St. Louis outfit Middle Class Fashion dresses South Park Tavern to the nines
By Benjamin Dale
Fans of Tegan & Sara and Regina Spektor will find kindred spirits in Middle Class Fashion, a power-pop trio from St. Louis. The band is set to bring their upbeat, piano-driven sound to South Park Tavern on June 3. Dayton City Paper sat down for a one-on-one with lead singer Jenn Malzone and found out what it means to be fashionable, in a middle-class sort of way.
What’s the music scene like down in St. Louis?
I feel like it has gotten new life in the past few years. There’s a lot going on around Cherokee St. – a lot of new venues around that area, record stores, various locally owned businesses. [Jenn Malzone]
You’re in another band as well as Middle Class Fashion right?
I’m actually in two other bands: Tight Pants Syndrome and Paper Dolls. MCF started as a side project with Brad Vaughn from Paper Dolls and Brian McClelland from Tight Pants Syndrome. It’s definitely turned into a priority now. [JM]
You have a beautiful voice, reminiscent of Regina Spektor.
Thanks. I hear that a lot and it’s a huge compliment, whether or not it’s true. She’s brilliant. I love her classical and jazz background, and her ability to play with words. [JM]
What influences your own songwriting?
I grew up around lots of classical, then went the opposite way and loved anything “weird.” The mix of those two creates my sound. Plus, my mom studied piano and was an accompanist for years and my dad owns a piano gallery here in St. Louis, and they’ve influenced me too. [JM]
So music’s in the blood?
It really is, pretty far back. My great-great grandpa was an Italian opera singer in New York. He owned a bank but moonlighted under the name Fausto. [JM]
At least he was a banker with a soul.
That’s right, a good mix. [JM]
You were a psychology major in college. How does that influence you?
I learned that nothing is black and white or one-sided, making it pretty impossible to completely dislike anybody. We’re all made up of lots of good and bad. [JM]
Is it impossible to completely like somebody too then?
I suppose with that logic, maybe – unless by completely liking them you’re accepting their dark side and liking that as well. Now I’m psycho babbling … [JM]
Do you have a dark side?
I don’t sacrifice animals or anything. But everybody has a dark side. [JM]
Vampires or zombies?
They’re both just so trendy, but vampires. They’re hotter. Who wants to hang around a zombie? Ghosts are cooler than vampires and zombies, hands down. [JM]
Do you believe in ghosts?
No, but I want to be proven wrong. If I saw one I’d probably call a doctor because I’d worry I was having a hallucination. Then I’d call the Ghostbusters, of course. [JM]
St. Louis is home to Budweiser. Is everyone loyal to Bud in St. Louis?
No. I love Schlafly, a St. Louis Brewery with great beer. [JM]
What kind of beer would you drink if you were rich?
I love Delerium Tremens, also La Fin Du Monde. [JM]
If the world ended tomorrow, what would you listen to? Would you have apocalypse sex?
All this crazy rapture talk – who wouldn’t have apocalypse sex? I would listen to David Bowie or My Bloody Valentine, I think. [JM]
The word ‘hipster’ gets thrown around a lot lately in the music scene. Should the word be buried or embraced?
Why not embrace it? Even people who do things less authentically still have good intentions. They aren’t hurting anybody. [JM]
What if they get “tight pants syndrome?” Aren’t the male hipsters hurting their unborn children?
Guess that’s an occupational hazard. [JM]
If you chose to have children, what kind of parent would you want to be?
I wouldn’t force any of my opinions or beliefs on them, but I would show them all the options, like my parents did with me. [JM]
Would you insist that they dress with “middle class fashion?”
As long as they weren’t putting themselves at risk for “tight pants syndrome.” [JM]
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Still playing and writing music, adopting a relaxed understanding of life and having traveled a lot more, I hope. [JM]
Could you be content with contentment? Or does angst drive you?
It’s so much easier to write when that angst is there. But I think it’s possible to be inspired without angst, for sure. Lately my songwriting is about revisiting past situations, while not getting caught up in them again. [JM]
We look forward to seeing you play at South Park on June 3.
I can’t wait! [JM]
Middle Class Fashion will play Friday, June 3 at South Park Tavern, 1301 Wayne Ave. in Dayton. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5. Visit www.middleclassfashion.com.
Reach DCP freelance writer Benjamin Dale at BenDale@DaytonCityPaper.com.