The Fill Ins Interview on MDR \,,/ 7-23-17 Sunday July 23 2017, 5:40 PM
The Fill Ins Interview on MDR \,,/ 7-23-17

Conceived in the summer of 2010 and officially debuting in 2013; The Fill Ins have strived to become the high octane rock n roll machine that you see today. From 2013 til 2016, the band stuck close to home fine tuning their live show opening for legendary acts like The Reverend Horton Heat, Koffin Kats, GBH, Total Chaos, Joe Buckyourself, and Wednesday 13. Today; the band consists of Alex Stiff on vocal and guitar, Mikey Black on lead guitar, James "Captain" Nunn on bass, and newcomer Adam Patterson on drums.

It started in the early spring of 2010 when a young Alex Stiff set out to form the greatest rock n roll band in the Southeast. After bouncing between different hardcore punk and metal bands, Alex called in a bunch of former members from the bands he played with in Roanoke VA to create a band with a distinct sound and style. Jason (singer at the time) and Alex just started writing songs with no mindset of a sound or style; if it was good music, they would play it. Some of those early songs are still played to this day, including the classic battle cry; “Shut The F**k Up” and the band’s first party anthem “Let Go”. After only 3 shows and 2 drummers later, the band imploded, causing Alex to uproot from VA to move back to his home town of Charlotte NC to start with a clean slate and a brand new band.

“The songs we were writing at this time were very elementary; simple 3 chord songs, but enough fire power to knock you on your ass. Sadly, it just wasn’t meant to be.. Besides, my heart belonged in Charlotte NC. I tried to bring one of the members with me.. He agreed at first, but in the end, it was just me.” – Alex Stiff

No time was wasted in looking for a new batch of band members to get TFI back up and running again. After a few months, bassist Shay Hooks and temporary drummer Chris Engler, with Alex taking over the role of front man and singer became the new Fill Ins. The band worked out the songs that were already written previously, and started working on new songs for a forthcoming album. The record was never recorded with this lineup, but a lot of those songs showed up on “HIPSTER KILLERS” the following year in 2014; including “Save The Rock” and “Bastard of Society”.

"I played drums for The Fill Ins while they were looking for a permanent drummer (yes, a fill in for The Fill Ins). We were a three-piece then, and I remember Shay and Alex were some of the sweetest folks I've sat behind a kit for. Don't be fooled by his laidback exterior though, Alex was born to be a frontman and songwriter, and always had a ton of new ideas each practice and challenged us to be at our best. – Chris Engler; Drummer for “Glass Lashes” (2016)

Once Chris’ time to relocate from NC to SC occurred, Alex and Shay went on the hunt for a new drummer. Eventually, a mutual agreement was made to part ways and The Fill Ins were stagnate for over a year with no real plans on bringing the band back from the dead for a 3rd time.

“After a while, we started to get discouraged. It was a nightmare to find the right guys for the task. Every member that was ever IN the band was a great fit, but that’s not counting how many people we had tried out at that point. Shay was a saint during this time, still writing with me and helping find a new drummer, though she had to leave too to pursue a career that she had been working almost all her life on. So as much as I hated to see her go, I was so happy to see that she was making a name for herself.” – Alex Stiff

Like a lot of things in life, The Fill Ins just could not be stopped. After a long period of inactivity and spending the day with long time friend and soon to be bassist Steven Touchton in early 2014, the two of them decide to get the band off the ground for one last time.
During this period of inactivity, Alex had played with local rock n roll band 21st Century Goliath while their guitarist was unable to perform for a year, so he contacted former 21CG drummer Matt McCoy to see if he was interested in playing some rock n roll again, and he agreed almost immediately. Not even 2 practices later, unknown lead guitarist and mutual friend Mikey Black joined us really took us to that next level of sound they needed.

The lineup worked hard to get show ready and they debuted The Fill Ins unannounced at The Milestone only 2 weeks later to a packed house and they were off to the races. After a lot of writing, the band went to Concord NC to record their first full length album titled “HIPSTER KILLERS” with brand new bassist, James “Captain” Nunn.

"I joined the band literally weeks after meeting Alex upon my arrival in Charlotte. I was itching to play with anybody and asked him if he knew anyone looking for a guitarist. He said that his band needed a bass player, and asked if I was interested in trying out for that. I had never played bass seriously, but I had one available and was able to follow along with what they were doing pretty easily. It was intimidating at first (recording HIPSTER KILLERS), because it was the first time I had ever recorded anything that wasn't in a basement through a laptop or anything like that, but I feel like we captured some great performances with what we had set up that weekend." - Captain Nunn

In late 2014, The Fill Ins meet up with Steve Coleman; owner and producer at Fithman Studios. They recorded a cover of the Ramones’ classic “Ignorance Is Bliss”, and decided shortly after that we would use FMS to record their following album.

“Working with Steve was like night and day for us compared to when we recorded Hipster Killers. With HK, we recorded everything live with very little overdubs. I think the only things we ever punched in was guitar solos and my vocals. Everything else was live. Working at Fithman, we had a lot more toys and room to play around with stuff. It was great!" – Alex Stiff

Once the band started working on material for their forthcoming album “5th Time’s The Charm” in 2015, they realized that this would be the first release to feature all new songs written with the current lineup; as the previous album “Hipster Killers” was written between 3 different lineups and only a hand full of those songs were written with the current lineup. So they decided to film the writing and recording process and released a “Making Of” documentary to coincide with the release of the album; giving a detailed look into their recording process and the events leading up to it.

5th Time’s The Charm” seemed to resonate with fan base and quickly made the song “Spit In My Face” an overnight favorite. The single “Spit In My Face” garnered the attention of local and regional radio stations in the USA, many internet radio shows across the globe, and even helped them land quite a few shows.

“My favorite aspect of The Fill Ins, is the live experience. There is so much energy on stage from the band rocking out and the spirit and enthusiasm of front man Stiff. You really feel like you're getting a real rock and roll show delivered with passion and conviction.” – Chris Matrin; Senior Writer / Reviewer for

The same year, The Fill Ins were asked to headline at Tremont Music Hall’s 20th Anniversary Show in the summer, and later that year’s “Final Tremont Music Hall” show in December, laying to rest The Fill Ins’ musical “home” for the past 2 years.
In June 2016, long time drummer Matt McCoy departed from the band to pursue other musical endeavors and Adam Patterson of the local hardcore band "Deadlock" joined them on drums.

“It's been great to see the band mature as his (Alex) skills have improved and as new members have joined. Go to their shows. Buy their stuff. They will rip your face off and you will love it." – Chris Engler; Drummer for “Glass Lashes

With Adam behind the kit, the band quickly got back into writing and preforming mode. After getting some new shows and some writing out of the way, the group released a digital single "Saturday Night" to help promote the new lineup. Later in 2016, The Fill Ins partnered with local record company NO PROFIT RECORDS and released a 7in vinyl of the 2nd new single "Hit The Gas".
In early 2017, The Fill Ins returned to Fithman Studios to record the follow-up to 2015's "5th Time's The Charm"; titled "The Time Is Now" featuring 6 brand new songs, plus the 2 singles from 2016 on CD for the first time. With reception for the new record being the best the band has received to date, you can assure that THE FILL INS are here to stay!

The Fill Ins (Circa 2016) Mikey, Alex, Adam, Captain Nunn (L-R)

The Fill Ins (Circa 2016) Mikey, Alex, Adam, Captain Nunn (L-R)

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