Singer-guitarist Dan Miraldi isn't exaggerating when he says he has a wide range of musical interests. At one moment, he's talking about how inspirational it was to see Paul McCartney play Gund Arena and the next he's rhapsodizing about a particularly powerful White Stripes show he witnessed at the Agora Theatre. And that's not to mention his love for emo act Fall Out Boy and folk icon Bob Dylan.
All those influences mingle together nicely on his latest effort, Rock N Roll Band!, a terrific five-song EP that adroitly veers from the pure power-pop sound of "You've Got to Hurry" to the snappy, retro-leaning vibe of "Give & Take," all the while establishing Miraldi as an up-and-coming act on the local scene.
"I started out listening to Elvis when I was 8 years old. Elvis and the Beatles were what I listened to during elementary school. I still love them both," says the 25-year-old. "Then, I got into the Rolling Stones and Green Day and the White Stripes in high school. I also like Motown and indie rock. I'm just mixing all those things together, and I don't know exactly what will come out."
If that means it's impossible to classify Miraldi's music, then so be it. Miraldi, a straight-laced, clean-cut guy who looks as if he could be a cast member on the TV show Glee, says a common theme links his varied musical impulses.
"I feel like, overall, the music always sounds joyful," says Miraldi, who plays the Grog Shop on Feb. 12. "People pick up on that, and if they enjoy the joyfulness of the music, they'll like the songs, even if they like some songs better than others."
Miraldi's history as a musician is just as eclectic as his tastes. He began playing pop-punk with Exit Suburbia, a band he formed while he was a senior at Avon High School. By his sophomore year at the College of Wooster, that act dissolved, and he formed The Cherry Flavored Elevator, a group he says was "much more pop influenced."
When he finished college, Miraldi started yet another project, but this time he simply deemed it a solo project, issuing his solo debut, Thirsty, in 2009 and quickly following it up with two EPs, 2010's Tease and the aforementioned 2011 effort Rock N Roll Band! The Tease EP yielded the track, "The Holy Roller Stone Revival," a finalist for "Best Rock Song" in the international John Lennon Songwriting Competition. Although the track didn't win, it did place in the top five, giving Miraldi the motivation to keep honing his songwriting skills.
"I have all the songs written for my next album, and the band is slowly starting to work them into the live set," he says, adding that he's hoping to put together a summer tour. "I think it will have a big sound. But it's not going to be totally, radically different. It won't be like I went all bluegrass or metal."