ‘click,’ and then Megan: They ARE that sense. we’re one little s p e c i a l ! Yo u k n o w what, not to sound all SM: So, the three of piece, there’s no sappy and stuff, but you are pretty tight longer three honestly, I wouldn’t be together? where I am without separate people.” them. I’ve always Megan: It’s weird, it’s loved to sing, my parents knew it, my kind of like once we’re together, we’re closest friends knew it, but I was never this one entity. I mean, obviously we all a performer, I never had the guts to do have our own separate personalities it . . . till I met them. They are the ones and little quirks, but the reason we got who forced it out of me, they brought the name for the band is because I me out. The first time I ever sang in don’t think anyone in college knew my front of people was because they pulled real last name, so I became Megan me on stage. I would not see myself as Spinner. Then it became Spinn. I don’t a solo artist, I could never do it. Being know what it is, but once the three of with them gives me the confidence to us get together, it’s like “click,” and get up there on stage . . . Sh*t, I still then we’re one little piece, there’s no need a shot of tequila just to go up with longer three separate people. As the them! Do you think you’re getting me band, we’re definitely a unit. We always up there by myself?! Hell no! It clicks say, “We come as a package deal, if you w i t h m e a s a p e r s o n , t o o . O u r don’t like one, then you’re not getting personalities are very similar. That guy any.” who was writing for me when I met them, I felt stupid singing his songs, SM: Do you have a stage persona that’s they weren’t me. I’ve never felt that different from who you are offstage? way with Steph and Cher, the songs they write, I can feel them and I can Megan: I think I’m kind of the same sing them. onstage . . . Maybe I get a little bit sillier? My stage persona is probably SM: Have you all been in similar life “Tequila Megan,” Megan times two. situations? [Laughing.] Songwriter’s Monthly April Songwriter’s Monthly - - Feb.’11, #135 http://www.scribd.com/SongwritersMonthly

SM: You always hear about guys being in bands to meet girls, do you find it’s easier to meet guys because you’re in a band? Megan: You know what, every once in a while, we’ll catch someone and we’re like, “That guy is sooo watching us sing!” Then, he’ll come up to us afterward and it’s always really nice because I think they are genuinely impressed. Whenever the three of us walk into a bar, people tend to think we are the groupies, you know, “Check out these girls in their heels bringing in a piano!” Or when we are walking in, we always get those people who are like, “Ten dollars,” and we’re like, “Excuse me, sorry, we ARE the band!” Actually, I would never say it like that . . . well, maybe one day? SM: But it’s gotta feel pretty good after a show when everyone is coming up to you and complimenting you after initially thinking you were just the groupies. Megan: Yeah, it does. Would you like me to hand you back to Stephanie? SM: Sure. Stephanie: Hello. SM: Back to the first one . . . or are you the fourth, I can’t tell. Stephanie: No, I’m the first. SM: Is there anything I might have missed about the three of you? Stephanie: I don’t know did anyone Songwriter’s Monthly - April ’11, #135

tell you about our perfection of running in heels? We can lug equipment and run pretty flawlessly in heels. SM: How high? Stephanie: Three and a half inch, but Megan can do four . . . Oh, oh, oh! I forgot, Megan can fit in our keyboard case! These things are pretty important, you really need to know them to get how we work as a band. SM: Thanks for sharing those vital bits of information. It’s been great talking to you. Stephanie: You too! Okay guys, time to say goodbye. All: Byeeee! For more information on these three fun and extremely talented young women, visit: http://www.myspace.com/spinn3.

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