After 10 years in Tempe-based Mill’s End, lead singer Jeffrey Bump makes music because he loves it.
It’s an honest approach to honest songs.
“It’s energy and emotion,” Bump says. “We have the opportunity to deliver a message and art to people. It’s a very emotional, intense thing for us.”
Mill’s End performs with Roger! and Big Finish at the Rhythm Room, 1019 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, on Thursday, March 19.
“Give us a chance. We practice a lot to make sure our sound is as tight as it can be, and we put our heart into it,” Bump says.
Mill’s End formed 10 years ago when Bump was taking a break from his previous act. He was working on a solo career when he met a drummer at a party. That led to a jam session and the realization that Bump missed being in a band.
With Bump, bassist Geoff Butzine, drummer Mike Eckert and guitarist Alan Clark, Mill’s End recently released the single “A Peaceful Gathering,” an ode to the Red for Ed movement. The Red for Ed movement happened in April 2019, when teachers across the whole state walked out in record numbers for six days in protest. This forced several schools across the state to shut down because there weren’t enough teachers to run classes.
Each musician has children in school, and they believe teachers need to be paid more.
“We have a lot of friends who are teachers, and my mom was a teacher,” Bump says. “I was so touched by the way the teachers organized and wanted to make change in a positive way. We were just so blown away and we still stand by the movement. We believe they need quality pay. It just affected us.”
“A Peaceful Gathering” was a full band effort. Over the years, Bump says Mill’s End’s sound has changed lyrically and musically, with each musician’s blessing.
“Not once has a person said no when we were going to try something different,” Bump says.
“We started out as a straightforward Americana country/rock band. And as we’ve gone on, we’ve taken on different styles. We did acoustic and then heavy stuff. We decided to do different things within the song musically. We are not afraid to try something just for the heck of it.”
“A Peaceful Gathering” is one of a handful of singles Mill’s End hopes to release to adapt to the record industry norm.
“We did three albums,” Bump says. “The last several songs we have might go into a compilation. There will probably be at least one more single before another album.”
In response to the singles trend, Bump hopes fans increase their attention span.
“There’s such a long period from when you (record an album to when you) put out an album,” he says. “We found it to be very important to release music periodically. People lose attention quickly and we wanted to be present.”
As for music becoming more of a full-time experience, Bump isn’t sure.
“This is our softball. We are not expecting anything to happen, we just like to play,” he says. “We take it very seriously and do anything we can to perform, but if we’re not opening for the Stones it’s not the end of the world.”
Roger!, Big Fish and Mill’s End
Rhythm Room, 1019 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, rhythmroom.com, 7 p.m. Thursday, March 19, $10 at the door.