McGuff and the Dumpster Fires
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McGuff and the Dumpster Fires

Dayton, Ohio, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Dayton, Ohio, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Alternative Rock




"McGuff and the Dumpster Fires Displays Range"

By Don Thrasher - Contributing Writer
Thursday, June 11, 2015

​The past few years has seen many changes for McGuff and the Dumpster Fires, which celebrates the release of its debut EP, “Peel It Back,” at Canal Public House in Dayton on Saturday. However, husband and wife founders, Taylor (vocals, guitar) and Emily McGuff (vocals), couldn’t be happier about the current state of its scrappy rock band.

The Dumpster Fires, rounded out by Keith Klein (bass) and Phil Doncaster (drums), sat down recently at Riverscape MetroPark in Dayton to discuss the group’s evolution.

Taylor: “We started playing together as an acoustic duo right after I was deployed from Afghanistan in 2012. We originally wanted to do a really low-key indie-folk thing with drums and bass somewhere between the Civil Wars and Wilco.”

Emily: “It landed nowhere near that.”

Part of the sonic shift is credited to original drummer Justin Ertley, who left a major imprint on the Dumpster Fires before leaving in 2014.

Taylor: “Justin was really into ska and punk. He said, ‘Here, Taylor, you need to listen to this,’ and he handed me ‘London Calling’ by the Clash. I started delving into more of their records.”

That new musical influence led to the Dumpster Fire’s eclectic sound, which is a punkish mix of alt-rock, blues, rockabilly, country and more.

Keith: “One of the cool things about playing in this band is we do so many different styles. Every song is different … ”

Taylor: “But it sounds like us. It sounds super-pretentious to say it, but we have a sound.”

Emily: “We’d get bored if we didn’t play different styles. We have to keep it fun for us, too.”

That eclecticism is on display on “Peel It Back,” which was recorded at the Darkroom by Justin Moore. Rather than an unfocused mess, the diversity is held together by Taylor’s distinctive guitar playing, the tasty vocal interplay between the two singing McGuffs and the rock solid rhythm section of Klein and Doncaster, who both joined in 2014.

Taylor: “Those guys have been a good addition to the band. Keith is the sage man in the corner. He’s been playing a lot longer than we have so he’s like, ‘Listen, my children … ’ Then Phil’s like, ‘Shut up and play.’ He’s always ready to go.”

Emily: “We all come from very different backgrounds. I have a strong country background, and Keith and Phil have indie backgrounds. We both write a lot of the songs, and then when we play it all together it transforms it and it sounds like us.” - Dayton Daily News

"McGuff and the Dumpster Fires"

On their debut EP, Peel it Back, McGuff and the Dumpster Fires restore a bit of the genre hopping alternative of 90’s alternative rock back to life. Lead by husband and wife Taylor and Emily McGuff the band dances in and out of various styles of music. Throughout the release though, the band’s sound is driven by Taylor’s guitar and the excellent dual vocal performance given by him as well as his wife.

Album opener, “Night Watchman” is a great example of this, as Emily’s vocals carry the song through a great lyrical narrative, while the backing music gives the song a feel from the pop informed ska music of the late 90’s, less the horns. The strength of this band on this song, and throughout the album, is they recognize the power the power in Emily’s voice and shape the song around that. Too often, new bands don’t have the musical knowledge to play to their strengths while they work on the details. This song, while certainly not the most original on the album, shows a strong sign of musical maturity due to their understanding of how to play to their strengths.

On the next track, “Hangin’” Taylor takes over lead vocals for what is likely the most punk influenced album on the release. A lyrical dig at an asshole boss, the song gives the band shows the band has a definite edge, one I hope they expand on. It also proves that background gang vocals, just like handclaps, can make a song instantly catchy.

The fourth track, “Ghost Town,” speaks to the band’s origins as a husband and wife acoustic duo as it is the closest thing to a ballad on the whole album. It may also be the apex of pure songwriting on the release. An ode to a town where there’s nothing left, it features some of Taylor’s best vocals and between the lyrics and guitar melody you get the definite feel this song would have gone over well on 90’s alternative radio.

The most cohesive track on the whole release is the closing track, “Tin Soldiers.” It once again finds Emily back on lead vocals while the song takes a look at the rationality of war. This is the first time you get the sense the whole band is firing on all cylinders, that is to say you get the feeling this song was written as a collective as opposed to someone bringing a near complete idea to the table and building an arrangement for the band around it.

