Miss May I is an American melodic metalcore band from Troy, Ohio. Formed in 2007, they signed to Rise Records in 2008 and released their debut album, Apologies Are for the Weak through the label while the members were still attending high school. The album reached 76 on the Billboard 200, No. 29 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers, and No. 66 on Top Independent Albums. The band has also had some of their material featured in big name productions; the song "Forgive and Forget" is featured on the Saw VI Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, and their song "Apologies Are for the Weak" is included in the video game Saints Row: The Third.
The band has retained the same lineup since its formation, with the only exception being bassist Ryan Neff, who left the band in 2007 and rejoined in 2009. Miss May I released their second studio album, Monument, on August 16, 2010; their third album, At Heart, on June 12, 2012; their fourth, Rise of the Lion, on April 29, 2014; and their fifth, Deathless, on August 7, 2015. On June 24, 2016, the band left Rise Records and signed with SharpTone Records.
Formation and early releases (2007–2009)
Miss May I was formed in 2007, in Troy, Ohio with the original members being Levi Benton, Justin Aufdemkampe, BJ Stead, Jerod Boyd, and Ryan Neff. Neff left in late 2007 to join Cincinnati band, Rose Funeral and was then replaced by Josh Gillespie.
In late 2007, the band released a 5-track EP titled Vows for a Massacre followed by their 2008 demo the next year, both of which were self-released. This demo contained 6 tracks, including "Architect" and "Tides", which would later on be featured in their first full-length album, Apologies Are for the Weak in 2009. It was after this release, that the band was signed onto Rise Records.
According to the website of producer Joey Sturgis' Foundation Studios, Miss May I had booked studio time in May 2010 to ostensibly record the follow-up to their debut album. According to Ryan Neffs Twitter, the new album would be sometime released in August along with a new music video.
On June 11, 2010, Levi Benton announced that there would be a track on the new album called "Colossal" and that the album would be called Monument and confirmed its release to be on August 17th of that year. The artwork for it was also later revealed, featuring the iconic MMI Lion from the cover of the band's debut. On September 2nd, 2010, Miss May I released their music video for "Relentless Chaos" Directed by Thunder Down Country. In December 2010, Miss May I then confirmed plans to be appear on Warped Tour 2011. The album peaked at 10 on the Top Hard Rock Albums chart, 15 on the Top Independent Albums chart, and 31 on the Top Rock Albums chart. The band toured with Abandon All Ships, Sleeping with Sirens and Bury Tomorrow to support the album.
The band appeared on the We Came as Romans Merchnow.com + Arkaik Clothing "I'm Alive" Tour (September - October, 2011) with Close To Home, Of Mice & Men, and Texas in July. Following the "I'm Alive" Tour, the band co-headlined the 'No Guts No Glory' tour with Pierce the Veil, Woe, Is Me, and Letlive. The band also appeared on the 2011 Scream it Like you Mean it tour with We Came as Romans, The Word Alive and This or the Apocalypse.
At Heart (2011–2013)
After finishing up touring for 2011, Miss May I entered the studio throughout the beginning of 2012 to work on a new album set for release sometime during the summer. On March 8th, 2012, the band announced that they had completed work on their new album titled At Heart and were set to release the album on May 29th 2012.
To make last minute changes (as said in an interview by Levi Benton), the band bumped back the release, to June 12th, 2012.
The band soon set out on tour with Whitechapel, After the Burial, The Plot in You, Rescued By A Sinking Ship, and Structures throughout March 2012, followed by a European tour with Parkway Drive, The Ghost Inside and Confession through April. The band also set out to tour with Whitechapel, The Ghost Inside, Within the Ruins and The Plot in You in the US during May 2012. Miss May I released (Hey Mister) on May 3rd on Rise Record's YouTube page. The band played on Warped Tour in the summer of 2012, and headlined the AP Tour in the fall. The band supported Bullet for My Valentine on their March 2013 UK tour alongside Halestorm. While also supporting Killswitch Engage for the United States Disarm the Descent tour in the Summer of 2013 with other supporting acts like Affiance, The Word Alive and Darkest Hour.
