Slideshow, Interview: Michigan Rattlers at Thalia Hall Chicago

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Michigan Rattlers Rock Thalia Hall in Chicago.

CHICAGO – The Michigan Rattlers are a group of uncompromising folk-rock musicians who have captured the hearts of audiences everywhere with their timeless sound, rich, deep vocals, and memorable nostalgic performances. The band is composed of lifelong friends and deep-north natives Graham Young (guitar), Adam Reed (bass), Christian Wilder (piano), and Tony Audia (drums).

Their distinctive songwriting ability and soulful performances make the Michigan Rattlers stand out from the crowd, and their heavy-hearted folk-rock sound is infused with an aching dose of Midwestern vibes. Their debut full-length album, “Evergreen,” showcases the band’s solid songwriting chops and instrumental skills, especially in the song “No Depression.” But it’s the live shows that truly define the band’s identity, as they continue to tour relentlessly, bringing their honest songwriting and high-energy rock n’ roll to audiences all over the country.

In fact, they’ve recently toured with Larkin Poe and performed at Thalia Hall in Chicago on March 16th, 2023, where they left the crowd in awe. This four-piece band from Petoskey, Michigan is making a stand and making their way in the music world … it’s clear that the Michigan Rattlers are a band to watch.

Following their recent performance in Chicago, music reporter and photographer Jeff Doles of had the opportunity to interview Graham Young of the Michigan Rattlers, and offer a Slideshow of the band. I am intrigued by your band’s origins, particularly given your Nashville roots and the presence of ‘Michigan’ in your name. Could you shed some light on the backstory behind your band name and how it came to be associated with both Nashville and Michigan?

Graham Young: We have done some recording in Nashville over the years but other than that we have no connection to Nashville. We all grew up together in Petoskey, Michigan. We met at various stages of adolescence and started playing around town in high school … not as Michigan Rattlers, we mostly did classic rock covers and a few originals that tried to sound like the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

After high school we all went our separate ways for college. I wound up in Los Angeles and Adam [Reed] moved out there after college, and we started Michigan Rattlers in 2015. Christian [Wilder] joined in 2017 and Tony [Audia] joined at the beginning of 2019. The band has since moved back to Michigan and that’s home base for the Rattlers. To me, your music has a Bruce Springsteen/Tom Petty vibe with a nostalgia about simpler times and a fundamental mind shift to valuing the things that are important. Is Bruce an influence and what drives your music?

Young: We love Bruce and Tom, they are definitely huge influences. They both capture a certain romanticism of the past that is so powerful. I love the idea of what is versus what could have been. That’s a strong theme in a lot of our music. I am curious to know how your group has been received by audiences on tour. Has there been a noticeable response to your performances? And which song in your repertoire resonates the most with your live audiences?

Young: The tour just started, but so far so good. ‘Evergreen’ seems to get a strong audience reaction, as does ‘The Storm.’ The theme of ‘Evergreen’ is sort of lamenting on lost youth and wasted time, as well as the struggle of being able to move past certain regrets. Could you describe the band’s songwriting process and explain how you collaborate in bringing a song to its final form?

Young: Typically I’ll write a song on acoustic guitar and bring it to the guys …together we arrange it from there. I am eager to learn about your band’s plans for the future. Are there any new musical projects in the works, or perhaps some upcoming tour dates that fans can look forward to?

Young: We are in the process of recording a new album. There is no timeline for a release, but hopefully it won’t be too long. Until then we’ll be touring around the country and continuing to hone the live performance craft. We grew up playing live together long before we ever saw the inside of a recording studio.

The transcendence moments onstage are what we search for every night. Chasing those moments is what the future looks like for us.

Click “Next” and “Previous” to scan through the Michigan Rattlers slideshow or jump directly to individual photos with the captioned links below. All photos © Jeff “Doc” Doles.

  1. RATTLERS1: Michigan Rattlers Rock Thalia Hall in Chicago.
  2. RATTLERS2: Graham Young of Michigan Rattlers.
  3. RATTLERS3: Adam Reed of Michigan Rattlers.
  4. RATTLERS4: Close up of Graham Young.
  5. RATTLERS5: Fisheye Photo of Michigan Rattlers.
  6. RATTLERS6: Bringing the house down at Thalia Hall.
  7. RATTLERS7: The crowd responds to Michigan Rattlers.
  8. RATTLERS8: Hail Hail Michigan Rattlers.
  9. RATTLERS9: Michigan Rattlers Rattlin’ the Rafters.

To access more information on the Michigan Rattlers, click here. For the upcoming schedule at Chicago's Thalia Hall, click here.

Interview by: Jeff Doles
Published by: Patrick McDonald, Editor,

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