St. Clair ShoresApril 5, 2013
Nothing can stop the rock
By Kristyne E. Demske
C & G Staff Writer
From a one-season reality show to four albums, The Muggs are making their mark on the metro Detroit music scene.
Tony DeNardo, Danny Methric and Todd Glass are a trio of southeast Michigan natives who will release their first live album, “Full Tilt,” at the Magic Bag in Ferndale on April 26.
But the road to release and a following of fans that even extends to Europe hasn’t always been smooth.
St. Clair Shores resident DeNardo, otherwise known as “Tonymuggs,” is the band’s bass player. Fans won’t see him plucking strings, though; he plays on a Fender Rhodes Piano.
DeNardo was 28 when he had a stroke on Sept. 4, 2001.
“I thought my career was over,” he said. “It changed my life.”
His entire right side was paralyzed, and he had to learn to speak again. More than a decade later, he said his right arm is non-functioning and his right hand is still paralyzed. Six months after the stroke, though, a friend suggested trying the piano as bass.
At that point, he said, Methric and DeNardo were already part of The Muggs, so he “called up Danny and asked for his blessing.”
“When you’re in a three-piece, every person has to pull their own weight,” he explained. “I gave it the old college try, and it worked out. It worked out swimmingly — so much so that, in 2004, we got picked up by a local label.”
DeNardo said he’s written a song about stroke advocacy and has given advice to others who have had a stroke at a young age.
“I’m just fortunate enough to just still be alive and still be rocking,” said DeNardo, now 40. “Life is what you make it. You can shape your own reality to what you want. I never saw myself, after the stroke, as a handicap person. We all have challenges.”
DeNardo and Methric — the guitar and lead vocals in the band, and a Ferndale resident — have been together about 10 years. Drummer Todd Glass, of Royal Oak, joined in 2009.
“We’ve done some wonderful things to represent metro Detroit,” DeNardo said. “We were on a TV show — ‘The Next Great American Band’ — in 2007. It was a lot of fun; it only lasted one season” on Fox.
The band has a blues-rock sound and puts out both CDs and vinyl albums — which are released by Bellyache Records in Ferndale.
The Muggs’ first album, “The Muggs,” was released in 2005 by Times Beach Records in Royal Oak before the label went out of business. Its second album, in 2008, was “On With the Show.” “Born Ugly” came along in 2011.
“This one is ‘Full Tilt’ and this is our first live album,” DeNardo said.
It was recorded at the Cadieux Café in Detroit, where DeNardo and Methric, also now 40, used to work as bus boys.
“Muggs fans have been asking for a live record for a long time,” said Glass, 44, the band’s drummer. “People really like The Muggs live. The records are great and live is just … a chemistry thing with people in front of you. You’re playing for the moment because you know you can’t fix it later. There’s a real excitement that happens.”
Glass plays with a number of other local bands, including Jody Roffoul.
“We’re very excited about this album because it’s pretty much a “best of” (of) our first three albums,” DeNardo said. “We’ve had, through our previous tours of Europe, we’ve really honed our live show, and so a lot of these songs you’re hearing are going to be (from the) 2012 European set.”
“I think it’s the best representation of the band, so far,” Glass agreed.
“Full Tilt” will be released April 26 at The Magic Bag in Ferndale. The album will be released as a two-disc CD set, double vinyl and digital downloads. For albums, downloads or more information, visit www.themuggs.com. For tickets to the release party, visit www.themagicbag.com.