A Different Drummer
by Jaclyn Killins
The Meds’ drummer Danny Miles is quiet and relaxed when he drums. His kit is modest and his actions subtle. His posture is impeccable and he looks out from his drums with a relaxed interest.
He didn’t always play this way. “I used to be the exact opposite. The better I’ve gotten the less I do.” It was drummer Shawn Doiron who kindly pointed out how much Danny was flailing and got him to stop.
Danny grew up in a family of drummers, his parents play, his siblings play and his uncle is jazz drummer Alan Dowling of The Jive Kings. It seemed natural for him to pick up the sticks, so when the band Stride needed a drummer two years ago they banked on this pedigree and convinced him to play. Stride wasn’t exactly Danny’s style but he learned a lot and improved his chops playing with them. “I wouldn’t be half as good if I didn’t play with those monstrous bassists,” Danny says of the likes of Blain Jenkins.
In The Meds, Danny has found his musical fit. He describes their music as pop rock but points out, “it has more balls than pop.” It’s the first band he’s ever played in where he is totally on board creatively. It helps he’s teamed up with his best friend’s big brother, singer guitarist Kyle Drake. “I’ve know him since I was a fetus,” he says. Danny has also spent nearly his entire music career with bassist Brendan Hansen who he works with at Fishbones. Last summer between working, playing music and living together Danny joked the two spent 23 hours a day together.
The Meds didn’t play a lot over the summer because of work but with school keeping them grounded they will have a lot of time to concentrate on gigging and getting their new CD out. Danny and Brendan will also join regular Fishbones performer Andy Hodgins in The Iain McCarville Band, a project that will cover the music of The Beatles and Pink Floyd to name a few.
Danny admits drumming is one of about 10 priorities in his life right now. He is on full scholarship at UPEI just finishing up his degree in Social Psychology. When he is not bartending at Fishbones his focus moves to his honours thesis on one-night stands and the hookup culture. People and relationships intrigue him so much it is hard to get him to talk about drumming when he gets talking about the intricacies of human mating rituals. Working since he was 14 at Fishbones has given him a lot of background information on this topic. “I’m 21 so I party,” he admits. “I have gone [out] and drank less on purpose just to watch people.”
Danny also sings and plays guitar. During a set break at a recent show he donned the guitar and belted out some of his own stuff. He admits to an inner battle with his own songwriting. “The stuff I write is the stuff I hate listening to, emo, so I try to make it groovy.” He also sings back up for most of the Meds songs.
Danny may talk down his drumming, saying it’s only a small part of his life, but he can’t hide his passion when he says, “I like to close my eyes and hit the pockets.”