Bands and big egos often exist side-by-side until their dying day. Such is not the case for local rock-and-roll band Mylo, whose existence will someday end in an accumulated pile of laughter.
Lead singer and bass guitarist Donald Singleton, drummer Randy Wolfe and guitarist Max LeMay all agree that while Mylo performs unique and entertaining live shows, they have a lighthearted approach to practicing and songwriting.
“We never took it real seriously,” said LeMay. “We still don’t. We just do it for love and fun.”
The band practices every Friday in Wolfe’s basement, but not before meeting at either Bailey’s Corner Store or neighboring Ogre Brewery for beers.
Wolfe and LeMay met randomly one night at Bailey’s in mid-2016. They discovered a mutual love for hardcore metal music and also learned they’d both served in the Navy.
That very night the two played Tom Petty covers and jammed in Wolfe’s basement.
LeMay’s wife Anita eventually began the Tuesday Open Jam Nights at Bailey’s Corner Store. Each week brought in a load of musicians, including Singleton, who clicked with LeMay and Wolfe.
Their first show in November of 2016 was as a five-piece band, but their keyboardist soon quit, followed by their then-lead singer three weeks before a February show.
Singleton stepped into the lead-vocal spot and Mylo became the trio’s new name.
Since then, Mylo has played live exclusively on Whidbey Island every four to six weeks, sometimes even turning down gigs to keep from overplaying local venues.
Wolfe cited Singleton as the group’s unspoken leader, saying, “Donald’s definitely the leader of the pack, but he’s so nonchalant about stuff.”
There isn’t a musical idea they won’t try out, and all agree that if it works it works, and if it doesn’t, it might someday.
Singleton said it’s the first time out of six or seven bands he’s joined when, “nobody says, ‘no, I don’t want to play that’.”
From Bob Marley to Black Sabbath, and from Phish to The Dead Kennedy’s, no genre is off-limits.
“We’re not afraid to go hard rock, but we like melody,” said Singleton.
Although they each keep busy through the week with full-time jobs, song ideas keep coming.
“We’re still writing. We wrote a song last weekend,” said LeMay.
Singleton said it’s a rare quality for such busy people to stay so dedicated and inspired.
“They always show up with something they’ve been working on all week,” he said.
LeMay, 25, works as a marine technician for Nichols Brothers Boat Builders after being stationed in Oak Harbor during his four years in the Navy. Born into a musical family, he and his sister Molly were both named after Beatles’ songs.
“My parents are Beatles nerds,” he said with a laugh.
Wolfe, 31, hails from Granite Falls but spent five years in the Navy stationed in San Diego and later Oak Harbor for two more years.
He kept a drum set aboard his ship, shuffling it aside and finding new storage places for it when it was time for inspections or to prepare and build rockets for aircrafts.
He now refuels jets in Oak Harbor.
Singleton, 49, is the veteran musician of the group, having studied multiple woodwind instruments in his youth and now the bass guitar for the last 10 years.
“Every time I listen to a song, that’s where my mind goes, that rhythm, bass part of it,” he said.
After studying glass blowing at Virginia Commonwealth University, he headed straight to Washington state because of its rich glass-blowing reputation. While exploring Seattle, he found a free place to stay for a couple months here on Whidbey and has remained for 20 years.
He never left after his first month of meeting glassblowers, metalworkers, painters, musicians, artists, farmers, potters, chainsaw carvers, construction workers and Nichols Bros. employees. He currently works for Island Glass.
“I’ve never been anywhere in the U.S. with this concentration of such weird people,” he said with admiration.
Singleton crafted wine glasses as a wedding present for Wolfe’s marriage to his wife, Katie. LeMay served as a groomsman.
With such tight ties, it’s no wonder that each member can change the flow of their music with a single look. When one is lost, the others pick him up.
“If I get off, I turn to them and they’re always there,” said LeMay.
Wolfe agreed, admitting that he’ll send looks meant to get Donald or Max to crack up and have even more fun onstage. “We kind of pass the conversation around,” said Wolfe. “We naturally let that conversation play out.”
Mylo can be found playing at The Taproom in Bayview tonight at 8 p.m. and also June 16 at the Machine Shop in Langley.