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Home Arts and Culture  TURN IT DOWN: A survey of Lansing’s musical landscape
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Wednesday, June 24,2009

TURN IT DOWN: A survey of Lansing’s musical landscape

Power to the People’s

by Rich Tupica
While there are plenty of great bands in Lansing, The People’s Temple is the city’s hidden treasure. The band mixes punk rock with psychedelic blasts of reverb, topped with great, folk-inspired lyrics. The live show is dysfunctional and sometimes rowdy.

Those who care to bare witness will have a chance Sunday, June 28, at Mac’s Bar, when the band shares a bill with Milwaukee garage bands The Midwest Beat and The Gut Reactions.

While Alex Szegedy (guitar), 19, of Perry, said his band is “like the Stones on a bad meth trip,” the music could also be compared to such lesser-known classic acts as the 13th Floor Elevators, Arthur Lee & Love, or any band on the “Back From the Grave” LP, an acclaimed, primitive ‘60s garage-rock compilation.

“We’re too punk to be hippies, and we’re too hippie to be punks; we’re right in the middle,” Szegedy explained with a laugh.


The punk element does come through in the music, but more so in the band’s wild stage show. “We are juveniles playing on stage,” Szegedy said. “It’s debauchery. I never liked a boring show, so we’re energetic and put on a show. We don’t just stand around, we want people to have fun.”


While most local venues are tolerant of the band’s sometimes-destructive performances, The People’s Temple has already managed to burn at least one local bridge. “The first time we played at the Small Planet nobody showed up,” Szegedy explained. “So we got up on stage, I threw my cup at their lights, knocked over microphones and tackled George while he was playing his drums. I guess I smashed one of their drum mics. The venue asked us not to come back, which I am fine with.”


Made up of two sets of brothers, Alex and George Szegedy (drums) and William (guitar/vocals) and Spencer Young (bass/vocals), the band is often prone to onstage banter and arguments that only brothers or life-long friends could produce.



However, due to a recent string of offers from labels across the country, it’s abundantly clear there is more to The People’s Temple than just stage antics.

The band has three 7-inch vinyl records being released by three notable punk and indie labels in the near future. One of which is HoZAc Records, a Chicago-based label known for quickly selling out of each 45-rpm record it presses. “I had to change my pants after HoZac told us they were going to put out our 7-inch,” Szegedy said. “I never thought they would do it. We sent them our first demo and they liked it. It’s great. I mean, we’re just some nobodies from Lansing. The fact that we could send out some fourtrack demos I made in my basement and get them pressed on vinyl, that’s cool.”


The band members are now selfrecording their debut full length at their home studio, which features all vintage equipment, complete with eight-track reel-to-reel recorder.

“On our records, I want it to sound like it’s from the ‘60s, so when people listen to it they say, ‘Is this new or old? I don’t know,’” Szegedy said. “Everything I like is rooted in old music. I pretty much hate all new music.”



The People’s Temple


with
The Midwest Beat and The Gut Reactions 9 p.m. Sunday, June 28 Mac’s
Bar, 2700 E. Michigan Ave. Lansing $7, 18 (517) 484-6795 www.macsbar.com


Visit the band online at: www.myspace.com/thepeoplestemple10

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