Getting to Know: Iowa Indie act, The Penny Serfs


In today’s Getting to Know, we meet The Penny Serfs, an Iowa indie band whose van should not be approached anywhere, at any time. Trust us on this. If you are in an up and coming band that would like to partake in a Getting to Know feature, contact [email protected] to receive the questionnaire and instructions. Thanks!

The-Penny-SerfsBand Name: The Penny Serfs
Band Members: Michael Loy (lead vocals, guitar), Andrew Linley (bass, vocals), Stu Tenold (keyboards, vocals), and Kyle Lewis (drums).
Years Active: 2.5
City of Origin: LeClaire, Iowa
Latest Release: Like Eating Glass EP 

Who are you and what do you do?
Hi, my name is Michael and I sing/play guitar in The Penny Serfs.”  

In 20 words or less, how would you describe your band?
“A few guys from a small town who try to police apathy by playing music together.”

Why should people care about your band?
“I think the songs set a landscape to my personality. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s the truth. This day in age when the top sellers talk about shaking their asses or counting their money, I hope to at least to offer a little counterbalance to that system.”

What is the most hilarious, frightening, or weird thing you have seen from the stage or while on the road?
“Okay, many people have told us our van looks creepy. It’s an old police prisoner transporter. So, in good old-fashioned fun, we started a game to compete with our creepy vehicle. Any time any group of college age girls or guys walk by, one of us will open a window and scream ‘GET IN THE VAN!’

“You wouldn’t believe the actual fear that we have instilled. It’s kind of a ‘have to be there’ moment, but just picture four half-bearded weirdos screaming at you to get in their beat up police transporter van. Wait… I hope that isn’t illegal.”

If you become a band that eventually fills stadiums or arenas, what would be the most ridiculous thing you’d require backstage?
“I could definitely use some In and Out Burger after every show! That and an original Nintendo so I could play Contra and Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out.”  

Which band could your band defeat in a street fight? What methods would you use to ensure victory?
“Vampire weekend. We were all raised lower middle class and have learned a lot of things the hard way. I would tie them up with their own aspen sweaters and proceed to tickle them until they peed.” 

What is the most pretentious thing you’ve seen or heard from another musician/band? Did you love it or hate it?
“Coffee! The band member ordering coffee thing has become very pretentious. I love it because it’s a good laugh when someone orders this eight-ingredient, shaken not stirred coffee. Gets me every time”

How do you feel about smartphones lighting up concert venues instead of lighters?
“The upside is it can’t start a fire. The downside is it rots your brain.”  

If you had to be a tribute act for just one band, who would it be and why?
“The Talking Heads. I’ve always identified with early David Byrne as an artist. I love the punk influences, the imperfect vocals, and the emotion behind their music. Very strong. I would love to do a tribute to someone I look up to.”

Is it better to burnout than to fade away?
“Burnout. I guess I’m just a wannabe rebel at heart. There is just something so satisfying with self-destructing when the time is right, I think. Or not. Maybe in a few years I will try and erase this answer.”

Please be sure to follow us on Twitter @riffyou and at Home