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Me Like Bees: a Q&A with The Deli KC's 2013 Readers' Choice Winner

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)
Me Like Bees is the winner of The Deli KC’s 2013 Readers’ Poll! The Joplin band has been making waves in the Midwest for a few years now, and has more recently found success by taking home the award for the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands competition, earning them a coveted spot on Warped Tour and a three-song EP produced by Goldfinger’s John Feldmann. The four-piece group’s strongly developed indie rock sound draws comparisons to bands like The White Stripes and Modest Mouse, but Me Like Bees has cultivated its own melodic, quirky, upbeat style to stand on a national stage. We had a chance to talk with frontman Luke Sheafer and find out a little more about the band.
The Deli: Down and dirty: 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?
Luke Sheafer: Sex and drugs in the trunk of Bill Murray's '87 Corsica.
A bagel with strawberry cream cheese in a world of doughnut holes.
Down and dirty? Up and clean! That’s two sentences. Three now. Four...
The Deli: Give us some background on the band.
Sheafer: We've been a band with our current and most active lineup for about three years. There isn't a cohesive single event to attribute to our coming together, as each of our members came in years apart from each other. Pete started playing with a couple guys, Luke came in a couple of years later, Tim a year and a half further down the road, then finally Nick about two years after that. We're sort of a hodgepodge. But we've been with our current lineup for almost two years now, and we are very comfortable with each other in a musical, family-friendly, completely innuendo-less sort of way.
The Deli: You guys hail from Joplin. How have you been able to find success outside of there, obviously being a bigger name in the KC area and also beyond?
Sheafer: We've put our nose to the grindstone. For example, taking gigs on a Tuesday night four hours away just to get our foot in the door of a venue. We pride ourselves on putting out a good product both in our recordings and on stage and we try to make the most of every good opportunity that's been given us. We try to make our social media more about entertainment, rather than promotion, and gradually all these elements combined have worked for fostering a following in the surrounding markets (Also, we totes rawk soooo hard fo shoze).
The Deli: What would you say have been your biggest accomplishments as a band?
Sheafer: Aside from being the reader’s choice for best emerging band of 2013 by your readership, most recently we had the opportunity to play with three quality bands in the finals of this year’s Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands, and we were fortunate to be selected as the winner. Last year we released our first full-length album entitled The Ides, and we went on a Midwest/East Coast tour with Never Shout Never last winter.
The Deli: What do you have coming up?
Sheafer: We are playing Middle of the Map Fest this year, and also Midcoast Takeover in Austin! But before all that we have a show at The Riot Room in Kansas City on the 28th that we’re excited to play. Two of us are from Kansas City originally, so we’re always amped to play in front of family and friends.
The Deli: Tell us a little bit about the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands competition you recently won.
Sheafer: The Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands is put on by Ernie Ball Strings every year. 25,000 bands entered this year for a chance to play on select dates of Vans Warped Tour. Four finalists receive the chance to play at a showcase in Hollywood for a grand prize of $15,000 to spend at Guitar Center, two weeks on Warped Tour, and an EP with producer John Feldmann. We were the winner this year. I look forward to playing shows in the blazing heat and making connections on Warped Tour. I feel like it’s basically going to be living out the Hunger Games for a couple of weeks.
The Deli: What does supporting local music mean to you?
Sheafer: It means building a community, and a home for local talent. We have found a home in several cities through others supporting us and we wouldn’t be in the position we are now without the support of our friends in Joplin and Kansas City.
The Deli: Who are your favorite local musicians right now?
Sheafer: This is a tough question because we play with and are friends with a ton of quality musicians. With that disclaimer out of the way, my favorite local band is called The Travel Guide out of Wichita. Very cool sound. You should look them up if you haven’t already. In Kansas City, it’s Not A Planet and Clairaudients. I was more recently introduced to Palace. They’re fantastic, and I’m hoping to see them live sooner rather than later. They remind me of another band I love out of St. Louis called Humdrum. Joplin favorites: Third Party, Carter Hulsey, The Too’s, and Caleb Denison.
The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?
Sheafer: Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, and Arcade Fire.
The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy concert bill to play on?
Sheafer: My ultimate fantasy concert bill would be opening up for something like Jay-Z and Linkin Park in some crazy mash-up scenario, but there’s no way they would ever do that because it doesn’t really make any damn sense.
The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why? 
Sheafer: Jack White, Win Butler, Isaac Brock, and a two-headed monster consisting of Andy Hull and Jesse Lacy. I picked these because they have had the most influence on me as a musician and lyricist.
The Deli: Where can we find you on the web?
The Deli: What other goals does Me Like Bees have for 2014?
Sheafer: Continue to improve our live show.
The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for the Deli audience?
Sheafer: You gotta know when to hold ‘em… (try not singing the rest of that classic in your head for the next hour!
Me Like Bees is:
Luke Sheafer – vocals, guitar
Pete Burton – guitar, vocals
Nick Bynum – bass, vocals
Timothy Cote – drums, synths, vocals
You can check out Me Like Bees next set in Kansas City on Friday, February 28, at The Riot Room. They’ll be playing with Not A Planet and The Electric Lungs. Facebook event page. They will also be playing at Middle of the Map Fest on Saturday, April 5.
--Michelle Bacon
Michelle Bacon is editor of The Deli KC and plays bass in The Philistines and Dolls on Fire, and drums in Drew Black & Dirty Electric.

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