Rise of the Lion (2013–2015)
It was recently announced that they are back in the studio, working on new material for their fourth studio album, for a late 2013/early 2014 release with producer Terry Date. Levi Benton released a press statement regarding their plans for the new album,
"We don’t know a release date. We’re hoping for this year. We’re shooting really hard for this year but it might be early next year. We’re going to a really big producer this time, which we’re really excited about, and changing up the team again. We’re trying to change it every record just to see what we can do. I guess since we got a lot of acceptance on our last record, we have a more open door to doing crazier stuff. We were like dumbing it down a little bit before and now we can go full out. We’re working with Terry Date, he did Pantera, Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, the new Bring Me The Horizon record. We’re going to go 100 percent new Miss May I. We’re bringing the lion back as the art cover and we have some really cool new ideas."
As of September 14, 2013 Miss May I have finished the initial recording sessions for their coming new album with producer Terry Date at Studio X in Seattle, WA. The group expect to return to the studio in November to wrap up tracking the effort.
On November 20, 2013 the band described the sound of their forthcoming album via Metal Hammer with vocalist Levi Benton stating that "no two songs sound the same" and "...After a couple of years touring and growing, we’ve come back to writing and have been adding different influences. There’s some slower, heavier stuff, thrashier parts and no two songs sound the same. We’re doing something to challenge ourselves and our listeners but please both, too.".
On December 14, 2013 the band announced that they are looking for a fan to get a tattoo of their infamous lion design for the cover of their forthcoming album.
The band has posted three studio updates on their new album-dedicated website, www.mmiriseofthelion.com, which briefly detail the drums, guitars, and vocals for the new album. On February 25, 2014 Rise of the Lion was announced as the title of the new album. The album was released on April 29, 2014.
The band did a mini tour with For the Fallen Dreams to support the new album Rise of the Lion. They also played the entire Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival throughout the whole Summer with bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Cannibal Corpse, Trivium, Suicide Silence, Asking Alexandria, Veil of Maya, Darkest Hour, Upon A Burning Body, Body Count and Emmure.
The band recorded their fifth studio album with Joey Sturgis, who recorded the band's first two records. The album, titled Deathless, was released on August 7, 2015. The first single from Deathless, "I.H.E.", was released on June 17, 2015. Miss May I also played the entire 2015 Warped Tour, marking their third time on the tour. On July 29, 2015, the title track from Deathless was released as the second single for the album.
Miss May I supported Parkway Drive on their October 2015 Ire North American tour with Thy Art Is Murder and In Hearts Wake. They will then go on another tour with Blessthefall in February 2016 on their Drop the Gloves tour with The Plot in You, Sirens & Sailors and A War Within. The band also announced they would be returning to the UK for the first time in 2 years in May 2016, co-headlining a tour with We Came As Romans. They also announced a London date in which both bands are support for Memphis May Fire. They will also support Memphis May Fire & We Came as Romans on their Bands vs Food tour with For Today joining them as support.
It was announced on June 24, 2016 that Miss May I had left Rise Records and signed with SharpTone Records, which was co-founded by Shawn Keith and Nuclear Blast CEO Markus Staiger, along with Attila, We Came As Romans, Don Broco, Loathe, and World War Me.
Musical style and influences
Miss May I's musical style has been described as metalcore or melodic metalcore, mixing melodic death metal and thrash metal riffs with hardcore punk. Almost all of their recorded songs feature both unclean vocals, provided by the band's lead vocalist Levi Benton, and clean vocals, provided by their bassist Ryan Neff (and formerly Josh Gillepsie), in similar fashion to many other melodic metalcore bands.
