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Metalcore band Miss May I finds its sensitive side
Miss May I will perform Saturday at Knotfest, a three-day camping and heavy music festival at San Manuel Amphitheater in Devore. TRAVIS SHINN COURTESY OF TRAVIS SHINN

Metalcore band Miss May I finds its sensitive side

They look like what you would expect metalcore band members to look like – five young guys with tattoos and a lead vocalist with long wild hair. But if you listen, Miss May I’s lyrics share relatable stories about coping with the loss of a loved one and bullying.

Miss May I tapped inspiration from fan mail into its music for “Rise Of The Lion,” the band’s fourth album, which was released in April.

“It made it a lot more difficult for me, personally, to write the lyrics because I had to put myself in someone else’s shoes,” Ryan Neff, bassist of Miss May I, said in a recent telephone interview.”

Originally from Troy, Ohio, Miss May I is now touring for its new release. The band will perform at Knotfest, a three-day camping and heavy music festival at San Manuel Amphitheater in Devore. The festival is this weekend, and Miss May I will perform Saturday.

Iowa-based metal band Slipknot created Knotfest and will headline Saturday and Sunday night ahead of some of heavy metal’s biggest names, including Five Finger Death Punch, Danzig and Anthrax.

“I’m personally stoked to see Slipknot,” Neff said. “I’ve never seen them before.”

Even though the band has been making music for years, there are times when the members feel like they’re just starting out.

“It’s almost like it’s our first album,” Neff said. “It wasn’t until the end of the third record cycle and the beginning of the fourth record that we got the opportunity to do shows like we’re doing now, where we get to do the big metal festival and support bands like Killswitch Engage and Five Finger Death Punch.”

He said when Miss May I started playing for the festival circuit, it still played for loyal fans but also for people who did not know who they were.

“It pretty much felt like it did when we started in 2009, when we started touring, because instead of it being a vast majority of the crowd knew who we were – which is what we had become used to – it was a vast majority of the crowd was hearing about us for the first time,” Neff said.

There likely will be a mix of both at Knotfest.

Miss May I’s growth as a band has produced some crowd-pleasing favorites. Neff said one of the songs off the new album, “Gone,” gets a great reaction from the crowd when the band performs live.

His personal favorite song to play live is “Hero With No Name,” also from “Rise Of The Lion.” Neff said it is “by far the most ear-catching song” and the heaviest on the record, and the band often dedicates it to people who have served in the military.

Miss May I will be overseas next month in Japan for another Knotfest stop.

“The festival fly-in is a new experience for us,” Neff said.

He said hopes to grab a good bowl of ramen even though they will be in Japan for only 36 hours.

“When you get to play all those small bar shows and then all of a sudden you just throw one giant festival in the middle (of the tour), it makes it that much more exciting to get there,” Neff said.

IF YOU GO

When: Friday-Sunday; Miss May I performs at 12:50 p.m. Saturday

Where: San Manuel Amphitheater, 2575 Glen Helen Parkway, San Bernardino

Admission: $24-$193, before fees

Information: 909-880-6500, knotfest.com

Check out the story on The Press Enterprise http://www.pe.com/articles/miss-752493-band-neff.html

About Sydney Lawson

Sydney Lawson's passion for television began after college when she was a national spokesperson for the Got Milk? Campaign and she hopes to have a career in broadcast journalism covering features and entertainment.

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