All in all, this is a great introduction for the band. Their ability to move around within the umbrella genre of alternative rock will become more of asset as they grow as songwriters and as a band. The strength in Emily’s vocal ability holds endless possibilities as she is only going to grow more comfortable and versatile as time goes on. It will certainly be interesting to see where they go from here. - Punk News

"Define This"

By Rusty Pate
June 9, 2015

I have a theory that we are living in the post-genre age of music.

This stems partly from the fact that the only real reason to classify music was so music stores could arrange titles together to increase sales. More importantly, popular music has now morphed into a conglomeration of all styles. Call it the suburbanization of culture. The fact is a generation of artists has grown up in a world where they are equally inspired by a large range of different sounds.

And perhaps no local group distills those convergent sounds into a purposeful whole like McGuff and the Dumpster Fires.

Fronted by husband and wife duo Taylor and Emily McGuff and backed by bassist Keith Klein and drummer Phil Doncaster, the band has been honing their skills to a fine point for more than three years now. The result can be found on the new EP Peel it Back, an effort Emily says was worth the wait.

“We did some shit recordings in our basement where we tried to do it ourselves,” Emily says. “It sounded like we did it ourselves. Eventually we said we should probably get a professional one if we want to do anything with it.”

The six-song collection was recorded by Justin Moore at his Piqua home studio, Darkroom, over the course of two days. Emily was seven months pregnant at the time.

I interviewed the entire band at RiverScape MetroPark, a welcome departure from my usual 10-minute phone calls that are necessitated by most situations. Sitting around a table with them, as a large group of some sort performed very loud calisthenics just a few feet away, a strong familial vibe could not be ignored.

They light-heartedly cut up with each other, but also jump to defense when anyone gets too self-deprecating.

While a band featuring a married couple instantly brings to mind a picture of John and Yoko, nothing could be further from the truth here.

“I think it’s pretty handy because it’s easy for them to write,” Doncaster says. “They’re with each other all the time and it’s not uncommon, almost weekly or bi-weekly, that they’re like, ‘we’ve got a new song’ or at least an idea.”

The band prides itself on musical diversity. They comment that no two songs on the album are alike. In reality, some songs shift and turn on a dime several times, incorporating multiple styles and time signatures.

Their songwriting process usually begins with the McGuffs providing the framework of songs while Klein and Doncaster wrap the chords and melody in a distinct Dumpster Fire groove. Klein said despite incorporating different elements, it never feels gratuitous.

“When everything comes together, it just kind of squishes into…” Emily starts, “…its own thing,” Taylor finishes.

Everyone in the group began in school bands and choirs. Taylor initially started on saxophone and would accompany his singer/songwriter father to open mics. He initially wanted to be a jazz musician. However, after a disastrous audition for Florida State’s jazz program where he says he forgot what scales were, he enlisted in the military and moved to Dayton.

He had gotten a guitar at around age 8, but it didn’t take it up seriously until this band was formed—a fact Emily both did not know and found hilarious.

Doncaster came to the drums in a similar, albeit haphazard, way. He and some friends decided they should form a band.

“I just said ‘I call drums,’ not even having drums or playing drums,” Doncaster says. “I bought a kit and just started playing.”

He says a string of bands with varying musical styles came and went along the way, preparing him for his eventual role as a Dumpster Fire.

“Since I was in all these different bands playing different genres, it really helped out with these guys,” Doncaster says. “It’s nice to take all these experiences from other band drumming and just shove them all together and play every type of music that I like in one 45-minute set.”

Emily and Klein had more deliberate musical journeys.

Emily cites her first musical performance as karaoke. She also started in grade school band, and initially pursued a vocal minor after being accepted into Wright State’s music program. That never happened, but she did begin performing around town with James Lampe of Abertooth Lincoln.

Like Taylor, Klein has a music background in his family.

“My cousin was a semi-famous blues guitarist in Gainesville, Florida,” Klein says. “He was the go-to guy when somebody famous came into town. He opened for B.B. King, for Vanilla Ice—anyone famous.”

That’s where Klein got his first guitar. Like Doncaster, he cut his teeth in a series of bands, eventually recording an album with Days Without End.

Their different lives and musical journeys inform the music they now make. While they straddle many a different musical world, it boils down to taking simple, well-written songs and performing them with passion.

