Close Calls and Near Misses with Crash Midnight

Words by Bill Romba
Photo by Hunter Nolan

When you listen to music on the radio today, it can be hard to distinguish one pop hit from the next. With stations playing artists like Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift and Wiz Khalifa, fans of rock music may encounter frustration finding something to listen to outside of classic rock radio and a few modern punk groups.

I was a part of this group until I was introduced to the hard rock style of Crash Midnight. Referring to themselves as “the James Dean of bands,” Shaun Soho and Bo and Alex Donaldson met in Boston and have been trying to resurrect the classic rock style that made groups like Aerosmith and Guns N’ Roses famous, and fuse it with a modern flavor.

Crash Midnight’s latest single “151” off their debut album Lost in the City has also become a radio smash after hitting the airwaves this past February. For those of us who once thought that bands with powerful vocals, driving backbeats and screaming guitars were fading away, I’m here to tell you this is not the case. Crash Midnight is one band leading the charge.

The band took some time to answer a few questions about where they came from, and where they are headed next.

What bands/artists influenced your sound/style?

SOHO: You can hear that we’re into the classic hard blues-rock guys like Aerosmith, Guns [N’ Roses] and The Stones. We always wanted to be a band along those lines, but what really makes our sound is the more classic punk influences like The New York Dolls, Iggy Pop, Hanoi Rocks, and The Dead Boys. We come at rock n’ roll from a more punk angle in our subject matter and delivery

BO: I was always very much into classic punk stuff like the Clash and really loved Paul Simonon’s style. I think that they were very good at melding all sorts of older, vintage rock ‘n’ roll with a modern style, and we try to do the same.

ALEX: When I was a teenager I played in a punk rock band called The Ken Starr Report. The great thing about punk music is you can be an early teen and play a decent show. It’s all about energy. Obviously this band is a little more involved, but I’d like to think the energy is still there.

How did you meet? Are all of the members of the band from Boston?

SOHO: Bo and I have been playing together all our lives. Alex was moving from Columbus, Ohio to Boston at the age of 18 and dedicated himself to a rather systematic misspending of youth that few strive for and even fewer achieve. Eric grew up with Alex in Columbus and has been the missing piece we were looking for in the early days.

Your website says the band was “born out of a late night car wreck.” What exactly happened that led you to start a band?

SOHO: This band has been through a lot of things that should have killed most people. Bo’s late night driving escapades really laid the bedrock for this band’s series of close calls and near misses.

BO: I decided that it [the car accident] would make a pretty good opportunity to pitch our new band name.

Where do you draw inspiration for your songs from?

SOHO: I’ve always drawn from experiences we’ve had in this band and from the people around it. You’ve got to understand that when we first started this thing, it was five of us crammed into this little two-bedroom apartment in Boston. That place provided all the material for Lost In The City. You figure [with] five guys, plus girlfriends and friends, we had people coming and going at all hours.

BO: I also take a lot away from the work of other artists, be it an interesting book, film, whatever. I sometimes get insanely jealous after watching or reading something and thinking about how easy they [the artist] made it seem. It’s like the story of “Chinese Rock” where Dee Dee Ramone and Johnny Thunders challenged each other to write a better dope song than Lou Reed’s “Heroin.” I believe Johnny won that.

ALEX: I like to take everything from electric blues licks to punk rock jangle licks. Then that comes together with the more classic rock elements we draw from bands like Guns N’ Roses and Aerosmith, and that becomes the Crash Midnight sound.

With the release of Lost in the City, what’s next for Crash Midnight?

SOHO: We just wrapped up our debut radio single “151.” It was a real new experience for us seeing it climb the charts and get spun all over the country. We’re getting ready to launch our second radio single now, “Diamond Boulevard.” The music video is getting finished up over the next few weeks and it should be hitting radio around the end of June.

BO: I’m working on incorporating a ton of awesome live footage into the “Diamond Boulevard” video. Hopefully it will give our fans that weren’t able to make it out to see us an idea of what’s in store next time around.

ALEX: Seeing some of this footage, it really gives fans a chance to see what it’s like for us on stage and on the road. There are some great shots from backstage or the side of stage looking out into the audience. It’s going to be cool to give everyone a chance to see these shows from our perspective.

After touring with The Pretty Reckless, are there any future tour plans?

SOHO: Right now we’re working on some really cool stuff on the West Coast, [such as] a couple big profile shows. Then we’re solidifying summer tour plans. Check out for those announcements soon. | Lost In The City