The band has stated their main influences are: Metallica, Pantera, Deftones, White Zombie, As Blood Runs Black, All Shall Perish, As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, Atreyu, Underoath, All That Remains, In Flames, Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold, The Black Dahlia Murder, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Darkest Hour, Bleeding Through, Trivium, Winter Solstice, Bring Me The Horizon, Anti-Flag, Parkway Drive, and It Dies Today.
In an interview with Guitar World, the band discussed how their influences have changed over the years. Guitarist Justin Aufdemkampe said he started by covering basic blues, then moved to pop punk by covering Blink-182, and Green Day, then eventually learned lead guitar by listening to and copying his dad’s Stevie Ray Vaughan records. In the 10th grade, Justin started learning Taking Back Sunday, Underoath and Avenged Sevenfold songs. However, once he saw Atreyu at Warped Tour, his taste in music abruptly shifted. He then discovered As I Lay Dying, All That Remains and Darkest Hour, and began writing fast, aggressive originals.
According to bassist Ryan Neff, his influences are: Unearth, Deftones, Pantera, As I Lay Dying, Darkest Hour, Underoath, As Cities Burn, August Burns Red, The Bled, The Color Morale, Florence and the Machine, Marilyn Manson, A Perfect Circle, Nine Inch Nails, Oceana, Pierce the Veil, PMtoday, Saosin, and Tool. In an interview with Alternative Press, Ryan said his favorite band of all time is White Zombie.
Guitarist B.J. Stead stated "I had been playing guitar for years, but not much metal. I mostly listen to Pink Floyd and straight rock." In an interview with Alternative Press, it was said that B.J.'s favorite band is Iron Maiden.
The band has stated on their influences:
|“||Basically, any metal-core band that doesn’t have keyboards and who aren’t fake guys who just play instruments. We’re trying to be as old school as possible, as it’s been working out. So I’m happy with that.||”|
In an interview with WIDB, Levi stated on behalf of his biggest musical influences: "As I Lay Dying is definitely the biggest one that really sets Miss May I where we are. We like a lot of All That Remains, Unearth, Darkest Hour and, recently, In Flames. This is weird, because it’s not really the thing that everyone would say, but we're really interested in Five Finger Death Punch. We’ve been researching how they do everything because their story’s really cool. But As I Lay Dying and All That Remains are probably the biggest ones, along with Killswitch Engage" Levi has stated his "dream tour" would be Lamb of God, As I Lay Dying, It Dies Today, and Atreyu.
In another interview, Levi Benton stated that he tries to make inspirational music rather than angry music. Through thus, he uses his contemporary R&B influences such as Justin Timberlake, Jamie Foxx, and Usher. He also openly admits he lsitens to a lot of hip hop. His favorite artists are Dr. Dre, Yelawolf, Savage, Jay Z, and Eminem. The band has covered the song "Run This Town" by Jay Z featuring Kanye West and Rihanna for the Punk Goes Pop 3 album.