“There’s almost this folksy element,” Klein says. “It’s almost like folk music in a punk form.” - Dayton City Paper

"McGuff and the Dumpster Fires Release Wolves"

McGuff and the Dumpster Fires returned to the WYSO studios for a live set on Kaleidsocope ahead of the release of their sophomore album, Wolves. The band chatted with host Juliet Fromholt about writing and recording the album, plans for 2017 and more. - WYSO

"DIY Discovery - McGuff & The Dumpster Fires"

Most of the music I hear is sent to me by labels and publicists. But there’s nothing like getting it straight from the source. Welcome to the latest instalment of DIY Discovery, where I introduce you to artists who have sent me their music directly (and who don’t suck — that’s definitely part of the deal too). Today’s band definitely does not suck; in fact, they’ll stop you dead in your tracks. They’re so good I waited until their full disc was available so you could hear it all — because one song would not be enough. This one’s a keeper. Hear for yourself and tell me I’m wrong.

NAME: McGuff & The Dumpster Fires

HOME: Dayton, Ohio

LATEST RELEASE: Their third disc, the six-track Trip Gone Wrong

MY PITHY DESCRIPTION: Blazing a mile-wide trail through a midwestern landscape of punk, rockabilly and blues — with a freaking Valkyrie at the wheel.

SIX ADJECTIVES FOR THEIR MUSIC: Turbocharged, propulsive, dynamic, muscular, driving, gritty.

WHO THEY SOUND LIKE: Your brother’s basement band, equipped with better riffs and cooler songs — and fronted by a female vocalist whose hurricane-force pipes could destroy a brick wall. - Tinnitist

"Trip Gone Wrong"

Ohio band, McGuff and the Dumpster Fires have announced the release of their explosive third album on December 7th, entitled Trip Gone Wrong. The six-song EP features original music and collaborations with several other artists from across the region.

The band formed in 2012 out of Dayton, OH and have become a rising name in the Ohio music scene.

Led by Taylor and Emily McGuff, their shared roles as lead vocalists bring a broad range of styles to their songwriting. The EP opens with Too Pretty where a harmonica flatters to deceive before the song kicks into full gear with strong drums, melodic female vocal that soars with power, brass section and then restrained verses creating a punk/country/Americana blend that works so well!

On Bank Vault some meaty riffs and pounding drums open up a track that throttles back the guitars to distant licks with a bluesy edge as those strong as hell female vocals blend Joan Jett with Janis Joplin whereas the title track, Trip Gone Wrong blends an eclectic set of sounds from jazzy guitars to full throttle punk rock riffs, heavy metal vocals with folky vocals and changes to tempo and rhythm that keep the listener intrigued and a little on edge!

The fourth track, Brinkmanship has a spaghetti western punk feel replete with whistle introduction and marching beat supported by jangling guitars to craft an epic storytelling track that brings in the male/female duelling vocals and then Skywalker explodes into a rocking and rolling mosh pit pleaser with great hooks and melodies and, oh, those vocals!!!

The EP concludes with Yellow Brick Hole, a four-minute plus bass driven roiling and rocking track that veers into heavy metal territory with wailing vocals, power chords and serrated riffs all competing for your attention as MDF bring this one home with aplomb…great stuff!!! - Punk Online


McGuff and the Dumpster Fires:

"Trip Gone Wrong" (2018)
"WOLVES" (2016)
"Peel It Back" (2015)

GemFest charity compilation (2016)



If the Clash got together with Janis Joplin, they would all love McGuff and the Dumpster Fires... and you might like them, too!  Based in Dayton, Ohio, this foursome makes new music come to life with influences from punk, blues, rockabilly, GBV, and cheap beer. Since forming in late 2012, MDF has grown and evolved to become a rising name in the Ohio music scene.

Led by Taylor and Emily McGuff, their shared role as lead vocalists bring a broad range of styles to their songwriting. Old-school bassist Keith Klein lends an experienced hand and road-tested pop sensibilities to this emerging band. Phil Doncaster brings the noise with his intense and diverse approach to the drum kit. He is also known for performing improv comedy, which makes him the perfect backline for the fun-loving McGuffs.

Taylor, a veteran of the Air Force, is the real driver for the group behind his fierce approach to the guitar. Emily's poetic and intellectual approach to writing is the perfect counterbalance to his raw energy. Together,  they bring a kinetic power to the stage.  This is a band that is having a good time whether you like it or not, and everyone is invited to the party.

This is a band that prides itself on never sounding the same from one song to the next.  Between fiery guitar licks, a funky rhythm section that blasts full speed ahead, and soaring dual-vocal lines, McGuff and the Dumpster Fires is here to make you move.

Band Members