Mediocre Bad Guys began in the fall of 2005 when three friends and music buffs in Mount Airy NC – drummer Les Slate, bassist Jerry Chapman, and guitarist Gary Manfredi – started jamming on some Jack Johnson tunes (because, as someone once said, they're loads of fun to play). At the time there was no plan to take the music outside of their little practice space on Market Street. Eventually, though, the small following of friends who came to hear them while enjoying a beer or two got them thinking.....why not? Soon MBG secured a few gigs at a local coffee house, attracting larger crowds and a steadier following. With Slate's vocals hinting convincingly at Johnson's without appearing to imitate, Mediocre Bad Guys were on their way.
Around 2006 the band added keyboards, as well as a desire to play some songs outside the Jack Johnson box (wonderful as that box is). Cover songs were chosen that played into the band's lineup, as well as tunes that merged well with Slate's pure vocals and the more rock-leaning vocals of Chapman. Working meticulously on the tunes, MBG sought not to just "play" others' songs but to recreate them in a style that pays homage to the original while remaining uniquely their own. Some of MBG's favorite artists to cover are: Ryan Adams, Tom Petty, Rolling Stones, Sister Hazel, and countless classics from the 60's and 70's. Where else, pray tell, can you hear The Monkees' Stepping Stone immediately followed by The Refreshments'' Banditos?
Over the years the band's lineup has evolved, with Slate and Chapman remaining at the foundation (as, any musician would argue, the rhythm section should). David Dixon was the first to join the fold on guitar, mandolin and vocals. Two others came on board soon after: Steve Lindsley on keyboard, guitar/mandolin and vocals; and Doug Davis on guitar, keyboard and vocals. Because all members have day jobs and families, the lineup may change slightly from one gig to the next. The quality of music, however, does not.
To date MBG has delighted audiences at both premier nightclubs, festivals, and private parties all across the Triad of North Carolina and beyond. They've shared the stage with the Little River Band as well as Bobby Keys, sax player for the Rolling Stones. At the same time, they've played in living rooms and in quarters so cramped that the keyboardist had to climb over the railing with a ladder. But that's okay – because when it comes to the Mediocre Bad Guys, it's always about the music. As it damn well should be.
Mediocre Bad Guys (2009)
Les Slate - Vocals & Drums
Jerry Chapman - Vocals & Bass Guitar
Dave Dixon - Guitar, Mandolin & Vocals
Steve Lindsley - Piano, Organ, Guitar/Mandolin & Vocals
Doug Davis - Guitar, Keys & Vocals