In an interview with Dayton Daily News writer Madeline Bush, when asked what they thought their music conveyed, Benton replied:
|“||"We have been asked a lot if we are a Christian band due to our lyrics. And the answer to that is no, but some of us are Christians and others are not. But myself as a Christian, I try and not put the wrong negative message out in our lyrics. Most of what we stand for is just a band that plays for the crowd to be happy, and to love what we are doing as much as we do."||”|
|2009||Apologies Are for the Weak||Rise||—||—||66||—|
|2014||Rise of the Lion||21||6||4||2|
|"—" denotes a release that did not chart.|
- Other releases
- Vows for a Massacre (self-released EP; 2007)
- Demo 2008 (self-released demo; 2008)
|2009||"Architect" (demo version)||Thunder Down Country|
|"Forgive and Forget"||Spencer Nicholson|
|"Forgive and Forget (Saw VI Soundtrack)"||Spencer Nicholson|
|2010||"Relentless Chaos"||Thunder Down Country|
|2011||"Masses of a Dying Breed"|
|"Relentless Chaos (Live)"||Cole Dabney|
|2012||"Hey Mister"||Thunder Down Country|
|"Day By Day"|
|"Ballad of a Broken Man"||Unknown|
|"You Want Me"||Unknown|
|"Hero with No Name"||Unknown|
|"Turn Back the Time"|
- 2010 Tour- Miss May I, Sleeping With Sirens, Bury Tomorrow, Abandon All Ships, The Crimson Armada
- The Tour that stole Christmas- Iwrestledabearonce, Miss May I, Inhale Exhale, Of Machines
- The Monument Tour- Miss May I, Confide, The Word Alive, Bury Tomorrow, Abandon All Ships
- The Corruption Tour- Whitechapel, Impending Doom, Miss May I, Oceano, I Declare War
- No Guts, No Glory Tour- Miss May I, Pierce the Veil, Woe is Me, The Amity Affliction, letlive
- Warped Tour 2011- A Day to Remember, Asking Alexandria, Black Veil Brides, The Devil Wears Prada, August Burns Red, The Acacia Strain, Attack Attack, I Set my Friends on Fire, Eyes set to Kill, Miss May I
- The Reckless & Relentless Tour- Asking Alexandria, Emmure, Chiodos, Miss May I, Evergreen Terrace, Lower Than Atlantis
- I Am Alive Tour- We Came as Romans, Miss May I, Of Mice & Men, Texas in July, Close to Home
- The Mosh Lives Part II- Emmure, Terror, After the Burial, Miss May I, Thick as Blood
- The Recorruptor Tour- Whitechapel, Miss May I, After the Burial, Within the Ruins, The Plot in You, Structures
- European Tour 2012- Parkway Drive, The Ghost Inside, Miss May I
- Warped Tour 2012- The Used, Of Mice and Men, Vanna, Chelsea Grin, Taking Back Sunday, All Time Low, The Ghost Inside, Senses Fail, Every Time I Die, Born of Osiris, Miss May I
- The AP Press 2012 Tour- Miss May I, The Ghost Inside, Like Moths to Flames, The Amity Affliction, Glass Cloud
- United Kingdom 2012 Headliner- Miss May I, Bleed from Within, Texas in July, Heart in Hand
- South American 2012- Asking Alexandria, Chelsea Grin, Miss May I
- The Mix n Mash Tour- Parkway Drive, Miss May I, The Wonder Years, Confession
- March 2013 UK Tour- Bullet for my Valentine, Halestorm, Miss May I
- Disarm the Descent Tour- Killswitch Engage, Miss May I, Darkest Hour, The Word Alive, Affiance
- Wrong Side of Heaven Tour- Five Finger Death Punch, Escape the Fate, Miss May I, Gemini Syndrome
- 2014 European Tour- Trivium, Killswitch Engage, Miss May I, Battlecross
- Rise of the Lion Headliner- Miss May I & For the Fallen Dreams
- Mayhem Festival- Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Trivium, Asking Alexandria, Cannibal Corpse, Body Count, Suicide Silence, Miss May I, Mushroomhead, Emmure, Veil of Maya, Darkest Hour, Ill Nino, Upon A Burning Body, Texas Hippie Coalition, Wretched, Islander, King 810, Erihma
- Frozen Flame Tour- August Burns Red, Miss May I, Northlane, Fit For A King, ERRA
- Warped Tour 2015- Asking Alexandria, I Killed the Prom Queen, Hundredth, The Amity Affliction, Silverstein, Neck Deep, Man Overboard, Attila, Escape the Fate, Blessthefall, August Burns Red, Palisades, PVRIS, Mallory Knox
- IRE United States Tour- Parkway Drive, Miss May I, Thy Art is Murder, In Hearts Wake
- Bands vs Food Tour- Memphis May Fire, We Came as Romans, Miss May I, For Today
- May 2016 UK Tour- We Came as Romans & Miss May I