The Overnightscape Underground

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Sunday, February 2, 2020

Gunkcast 57 – Humming Tunes On The Deck As The Ship Lay In Tatters: The Menthol Story (An Interview With Balthazar de Ley) (February 2020)

1:33:28 – Join Smidge as he brings in 2020 for Gunkcast with another all-out music extravaganza! Fot this one he meets with very special guest Balthazar de Ley in the studio. Balthazar was the frontman for (as some have referred to them) the greatest band you’ve never heard! Menthol came from the humble origins of a college town in Champaign-Urbana, IL. Originally know as Mother, they were part of the wave of bands on the scene following the explosion of grunge… when the likes Indie Rock, punk, & shoegaze all were finding a home together under the umbrella of “Alt Rock.” Balthazar relates a fascinating tale of how the very unlikely chance that his band’s demo ended up on a record label executive’s desk in LA changed everything for the band. Suddenly Menthol found themselves thrust into the spotlight! Signed to a major label they released their big budget debut LP as Menthol and were off on a whirlwind tour for a few years (supporting some big name bands from that era)! Then came time for their follow-up LP, and Menthol (who were by then evolving as a band) went into the studio and fully finished an album inspired largely by a retro 80’s New Wave sound. Hear the unbelievable account of what happened next. We don’t want to give away too much here… so you will just have to listen!

This episode is packed with many cool & interesting tales of what Balthazar encountered on his music journey. From taking music lessons from one of the members of REO Speedwagon in his youth, to playing bass in the band Hum, developing crazy guitar tunings as his signature sound, playing at the legendary CBGB’s in NYC and running into a big-name actor in quite the unlikely spot in the famous punk bar, & working for Billy Corgan to maintain the studio equipment that the Smashing Pumpkins were doing their best to destroy! And just how could a series of bizarre events & Courtney Love have had an impact on how things played out for Menthol in the end? Yes, you will just have to tune-in to this episode for all these details & much more!

Balthazar later became a sound engineer, played in another band called La Scala, was a studio repair tech, and presently designs and builds custom guitar amps with his Chicago-based biz called Balthazar Audio Systems. Also, the BIG news here is that Menthol are reuniting on May 24th this year for a reunion show! To find more on Menthol online you can find their music on Discogs, Amazon, & iTunes. Also check out a Facebook Page as well as and another really cool podcast a guy named Marc with a C did several years ago! Cheers!

Also, please share the love and listen to some of our favorite podcasts at: Onsug, Static Radio, InsignificastThe Hustle, Rock Solid, The Not New Review, & The Real Congregation.

License for this track: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License ( Attribution: by Smidge Kurdlebaum – more info at or

Released February 2020 on The Overnightscape Underground (, an Internet talk radio channel focusing on a freeform monologue style, with diverse and fascinating hosts.

posted by Gunkcast at 11:12 am filed in Feb20,GunkCast  

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