Margate Brings Punk,
Work Ethic To Desert
With Help From El Hefe From NOFX, Steve Weil, Alex Helbig and Doug Mitchell of Margate Bring New Tracks To Arizona Before European Tour
Margate April 12 At Rogue Bar, Scottsdale
Margate will be storming the beaches of Europe soon.
Margate April 12 At Rogue Bar, Scottsdale
View Margate in Scottsdale in a larger map
By Wayne Schutsky
Modern Times Magazine
April 6, 2012 — Have you ever heard the phrase "the hardest working man in show business?"
The members of Southern California rock trio Margate may force a slight change to the phrase: "the hardest working band in show business."
And while there is no empirical data to back this up, the fellas in Margate would give any band a run for their money when it comes to claiming that title. For the past couple months, Margate has hit the studio day and night as it fights to finish its newest album.
"We haven't slept in three months," said lead singer and drummer Alex Helbig. "I walked into a glass door the other day."
In addition to recording, the band has also found time to hit Southern California and Arizona this spring for a few shows. Margate will play at The Rogue Bar in Scottsdale on April 12.
Like every band struggling to make it, the members of Margate are fitting as much recording, promoting, and touring time into every week as possible.
And it just might be paying off.
After coming together in 2003, and playing music with other ventures for much longer, the guys in Margate are finally catching a break thanks to a punk rock legend.
The band, which formed in 2003, recently signed with Cyber Tracks and is hard at work on a follow up the Rock n' Roll Reserve EP it self-released earlier this year. The label, formed by NOFX guitarist Aaron Abeyta (aka El Hefe) and his wife Jennifer Abeyta, signed Margate late last year and quickly took the band under its wing.
"We have been working day and night to get this album out," said Helbig. "And it's not just us; Hefe and Jen have been there the whole time too."
The band is fighting to finish the album before it heads out on a European tour this summer with NOFX and the UK Subs. After playing to local audiences for years, Margate is ready to expose its sound to new audiences.
"It's exciting," said bassist Steve Weil. "We don't know what to expect, but we are looking forward to the opportunity to get out there."
But the band is not letting the success go to its head. Instead of jacking up album prices after its newly found success, Margate is actually giving away its catalog for free.
All of the band's previously released work is available on the website, where downloader’s can choose what price to pay.
"Everything up right now is our older stuff, and we are in the digital age where anyone can download their music on a torrent if they want to anyway," said guitarist Doug Mitchell. "If you want to donate then cool, if not, cool."
The good juju from that decision seems to be coming back around to Margate as it has found an equally benevolent record label.
Cyber Tracks is not the typical label. Instead of creating a boss-employee relationship with the bands, the Abeyta's have fostered a familial atmosphere in which the group makes all decisions. The band and the label split everything, according to the band, including work and profits.
"We have all been busting our asses to get the word out about this album," said Mitchell.
Despite being on the other side of the record label-band relationship, Hefe is about as hands on as possible, according to the band. In addition to producing the new album, he is featured on a recently released remix of the title track off of Margate's Rock n' Roll Reserve EP.
"He [Hefe] is a great producer and it's just been really cool working with him," said Mitchell.
On the new album, fans can expect to hear much of the same high-energy sound Margate exhibits on its previous self-released work. Taking inspiration from everyone from The Police to Bad Religion to early 1990s pop punk, the band has a very eclectic sound that is sometimes punk and sometimes rock—and more often lies somewhere in between.
Fans can also expect to see a unique show when Margate takes the stage. In addition to the members' rapport with one another, Helbig sings lead vocals from the drums—something the average rock patron does not see everyday.
"We come out and have a great show," said Weil. "It is always high energy with a lot of banter; we make fun of each other a lot."
Fans can expect to hear a lot of different antics—and languages—coming from the stage.
"Sometimes Alex [Helbig] will speak in Spanish and Doug and I won't be able to understand him," said Weil.
Regardless of what language they are speaking, Mitchell, Weil and Helbig seems to be getting their message across as the band is finally catching on in the rock n' roll scene. With its new album and upcoming European tour, Margate may finally be reaping the rewards of all of its hard work.
Wayne Schutsky lives in Phoenix, Ariz. Follow him @ThemanofLetters.
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