By: Aphrodite Kotrotsios
Special to the Hellenic News of America
Popular Rock and Roll band from Thessaloniki Greece, My Excuse is now on tour in the U.S. for the second time.
Bandmates Steven Triantafillis, founder, vocals and guitar; Thodoris Arampatzis, guitar; Alex Archodis, drums; and Markos Azoudis guitar started playing music together over eight years ago in Thessaloniki, Greece. Triantafillis told HNA, “We are five different guys who grew up listening to music and came together to start playing music in order to express ourselves creatively. In Thessaloniki’s small, yet tightly knit Rock scene, we got to know one another when we were in our late teens and stuck together”. The band gained exposure by playing in various clubs and bars, and are now one of Greece’s popular modern Rock and Roll bands. They realized, however, they reached their capacity couldn’t become internationally recognized in Greece. Dedicated to their art form and selling everything they owned, My Excuse band mates decided to go on tour for the second time in the US, but this time for one full year.
On tour since last month, My Excuse has been traveling all over the US sharing their talent and looking to substantiate their existence in the modern Rock and Roll music scene. So far they have played in Austin, TX, Pensacola, FL, Jacksonville, FL, Tampa, FL, Daytona, FL, Athens, GA, Chapel Hill, NC, Charlotte, NC and Philadelphia, PA.
To Steven Triantafillis, lead singer of the band, touring in the US is like living in a movie, “We have been to the States before, but our tour wasn’t as extensive as it is this time around, and we really didn’t get a chance to go play in the South. This time, we started out in Austin, TX, and we have been moving east. We are beyond grateful for all the support we have received from people coming out to watch us play. Fans have been receptive to our music and dream and it’s a really cool feeling. We sold everything back home to come tour in the US. It has been a great experience coming here and playing our own music and getting to see parts of the US that we didn’t even know existed.”
The journey from Greece to America has been a lifetime goal. It has been something they have been trying to do for over a decade now. Their goal was to come together as a band and play Rock and Roll for a living.
“We felt like we weren’t really able to play the kind of music we wanted to play in Greece, so we worked even harder to become even better to make sure we’d be able to meet the right people to help us get to where we want to be,” said Triantafillis. It has been a very long journey for the band and difficult at times because they had to leave their families and essentially their life behind to start all over again in a country and culture that was unfamiliar to them.
“But that’s the exciting part, starting all over again, feeling like you are 18 again doing it all over again,” added Triantafillis. In Greece, the band was a house band at Limani Rock ‘n’ Roll Bar in Thessaloniki, Greece and to two other bars in Athens, Greece. But they reached a point in their career where there was no room for them to grow unless they started to play in Greek. But, that wasn’t their intention or dream. They wanted to keep their identity as an alternative Rock and Roll band that plays in English.
For Triantafillis playing in My Excuse it is heartfelt Rock and Roll, “It’s more or less how we come to terms with things and how as individuals we deal with different situations in life. The lyrics are more so based on personal relationships and how people cope with things. For example, the single “Silent Revolution” is about how we are conditioned as people to ignore certain things and what is happening around us in society, how we just sit in our little safe spot, afraid to move.”
Their journey as a band is the theme of their second album, All I’ve Become. It depicts the struggles and tireless efforts as a band, to “make it“ in America, “The title of the album is grounded in our departure and destination, we were able to leave Greece and finally receive recognition from important people here in the US and record albums and go on tour. It was a cathartic experience for us because it served as proof that what we have been striving to becoming a reality. We heard a lot of criticism from people, but that didn’t hold us back. This album is proof to us and everybody that hard work, determination and perseverance does pay off.”
The band’s favorite track is “Always Hurts the Most”. “It will be our next single, we shot the video in Greece right before we came to the states for our tour,” shared.
My Excuse’s advice for young aspiring musicians in Greece is not to give up on their dreams, “Strive for excellence, embrace your uniqueness and do not try and blend in. Try to incorporate your own sound and identity in your music.”
Everybody has an excuse for who or what he or she is. And that’s the logic behind the band’s name, My Excuse. For them, their excuse was always their music. My Excuse, as a band, hopes to keep on playing for a very long time in both the US and in Greece. That’s their ultimate goal, regardless of how much success comes along with it. They aspire to be a band that can show a different side of Greece, a new side of the Greek youth. Moreover, even in the Rock and Roll genre of music, they want to share that Greece has something to offer as well.
“Being on tour here in the US, the Greek-American community has been exceptional. There are certain key people and organizations I would like to thank for helping us out, Gregory Pappas-Pappas Post, George Boukoulas from Detroit, Matt Barrett Econopouly, John Retsios, Margarita Hatzinassiou, and Paul Kotrotsios-Hellenic News of America. Showing up to our shows and supporting us every step of the way has been a remarkable experience. It gives us strength and courage to keep on going,” shared Steven.
The group was formed by their American front man Steven Triantafillis. In 2003 they released their first self-titled album with universal music. Later on, they started working with Ron St. Germain, who has participated in many Grammy awarded projects. They first went on tour in July of 2012, playing in over 30 live performances in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Florida and Michigan. They have released several popular singles such as “Is it Over Now”, “Silent Revolution” and “All I’ve Become”. Their second album All I’ve Become was released in May 2013 and was produced by Ron St. Germain.
(L-R) Alex Archodis, Thodoris Arampatzis, Venetia Pliatsika, Aphrodite Kotrotsios, Steven Triantafillis and Markos Azoudis
Catch MY EXCUSE on the road as they continue their tour of America
April 3 – Pensacola, FL, The Grunge Bar
April 4 – Jacksonville, FL, Jack Rabbits
April 6 – Tampa, FL, Sacred Grounds Coffeehouse
April 8 – Daytona, FL, Tir na nOg Irish Pub
April 9 – Athens, GA, Flicker Bar
April 12 – Chapel Hill, NC, Cat’s Cradle
April 17 – Charlotte, NC, Style Under The Stars
April 23 – Philadelphia, PA, North Star Bar
April 28 – New York City, Love Craft
May 1 – Dover, NH, The Dover Brick House
May 5 – New York City, Bowery Electric
May 7 – Long Beach, NJ, The Brighton Bar
May 15th – The Aztec – Seaside heights, NJ
May 17th – Sadie Rene’s – New Canton, OH
June 4th – Howard’s Club – Bowling Green, OH
June 12th – Kathy’s Pub – Rochester, MN
June 13th – Kathy’s Pub – Rochester, MN
June 15/16 or 18th – Red Rooster – Aberdeen, SD
June 19th – Latitude 44 – Aberdeen, SD
June 20th – Slackers – Aberdeen, SD
June 26th – Red Room lounge – Spokane, WA
July 30th – Green Pig Pub – Salt Lake City, UT
Photo Credit: Aris Karakasidis